Is friending your ex on Facebook cheating?

Someone asked me this question recently. To answer it, I need to take a big step back. First, let’s talk about attraction in general. So, if you married the right person, you’ll never be tempted to stray, right?

Hardly. Attraction happens, and it happens especially at a time in life that most people refer to as the “mid life crisis.” It happens to men, and it happens to women. (By the way, Laura Munsen wrote a great essay about this recently called, “Those Aren’t Fighting Words Dear.”)

Attraction happens because your spouse can never be your everything. No one person possesses every single attractive quality. Your husband or wife is probably a lot of great things—supportive, smart, caring, successful, you name it—but there is probably something that he or she is not.

And when you meet someone who has that something, you are going to want it. And when that happens, it’s scary.

You’re especially vulnerable around midlife for a few reasons. These include:

1.    You’ve been married for a while. The fireworks stage is over, and many of those things that you used to do to build one another up (honey, you look so hot in those pants!) have given way to the routine of marriage and parenting (honey, thanks for emptying the dishwasher. Appreciated.)

2.    You feel old, as if the best of life is about to pass you by. You start to worry, “If my spouse is not my soul mate, I’d better find the real one quick, before I lose the ability to attract anyone.”

3.    You crave validation. At midlife, when lines sprout every which way from our lips, we crave hearing someone say, “You’re so pretty. You’re so funny. You’re so smart.” If someone else does this and our spouse doesn’t? We’re going to crave hearing it from that someone else.

It doesn’t mean you don’t love your spouse if you are attracted to someone else. No, it just means that you are still alive. The love comes in practicing self-control, in saying, “Wow, that’s really tempting but, nah. My marriage is too important to take that risk.” That’s love.

So What Constitutes Cheating?

If attraction is normal, then where’s the line? That’s what people are really debating when they want to know whether or not it’s okay to friend an ex on Facebook. Let’s take a look at a couple of situations from my life. You can vote on whether or not you think they constitute cheating.

Situation #1: Many months ago, when most of the midlife adult world was discovering Facebook, a few of my ex-boyfriends sent me friend requests. I looked at the requests and thought about them. Then I asked my husband, “Is it okay if I let my ex-boyfriends friend me on Facebook?” He said he didn’t care. I accepted their friendship, knowing that I would unfriend them if things got flirty. They didn’t. In fact, to this day, we’ve not messaged one another. At all.

#1: Is this cheating?

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Situation #2: About a year ago, I was feeling this restless yearning that is very hard to describe. I kept going to bars alone. I had all sorts of justifications for what I was doing. I was bored. None of my friends were available. My husband went to bars alone and no one thought anything odd about that. When I was out at these bars, invariably men would hit on me. While that flattered me, I never acted on it. I just basked in their attention and then I went home to my husband. I kept not secrets. I told him about every single thing these men said.

#2: Is this cheating?

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Now that you’ve had your chance to vote, I’ll tell you what I think. Situation #1? Harmless. Situation #2? Absolutely dangerous.

And the difference isn’t in the actual details. The difference lies in my mindset. I’m one of those people who, when she’s done with a relationship, she’s done. I could sleep in the same bed with one of my ex-boyfriends and never once be tempted to touch him. Whatever we had together years ago was nice, but I don’t need to ever have it again. Been there. Done that. So done with that.

In the second situation, I was not attracted to any of the men who hit on me. They just weren’t my type. That said, I was tempting fate. Chances are that, had I continued these escapades, my type would have eventually sat next to me at the bar. More important, looking back on that time in my life, I can clearly see that I was an empty vessel that needed to be filled with another man’s admiration. I was starting to feel past my prime. I was desperate for others to confirm for me that I, indeed, wasn’t. That’s a very dangerous place to be in when it’s time to practice self-control.

The Self Control Litmus Test

Okay, so how do you figure out whether or not an attraction is harmless? In my opinion, the situation hardly matters. It’s the implication: what does it mean about your marriage? Why is it happening? Here’s my litmus test. It’s dangerous when:

1.    You turn to someone else for comfort. If you find yourself revealing deep dark secrets to someone else and crying on someone else’s shoulder, you need to ask yourself, “Why am I not doing this with my spouse?”

2.   You complain about your spouse to someone else. Big. Red. Flag.

3.    You start keeping secrets. If the relationship is really harmless, why aren’t you telling your spouse about it?

4.   You feel out of control.

How to Practice Self Control

Remind yourself that your spouse is Mr. or Mrs. Right. It’s really tempting, when you are attracted to someone else, to question your marriage and to tell yourself, “Crap I married the wrong person.” You didn’t. Trust me. If you left your spouse for this other person, the attraction would eventually wane and you’d eventually ask yourself, “What have I done?”

