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Is it harmful or harmless for your man to check up on the goings-on of his ex?

That is the question a woman who reached out to me for advice asked the other day. She and her boyfriend have been dating for almost a year now and they seem to be going strong. However, she is troubled by the fact he has been lurking on his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page.

While trying to use his laptop to pay a bill one day, she typed in the letter ‘f’. One of the first things to come up was a Facebook link followed by the name of his ex. Without a second though, she clicked on it, and there this former flame was: the woman her boyfriend had dated for two years; the woman his family was still a big fan of; the woman he claimed did him oh so dirty. There she was, in countless photos, cheesing it up. And while browsing through an ex’s news feed doesn’t equate to an affair, she told me that she was hurt by the fact that he even cared to know what homegirl was up to. Why was she still on his mind?

When she confronted him about it, she claimed that he didn’t understand what the problem was and felt like she was overreacting. He hadn’t reached out to his ex. Instead, he just thought of her out of the blue and curiosity pushed him to take a look at her page to see what she was up to. Nothing more, nothing less. To keep her happy though, he claimed it wouldn’t happen again.

But what does it really mean to you when your partner goes about looking up their ex?

Curiosity drives us to do a lot of things, but I think there’s a difference between looking at what your ex is up to and trying to contact them to get back an old thing. The woman I spoke with did the right thing by being upfront and letting her partner know what she saw and how she felt about it. Now that he’s aware of the fact that she doesn’t appreciate him checking up on his former flame on social media, he can take note of the way it makes her feel and cut it out if his intentions are truly harmless (and if he is truly happy in this new relationship). But if it keeps happening, then they might have an actual problem on their hands.

But honestly, lots of people stay “connected” through social media with people they used to date. I know I do. But I was “friends” with two of my former boyfriend way before I met my current boyfriend. Our interactions are very limited, and when they post pictures that end up in my feed, I smile at the progress they’ve made, the pics of them with the parent I used to get along well with, and even the new cute girlfriends in their lives. It’s all love at this point.

Okay, I won’t lie: I might giggle a little bit if they look rounder than they used to…

Still, I have no interest in reconnecting with them, even to talk. And if my boyfriend had a problem with this, I would be happy to unfollow them because what we have is important to me.

I say all that to say that it can be a harmless thing to be in a relationship with someone who every once in a blue moon, might look to see what has become of their ex. Being curious about what someone is up to is different than looking them up to stare longingly at their photos and try to get back in touch with them. If you find out that your partner has looked up his ex, letting them know how you feel is best, and all you can do is trust that they will stop if it makes you uncomfortable. But if their actions go further than a quick peek and you find out that things have become inappropriate, or even that they’ve continued to look up their ex after you made your feelings known, that’s not okay. That is when some real decisions need to be made about whether or not you need to move forward with this person, or if they need to take their behind back to ol’ girl.

But what do you think? Is it petty to be upset about your boyfriend looking up his ex on social media?

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