Just Hear Me Out: Surprising Reasons You Should Be Friends With Your Ex On Facebook

January 7, 2013  |  
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Let’s get this out of the way: most people cannot be friends with their ex on Facebook. It takes a person with an absurd amount of self control to watch their ex’s life pass by on Facebook, day in and day out, and not send a message eventually. It can slow down your healing process tenfold. It can depress you. However, if you’re passed the point of being emotionally drained, being friends with your ex on Facebook can shed a lot of light on that relationship for you. Here’s why.


You can’t indulge in fantasies

You can’t daydream about the various ways your ex is going to surprise you, asking for you back. Perhaps at your work with a serenade, or outside your window with cupcakes at midnight. You can’t delude yourself that any of that is going to happen when you see, via your ex’s posts, that he is leading a healthy, active life and clearly not sitting around writing and re-writing his “I want you back” speech.


You’ll see how much you actually meant to him

Wondering if you did the right thing by ending things with a guy who just wouldn’t get with the program? A guy who wasn’t putting in 100%, wasn’t committing, wasn’t being clear about how he felt about you? Well, just watch his Facebook after you call it quits. It will usually confirm your decision as you see him posting pictures of partying he did the night you broke up. And every night since. You couldn’t have meant much to someone who bounced back that quickly. And though it hurts, it’s good to know.

Knowing someone after a breakup means really knowing him

There is just no knowing how someone will behave after a breakup, until it happens. The most calm and levelheaded boyfriend can turn out to be the most crazed, angry ex. The most passionate, enthusiastic boyfriend might be the most peaceful ex. Is your ex posting crazy, cursing rants on Facebook about how much he hates women after your breakup? Is he putting up emo, crying-for-help updates that should be saved for his journal? If so, he may not have been the nice, stable guy you thought!

You’ll see if he goes on a hookup spree

Does he post photos every night of different girls he is hanging out with? Of the underwear some girl left on his floor? Innuendos about his sexual conquests? Well, while that’s painful, it’s also very telling! This guy is emotionally weak and has to burrow his sorrows in another woman’s…you know. And that is a very unattractive quality.

You can know where not to go

Sometimes being friends with your ex on Facebook can be helpful for one simple reason: you can see where he checks in. If you frequent a lot of the same places, you may have to keep in contact on Facebook just to ensure you don’t make contact in real life!

You can see if you have any disloyal friends

Posting a little “Hope you’re well!” or a funny meme on a guy’s wall is such a seemingly innocent thing. It’s the perfect way for a friend of yours (who was always secretly pining after your ex) to move in for the kill when you’re out of the picture! Even a backstabbing friend may not feel comfortable going straight to calling or texting your ex. But a friend with bad intentions can always convince herself that, “It’s just a Facebook post…” Wouldn’t you like to know if that’s happening?

It helps you practice self-control

One of the biggest reasons people unfriend their ex is because they have no self-control. If they have a way to contact their ex, they will. But the truth is, there is always a way. Delete his number and you can always get it from a friend again if you really want to. Block his email, but you can always dig it back up again. The only real form of self-control is having the temptation right at your fingertips, and not going for it. It’s a good thing to practice.

One day, you may understand him better through his posts

I have an ex who I broke up with because I felt he didn’t care at all about me, or about our relationship. He was always late, or flaking, or wishy washy about making plans. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on this guy. Years later, as I see more and more posts of this guy traveling the world, staying in a different city every night, doing tons of recreational drugs and often sleeping under the stars, I realize he didn’t mean me any harm. He was just a guy with a serious case of wanderlust. Sometimes, someone’s photos and posts help you understand their actions in retrospect, and make them look less “evil.”

One day, you may understand yourself better through his posts

You may think you have no hunch where things went wrong. But a few photos from the past might give new meaning to your breakups. You learn from your facial expressions and body language in photos when you were happy, or unhappy, even before you were consciously aware of it! The photos might also elicit memories of arguments or events that now help you understand yourself, your choices in men, and your behavior in relationships better. But, these all could be lost when you hit that unfriend button.

You never know who might look you up!

While dating your ex, you met a lot of people in his world—his family, friends, co-workers, and mere acquaintances. Some you may have gotten along with very well, or been very memorable to. I’ve had acquaintances of ex’s look me up, through my ex’s friends list on Facebook, to give me job offers, or invite me to great events! They weren’t close friends of my ex (because that would be awkward) but, we met through him. And he remained their only way of finding me.


You have to face the music

When the guy finally does move on, there’s no escaping that reality. You’ll see his relationship status change. You’ll see pictures of his new partner show up. If you had any delusions of getting back together, or perhaps circling back to him years down the road, those will have to go.

He’ll know your life goes on

If you were the one to walk away from your ex, and he has any delusions that you’re secretly regretting your decision—that perhaps you were just afraid of how much you loved him—he’ll have to get over those when he sees what an active and fun life you’re leading through your posts.



You’ll realize he doesn’t disappear

For some people, the saddest part about breakups is the feeling that their ex just vanishes from their life—the idea that people are disposable, and exist or don’t exist depending on what you want. That can be a very depressing concept. For some, simply seeing their ex continue to exist is necessary to avoid that depression.

You’ll know if he respects your privacy

Again, if you were the one who did the breaking up, you may second-guess your decision. If you block any means of communication between you and the ex, you have no idea how he might be responding. If he can still talk to you on Facebook, and is the type to send you harassing messages, isn’t it good to know that he really doesn’t respect your decision and your request to be left alone? Food for thought when you’re wondering if you should take him back.

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