Remind yourself why you love your spouse. Keep all of these reasons front and center in your mind. Several times a day, think about your spouse, and remind yourself, “I’m so happy that she/he is still in my life.” Remind yourself that your spouse probably won’t be in your life any longer if you do not practice self-control.

Remind yourself that there are lots of things in life that you can’t have. Everything in life poses a trade off. If you want to lose weight, you can’t eat as much dessert as you’d like. If you want to save money for retirement, you can’t buy every single thing that you want. If you want to stay married to your spouse, you can’t sleep with someone else. Learn how to accept disappointment. It’s the fighting against it–the yearning and grasping and emotional temper tantrum (It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It’s not fair!)–that makes an attraction hard to resist. If you just relax and accept that you can’t have everything that you want, it loses a lot of its power.

Figure out what’s missing from your marriage. Your spouse may not be able to make an abrupt personality overhaul (for instance, if he’s not funny, he may never be funny), but he can probably give you many of the things that you find so attractive in that someone else.

Practice continual acts of validation and ask for them in return. Once I explained to my husband that I craved compliments, he started feeding them to me. Now that he gooses me whenever I bend over and whistles at me whenever I dress up, I’m much less needy for that kind of attention from others. He’s giving me what I need.

What do you think constitutes cheating? How do you affair-proof your relationship? Leave a comment.

Note: A big thank you to that person who will remain nameless (she knows who she is) for suggestion this blog topic.

47 comments… add one

  • A.J. August 7, 2009, 11:39 am

    Great post, Alisa. I agree with your comment that whether a situation is dangerous or not has to do with one’s mindset. I have accepted friend requests from several exes on Facebook, and it’s been no big deal. I have the same attitude toward exes that you do – been there, done that, there’s a good reason they’re exes.

    However, when I came across a guy I *almost* had a brief fling with a number of years ago and sent him a Facebook friend request, I didn’t have any bad intentions but quickly realized it was a mistake. Because I hadn’t actually had a relationship with him, but had had romantic interest in him back when I knew him (and he in me, though we never dated because the circumstances weren’t right when we met), I never got to see how a romantic relationship with him would have played out (ie; I never got to know him well enough to see what annoyed me about him or if/why we weren’t compatible) there was still that sense of romantic intrigue around him. He’s also someone who has a quality/characteristic that I find very compelling but that my (wonderful) husband does not have. I got over it, but now realize I put myself in a potentially dangerous situation.

    With actual exes it’s a different story. Sure, I might have a fleeting memory of something great about a certain ex. But then I’ll quickly remember that, for example, when we were dating, it was a battle to pull him away from watching sports on TV (and I hate sports) long enough to get him to actually go out and DO something with me. Or that he was a bad influence on me and always wanted to sit around and eat fattening food together. That takes care of temptation pretty quickly.

    • Cariline January 4, 2015, 12:08 pm

      The first few weeks I was on face book, my sister in law was kind enough t show me how to use it because my husband was to go through a very long and painful rehab, I was at home alone and without any thing to do so I signed up, about six months later I received a message to get in touch from a man I had not herd from in over thirty three years, ever since he left the east coast and went to the west coast leaving me two months pregnant and to get an abortion, We started talking regularly and found he was back on the east coast and I was now in the mid west. he told me he came to the city I now lived in for business on a regular schedual, after a year and a half after my husbands surgery I told him where I lived, he picked me up and we went for a very nice dinner, he told me how sorry he was for leaving me like he did how he was married now, the two children he had and after a few months we started an affair, when my husband was to come home I told him I could no longer se him, but two weeks after my husband came home using a cane to help walk. He contacted me again, I gave a very lame excuse for going out the door very early one Saturday morning without my husband and ended up returning home late the next morning where things became very bad. I watched as the old BF tried to humiliate my husband by sweeping his cane, then calling him pathetic, that gave my husband all the right in the world to put my BF into an ICU, since then things developed were my husband wont be the door mate we always made him, The lamb became a demon, I was forced to be a wife, he destroyed holiday traditions that were forged over thirty two years by his father and others because he was always forced to work them many times when he had the right to take them off. against his will, and he will not coopoperate with anyone now, I don’t refuse my husband now. I fear he consequences on myself and others now. My husband goads people into attacking him and then he destroys them.

  • Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder August 7, 2009, 7:21 pm

    I have two exes as friends on facebook. One, I meet up with now and then for coffee, we have a lot of friends in common and we like chatting with each other. The passion was over years ago, we’re now friends. Just friends.

    The other one, he cheated on my multiple times and eventually went back to his first wife (separated long before he met me). We comment on each other’s posts on FB, but that’s it. If he ever invited me for coffe I think I’d have to wash my hair that day. Or reorganise my linen cupboard. No interest whatever in meeting him face to face again.

    My husband knows about both these guys, the history, the current friendships. He’s fine with them.

    Your second example of meeting guys – I think the polls should have asked “Is this dangerous?” rather than is it cheating. Neither is cheating, however the FB example is harmless and the bar example is playing with fire. You’re lucky you didn’t get burned early on, before you could fix your marriage.

    • Virginia September 14, 2013, 5:44 am

      I agree. I voted NO to it being cheating. I would have voted YES if she asked if if was dangerous. It surely was and is. My husband friended a couple of his old girl friends on Facebook. One I knew he had and the other I found out about. He told me he accidently friended. Now how does one do that? When I called him on it, he quickly de-friended her. He lied to me about this, what else has he lied to me about.

  • EC August 10, 2009, 10:01 am

    I particularly liked the four “tests” for whether a situation is dangerous. I’ve been facing this situation myself recently – having done nothing more shocking than go out for lunch twice with a male friend – except that I know where my mind is and it’s not ok. I think the first of the relationship rules is the first for a reason…if your head isn’t in the game 100%, you’re not going to make it work. I just needed to admit that to myself.

  • Sandy August 11, 2009, 6:14 am

    If you have to ask the question then you have the answer………

  • Rose August 12, 2009, 7:46 am

    I think if your spouse doesn’t tell you about a “friend” on facebook, and is not open about who and what then that is a BIG BIG deal. Just because they have exerted self control so far doesn’t mean they will continue to. Also who is to say they have not opened up the line of communication via another email account, so the online page looks innocent but the flirting is occuring elsewhere. I am in a long term relationship with a man whom has cheated in the past so my anttena are always up. It has been 5 years since his transgression, but I can tell when he cheats – even on his diet. Facebook and other sites where “exes can reconnect” are like picking at an open wound, irritate it enough and you will need to see someone about it. Cell phones, browing history and lots of other trails can all be deleted. Know your spouse. Protect yourself.

  • Hayles August 15, 2009, 1:02 pm

    “Remind yourself why you love your spouse. Keep all of these reasons front and center in your mind. Several times a day, think about your spouse, and remind yourself, “I’m so happy that she/he is still in my life.”

    So what do you do when you’re in the “I wish my husband would drop dead” phase and you can’t think of any of these reasons? Then what do you do?

  • Alisa Bowman August 16, 2009, 6:54 am

    Hayles–Good question and big oversight on my part. Of course, the main thing to do there is to work on the problems that are causing you to wish your spouse dead. Having an affair or coming close to having one (emotional affair, excessive flirtation etc) does not fix a marriage. In a way, it’s a cop out–a way of ignoring real problems that are right in front of you. There’s lots of advice throughout the site for solving the “wish he/she would drop dead issue.” The Relationship Rules ebook is a great place to start (download upper right corner of the sidebar).

  • Jen August 20, 2009, 8:24 pm

    When I first joined Facebook I found my “true love” from college and was so psyched to get in touch with him. But after a good’s night sleep I thought, what will this really accomplish? And I know it would hurt my husband’s feelings, even if it’s not really cheating.

  • AJ August 21, 2009, 12:10 pm

    I recently found out that my wife was facebook friended to her ex boyfriend on facebook.

    Not just any old boyfriend, but the guy she dated while dating me. The one who said he “had a ring and was finally ready to give her everything she wanted if she would just break up with me”.

    Turned out it was innocent enough, his sister had suggested her to him as he was a new user.

    Still, I didn’t like it, especially that she didn’t even bother to mention it to me first. Any other old flame wouldn’t be a big deal to me, but that one was a little too close to home.

  • Holly October 16, 2009, 11:54 pm

    Though not a big Dr. Phil fan, I like his, “Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing”.

    For me, the red flag was when I started to hide things from my spouse (things that were innocent enough from an outsider’s perspective, but I know that my intentions were not good). A good rule of thumb for me (not that I always abide by my own advice) is, ‘what would I think if my husband did this with the same intentions/motivation as me?’.

  • Dawn October 26, 2009, 12:10 pm

    I recently found out my husband is flirting with an ex on FB. We have been married for 12 years and have children. I’m really hurt and feel betrayed and not sure what to do. I love him more then anything and he says he loves me. He doesn’t know that I’m aware of this flirtation. I knew every once in a while he would receive an email from her that just said “hi” and to find out how things are going and he would tell me about it. But about month ago she had her own martial problems and now my husband and her are talking on a regular basis and he’s not telling me about it. The conversation has turned to him flirting and fantasy stories. I’m not sure how to approach this since he’s not aware I read these private emails. He flirted with a ex a couple of years ago and I found out and he was defensive and told me I should trust him and that she was only a friend.

  • Joe October 27, 2009, 12:54 pm

    I agree with the person who said they were tempting fate. I’m sure all of this starts out innocently enough, but when you’ve had strong feelings for someone in the past and you carry on a “online” relationship with them, I believe that over time those feelings can become stronger. Just look at the Governor of South Carolina, he “chatted” for several years with his “lover” before he took action, but he ultimately did take action.

    I’ll bet facebook will break up more than one marriage.

  • Kat November 9, 2009, 7:48 am

    Me and my husband play games on facebook. I usually go into his account so I can collect items to further my game. One morning I went into his account and his ex-girlfriend friend request him. I excepted her friend request because I was curious about her. I am not wanting to tell my husband what I did because I want to see if she tries to bring up the past. I guess I am curious about what he would do. Is this wrong? Should I be more trusting and to just tell him about all of this?

  • theotherperspective May 2, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Sorry, I voted wrong in the first one.
    I think simple friending is not cheating. Telling an ex that you’d rather be at his place because you hate the state you live in is.
    Saying things to an ex, such as, “poking you is fun” is getting really close.

  • Dave June 4, 2010, 5:50 pm

    I found out my wife had been communicating with an ex for 5 years. Now they live in different states but he has been to our state at least once during this time. In 2009 she joined FB and communicated with him there – not on her wall but by private message/ chat / poke. All of this was kept secret from me. My wife maintains this is all innocent. I think that her mindset was not and therefore this was very dangerous, or maybe it went farther than I know. She keeps saying she can’t remember specifics. This is driving me crazy. Like the article states he probably has one or more qualities that are attractive to my wife that I don’t have. Normal attraction that would be innocent as she says IF she hadn’t kept their relationship a secret. But she chose to keep a secret. And this guy is a special ex. They broke up because his family moved – not because they wanted to. It is like unfinished business between them I think. I feel betrayed and hurt. She still claims this is nothing. Ladies, I would really appreciate your input on this. I would like to share whatever you all say with my wife and we could both get truly independent opinons on this. Thanks in advance.

  • QueenSize July 17, 2010, 10:07 pm

    I saw that my ex had a 2 year old son on Facebook. So I got the balls to say hello to him. I knew he was married because even though his FB was private he revealed that bit of info. Anyway, I left a simple, sweet, and harmless message that his son looked just like him, long time no see, etc. I did not request his friendship on FB. About 2 hours later I got a reply in which he said he was going to request my friendship. That was fine with me. (We dated 2 1/2yrs in Highschool,bad breakup, haven’t spoke or seen eachother in 15yrs). One of the first things he said to me was that in terms of our relationship, things of could of been handled better on his part. I was shocked. My plan was to keep it light and not to discuss us. Whoa. So we went down memory lane for 4 days back and forth bullshit. He talked about how I thought he was cheating, that he really did love me, that he was so angry for a long time because he didn’t understand why we seperated. How I costed him other relationships. I was totally taken back. I checked his page he’s married and has 3 kids (2 step sons) he’s 31 years old. I gave him my cell and lets talk to clear the air (I thought that would be best than to talk via FB) he said he would call but he didn’t. He kept talking via FB. Another day goes by of chatting and I suggested we have lunch to clear the air. He goes quiet for hours. The conversations became more intense. I started to sense his anger. I just decided to stop talking. I wished him well, expressed appreciation for taking this time out for eachother and told Sam that we’ll talk in another 15 years. Why is he picking at me? He’s has a family and clearly has moved on. Seems like he’s trying to hurt me after all these years. Why?

  • Alisa Bowman July 18, 2010, 6:15 am

    QuuenSize: You could torture yourself with these questions and this doubt, or you could just say, “Some people are like that ” and move on. He sounds like one of those people who blames everyone else for his unhappiness. Such people are not fun to be around and definitely not fun to be in a relationship with. Just my two cents.
    Alisa Bowman´s last blog post ..5 Surprising Tactics That Will Hurt Your Marriage

  • QueenSize July 30, 2010, 1:35 am

    Oh Wow. Thanks for responding. I must be crazy because we have continued to talk as of today. We hashed out alot of things. We talk via facebook once a day. It seems like we’ve practically are yelling at eachother via computers at times. We really loved eachother many moons ago. Sam was someone that I regretted losing but that never stopped me from growing up and getting my groove one with others. I’ve said goodbye to him twice and the invisible magnet pulls us to one another once again. He keeps saying that I left him and I gave up on us when I walked away. I’ve apologized for my faults and he not once has admitted to anything. Sam even saids he loved me as much as he knew how but it just wasn’t good enough for me. All this chatter has forced out all these emotions. I feel foolish. What is his MO? We agreed to work on having a friendship. Is that possible? I wish you could read our facebook convo. You’re right perhaps life is not what he expected it to be and he is miserable. How am I to blame?

  • peg October 3, 2011, 9:23 pm

    If you are not upfront with your spouse about any kind of relationship you are in other than your spouse then its Cheating! You said your vows with God as a witness. So do the right thing. Be honest to your spouse. They deserve it

  • Juniper October 10, 2011, 3:27 pm

    this was fantastically helpful, especially the section on how to practice self control. Thank you!!

  • Tracey d davis December 12, 2011, 1:32 pm

    If anyone contacts an ex-mate and they do not tell their current mate, then of course we all know that this is considered cheating.

  • Tracey d davis December 12, 2011, 1:35 pm

    If you contact an ex and you do not tell your current mate then yes you are cheating mentally and soon it will be physically when the opportunity arises.

  • Johanna September 18, 2012, 2:08 pm

    I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 17 years now. I met him in school and I got pregnant at 15 with our first child. 2 months later, I was pregnant with twins (boy and girl). At the beginning, we had many problems since he was living at his parents and I was living with min, trying to finish high school. After I graduated from High School, I started College, which created more issues in our relationship because he has other thoughts in his head of what going to school was after having kids.
    I finally graduated college and we moved in together. At the beginning this were good but then after a year I started noticing that everything that he once liked (cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing clothing) would bother. One day after coming home from a birthday party with my kids, I noticed that he was not home. I went straight to the closet and his cowboy hat and boots were not there. I waited for him all night, but he never showed up until the next day at 10:30, demanding breakfast. I kicked him out and later that week found of that he was at a dance with another woman on mother’s day weekend.
    We were separated for about a year and a half and then decided to give it a second chance. We got back together and everything has been great, our kids are getting older and we have more time for ourselves, to go out and do things as partners.
    Since the economy has been bad my boyfriend lost his job and I have been blessed with a job that has been offering us 18 hours of overtime a week. I started working 116 hours every two weeks. I get up at 3:00 AM and leave my house at 4:30 AM, I have to drive over an hour to get to work and clock in at 6:30AM and work until 6:00 PM, so I would not get home until 7:30 or so. I have been doing this since February 2012.
    Well to make the story short I found out that he has been calling his ex from 14 years for over 7 months. I found this out because he left his facebook account open and I was curious to see what he would write about. When I opened his messages, that is where I saw that he had been looking for this woman and he asked her for her number to catch up. There was some explicit messaging from her saying that she still remembers the nights that they had at this hotel together and that she still thinks about him a lot. He replied that he still thinks about her too and that she is in his heart as a very special person in his life. I guess she questioned if this was really him and she asked him to say something they both only knew, so he called her by his special name. That broke my heart to see those messages from both of them. She is also married with four children.
    The next day he called her four times starting at 5PM- 8PM, while I was working overtime. The calls and messaging continued until I confronted him three weeks ago. He denied it of course but then he told me that he contacted her because he had heard that she had a baby of his and wanted to see if it was true. He then told me that she said she had an abortion since he had left her to come back to me.
    The worse thing of all is that this year has been horrible health wise. I was diagnosed with a tumor in my uterus, which the Dr was not sure if it was cancer, after a month test came back negative. On July 31 I went in for surgery, they removed my cervix and uterus. I show that he kept on calling her and even talked and texted her the day before and after my surgery. He says that it was nothing that they did not even see each other, but when I question as to why this carried on for so long, he does not say anything. Okay I understand if he wanted to know if she had a baby of his but after she answered him why did he keep on talking to her. I also show that he was the one that called her more than she did. Has anyone been in this situation? What should I think, I am confused.

  • Juan Rodriguez May 13, 2013, 2:09 am


  • spoon February 2, 2014, 3:24 am

    A partner that is dishonest and secretive with you about the small things will be more dishonest if it comes to worse things. A thief begins by calulating the gain verses the risk and a cheater begins the same way. Trust is like water in that once it leaks out you can’t get it back and if you learn of a deception you can’t unlearn it! When your partner divorces their conscience they have divorced you emotionally! Now they are free to be dishonest, and if you stay then you have endorsed it.

  • spoon February 2, 2014, 3:35 am

    I cheated back in 1975 at age 19 and my wife then had begged me to lie to her and say it wasn’t true and she promised that she would believe me! I refused to lie and took my chances knowing that living a lie was too high a price to save a relationship. She would not have known but i would have! Would she have lied to me? Absolutely! In 20 more years with her I never did a shameful thing like that again but we found out who cares more about honesty eventually and I left with my integrity after 22 years. Everyone we know personally will know if you are honest so we need not fear what anyone says about us.

  • Brian November 16, 2014, 3:06 am

    A couple of year ago, I caught my wife chatting to her ex-boyfriend, exchanging lovely words, e.g. I love you, You are the love of my life. I will never stop loving you, etc… I am really jealous and hurt because, I never heard those words from my wife. Until now, that we are on the bergs of breaking our marriage, I think, they are always, confiding our marital problems. Facebook chatting to an ex-boyfriend is cheating.

  • tia January 12, 2015, 1:53 am

    my husband told me his ex girlfriend messaged him earlier on in the day on LinkedIn. saying hi stranger how are you and he replied. should I be worried???????
    he said its nothing she’s just someone he used to know she means nothing and he can just stop messaging her. am I reading too much into this

  • Jo January 24, 2015, 11:37 am

    I have just found out my husband messaged his ex after 12 years to find out why she left him .I found out by seeing a private message on fb .he has since sent her silly pictures but says nothing is going on and he doesn’t know why he done it .what am I to do

  • Just Some Guy April 29, 2015, 7:00 pm

    Wow. 6 years old, but an awesome article! When I got married 16 years ago, I cut all contact with my exes out of consideration to my wife, and as a symbol of my dedication to her.

    The only ex she stays in contact with is the one she had the longest relationship with. She feels it’s totally platonic, but I’m a dude, I happen to know that dudes don’t typically do platonic with ex lovers.

    The issue for me, is that everytime I see his name all I think is “Oh, it’s the guy that used to do my wife.” Because that’s all he is to me- that guy that used to sleep with my wife. When I ask her about it, I’m being insecure. Am I? Or is that just an out, enabling her to maintain the relationship with the ex?

    I don’t think it’s insecurity, at least not unwarranted insecurity. I mean, if your spouse used to love gambling but gave it up for you, how would you feel if he suddenly started talking to his old bookie again? Don’t you think a little worry might be warranted?

    I wondered why she would maintain a relationship, and can’t find any other than they have history…as lovers. So, if he wasn’t worth keeping, why is he worth ‘shooting the breeze’ with? Why is it so important to you to maintain such a frivolous thing that would bother your spouse? That’s what gets me the most…if the relationship is “no big deal”, then why not get rid off it if it’s a thorn in the side of someone you say you love and are fully devoted to?

    I mean the stuff I’ve given up for her has been pretty life altering. I’m required to leave my baggage behind. Why does she get to continue carrying it around?

    • step on me July 23, 2015, 12:06 pm

      I feet the same way as you…even posed the question…would you like it if i did that…my bf recent ly told me he spoke with some girl he used to bang
      ..dont know why ypud want yo keep in contact. ..but im a girl…so what do i know..this is the second time its happened to me with someone else..maybe its a sign i deserve better.

  • Wendy May 7, 2015, 1:36 pm

    I recently found out by accident that my boyfriend of 6 years, and his ex from 20 years ago, have been texting/emailing/talking very frequently and he never told me. He kept all of this hidden from me because he didn’t want to “start a fight”, but in my eyes you only hide things that you’re doing wrong. I don’t tell him, but I am still checking his texts and phone records. Things have tapered off. She lives halfway across the USA so seeing her isn’t an issue. She was here for a funeral a few weeks after all of this blew up, and he told me he wanted to have dinner with her. I wasn’t happy about it, but I told him to go. She sends him emails which he has no idea that I’m reading. I sincerely feel in heart she has feelings for him despite having a boyfriend she just bought a house with. He tells me he’s completely happy with me, and wants nobody else, but in my heart I know they are still communicating and it’s devestating.

    • jo May 7, 2015, 2:13 pm

      It is a terrible feeling and I don’t know if you can get the trust back .you are stronger than me telling him to go for a meal with her

      • Wendy May 7, 2015, 2:21 pm

        I don’t know if it’s being strong or being stupid. He felt that she was here for a funeral and he should be able to get together with her. Her latest email says she wrote him a letter that she had to rewrite 5 times and was hesitant about sending. That to me doesn’t sound like it was an innocent friendly letter. I would love to see what it says, but we don’t live together so the odds of seeing it are slim. I also don’t know if I really want to see what she said to be honest.

  • jo May 7, 2015, 3:19 pm

    I think you need to decided what YOU want don’t let him call the shots .it may mean loosing him but that might be better than having only half of him .I give my husband the decision its either me or her but not both .I made the decision that would be would be but I couldn’t live with him while he still was in contact with his ex .xx

  • Sidney May 27, 2015, 6:50 am

    Bottom line: Contact of an ex behind your spouse’s back is cheating. Plain and simple. Any contact or curiosity about exes should have been satisfied prior to saying, “I do. ” In my opinion, if your spouse is contacting an ex they have already cheated or are thinking about cheating. An ex is an ex for a reason. Why else would you be curious if not to rekindle? My wife contacted her ex of 30 years ago. We have been married for over 20 years. She kept it a secret for three months and deleted all the evidence so I couldn’t see the emails. She lied to me numerous times when asked about the details and though there was no physical cheating it was lying and cheating just the same. My wife and I even discussed contact with an ex when we married and agreed to tell the other if one of our exes attempted contact. I divorced her and haven’t looked back. Trust can’t be rebuilt and I see no reason to stay in a relationship where trust is damaged by curiosity the opposite sex. If I am not enough. Time to move on. It hurt for awhile afterward, but feels much better now knowing my integrity is intact and I’m not in a relationship where I need to wonder. All this guff counselors give nit picking everything the innocent spouse did in an effort to explain deception is just to keep you coming back and their cash register’s ringing. If your spouse is an ogre…have the integrity to leave before making contact with former lovers or cheating. If your spouse lies to you or feels the need to lie when dealing with a subject like an ex lover your relationship will never recover to the degree you have complete trust again. Why stay? Why teach your kids lying and cheating has no consequences? I won’t even speak to her these days. I have nothing to say.
    Sidney´s last blog post ..Keep Calm, It’s Only a Dream

  • J.D. June 4, 2015, 9:13 am

    I recently went through a similar situation with my wife of 12 years. She’s on Facebook and I’m not and she uses it to keep contact with friends both old and new. Recently, she was sent a friends request by an ex boyfriend from high school and college(22 years ago) who said he only wanted to be friends. She asked me if it was OK to accept it and I didn’t want her to think I didn’t trust her, so I said it was OK as long has he understood she was married and if anything inappropriate started happening she’d end contact with him. After she accepted, they started messaging and she told me some things he said, including that he had just ended a relationship and should have married her when they were together, which got strange response from her I couldn’t figure out. I was bothered by it and wasn’t sure what to do. The next day I got home from work, still trying to figure out what to do and she sat me down and we talked about the situation. I think she was in the same mindset I was of not knowing what to do so she told me she talked to a couple of good friends about it and one told her of a friend who’s marriage ended over a Facebook affair which I think lit a fire under her that she needed to do something and fast. She told me about her relationship with this guy and how she had real feelings for him, but she broke it off with him the first time for getting another girl pregnant and the second and last time for hitting on her best friend right in front of her. Another thing she mentioned was that he had tried to get back with her multiple times since then before we were married and she had refused, but this was the first time on Facebook. She showed me the messages they exchanged and even though it was only a few over the course of one evening, it seemed clear he had other motives than friendship. My wife sent him a message explaining the incident that ended it for them and how she was now with her soulmate and didn’t want to risk that. She also told him we had no secrets and that I had seen the messages they exchanged and would see any others from now on. He apologized saying he only wanted to be friends and then later unfriended her. I guess we both dodged a bullet on this one.

  • Heather June 30, 2015, 3:19 am

    Recently I started dating a man I have known since we were kids, we both have been married and divorced. Before me he dated this woman 2x and they moved in together, he said this last 3 weeks. I saw his pic on fb in the people you may know section. Immediately he accepted my friend request, he said he had been divorced for a year now. He was single and so was I, and would I like to go out for a drink or dinner and catch up, I accepted, and said that would be great to catch up. I wasn’t thinking this was a date, but we immediately hit it off, now its been 5 months and we have been almost inseparable for the past 5 months. A couple months into this relationship this ex girlfriend started texting him and he said she had also called him on his job. He said he would put a stop to this and that I was the one he wanted to be with, he said I’am very happy with you and what we have. He told me he called her the next day and told her that he was seeing someone and he wished she would respect that and not call or text anymore, just as he showed her the same respect when she went back with her ex. Things have been great until last week when I pulled up my FB and there was a message from him, when I went to reply there was a pop up that came up next to his name, it said he recently became friends with his ex and a few other people. I sent him a message, he immediately replied and while talking I said I see you got a new friend he said who, so I told him, I said it popped up when i went to click on your name on my chat bar. I told him I was bothered by this and that she had tried this before, I said is this just another way to try and cause us problems, because I don’t see anything good coming out of it. He said I haven’t even spoken to her, he said she sent the invite and he accepted, he didn’t. I said ok, if you say I have nothing to worry about then I have no problems and trust you. He said no I have a problem, I’m pissed that you would snoop through my files, I’m like I did no such thing, he said your a liar and a snoop, I said I have no control over what comes up on my wall, its the way it works, he said your lying it doesn’t do it on my phone, I said I am on a computer they are different as to what you can see. He said no your lying and a snoop and I don’t trust you anymore. I’m like are you serious, you don’t trust me, your the one sneaking around adding your ex live in to your public accounts and you accuse me, and say you do not trust me. To make a long story short, he said I have no trust for you anymore, this isn’t going to work, we are threw, and dumped me. He said he was deleting his FB profile because it does nothing but destroy relationships. I said no FB doesn’t destroy relationships, people do, and your being so defensive and rude tells me you were being sneaky and deceitful with friending her. I told him I have never went through your stuff, I honestly don’t find it of value anything anyone post comes up on my wall so I don’t need to look at anyones profiles. I feel he was up to no good, and when I brought it up to him, he knew he wasn’t going to lie his way out of it, so he dumped me, in which case I feel on his part im quitting before you fire me, because he knew he was busted and had nothing to defend himself at that point. I think this whole time he has been talking to her on the phone and texting. I have never read a text of his or checked his phone logs, I trusted him completely, it was her I didn’t trust, and I was right it was going to cause problems and it did.

  • Brave Bull August 7, 2015, 3:17 am

    This post and the comments have been consoling for me. I found out my wife of 12 years was messaging and talking to an ex she linked with on Facebook. This guy was off limits and she knew it. She concealed it for years and in the emails she is telling him every single thing about our life together – sex, my work, etc. I work 70 hours a week and she stays home. When I got a whisper in my ear from a friend about them connecting and confronted her she lied vigorously. That was 2 years ago and she has since apologized many times. Still, I am disgusted and can barely look at her sometimes. She feels it but we stopped talking about it. We did a bit of counseling too. We have 3 kids and I don’t want a divorce because it would hurt them and I don’t really believe in divorce. It’s hard to look at her most days.

    • Jo August 7, 2015, 5:37 am

      I know how you feel brave bull , some days you forget about what they have done then it hits you with a bang , I just hope this will pass and we get the trust back.but I know it will never completely be the same as it was

  • Brave Bull August 7, 2015, 2:45 pm

    Thanks Jo. It’s such a relief to know I’m not alone in this feeling.

    As I was opening the emails between them, I knew the trust in our relationship would never be the same, but I had to know who I was married to. When I confronted her on it, she screamed, “Why did you do that?! Things will never be the same!!” What makes it even more difficult for me is that other than this one issue our relationship is really good. We get along great and our kids are happy. When we went to counseling, the male counselor pulled me aside and advised me to “let it go” because I had a good woman and wasn’t going to find anything better. Ugh!! It would be easier if she was a loser…. (smile)

    In my mind, I “get it” sometimes and I can forgive for a few weeks. Then it all comes rushing back and I can’t sleep etc. In my mind I ask myself do I really believe she was having sex with this guy? And the answer is no because in the emails he is actually counseling her on how to improve her relationship with me, but he’s also flirting and fishing, but she actually ignores those parts of his emails. But I would bet $ she probably cheated on me with him while we were dating. At least I know he has told one person that. And to know that this *sshole lives a few miles away from my house burns me up. I asked her if she told him I read the emails, and she said yes. I wonder sometimes is he scared of me? I hope so.

    Like most of the posters above, this experience really wore me down and made me question everything about myself. I had to look in the mirror and tell myself things were going to be OK many times. It led me to look for other ways to relieve stress. I try to meditate to let it go and it works most days. I do yoga as well. I also smoke a ton of weed and me and tequila get acquainted frequently. At times, I wish I could just be like other people and just “lose control” and kick this guy’s ass – or worse. I watch jail shows to dissuade myself from being an idiot. But I know that’s not me and my kids would suffer for it.

    I’m now intrigued by her thought process. My wife states that she was an only child and got very lonely after the birth of our second kid. I was starting my business at the same time and I was really working a ton. Plus, she was having post partum depression BAD. REAL BAD. My wife is normal to the outward appearance but she is very feminine and insecure and I am not sure she could make it without me (or some other dude, as it were) in her life on a daily basis. She would crumble being single. I think. So I can’t leave the mother of my kids in that situation, especially when I’m not sure what happened, if anything. I will suffer if I have to. Leaving or divorce before my kids grow up is not an option, which actually causes me more stress.

    Question – do you still talk to your wife about it??

    • Jo August 14, 2015, 2:27 am

      Hi brave bull , its my husband that I’m talking about and no we don’t talk about it every time I mention it he just says sorry and doesn’t talk about it

  • Sidney August 14, 2015, 10:55 am

    Why forgive and move on? Seriously. Once you know for sure someone who has made a vow to forsake all others betrays you. Why give a second chance? Regardless of what anyone says, you will never trust the naturally the same again. Forsake means…I’m all yours and have made peace with any baggage I had in the past enough to make a vow. Eventually, with most people, it will come up again later or there will be more cheating. If you did it once and got away with it and had few consequences…why wouldn’t they do it again?

  • Tom R. August 28, 2015, 1:50 pm

    It is a terrible feeling and I don’t know if you can get the trust back .you are stronger than me telling him to go for a meal with her

  • Dave September 13, 2015, 3:37 am

    I’ve just found out that my wife of 20 years has been messaging a male “old school friend” after they met at a reunion. After the reunion she sent 128 texts in 4 days but then he returned to Australia. Since then every opportunity she has has she has been chatting to him on Facebook. She sent me a rogue text that was meant for him and I have seen the Facebook chats where she’s telling him about how she wondered what it would have been like if she left me and how if I ever found out I’d make her life a misery etc… I confronted her and she has said there’s nothing in it and that nothing happed between them. However she has continued to contact his but this time even more deceitfully by telephoning her female friend and getting her to send him messages as she’s worried that I may be checking up on her! I’m devastated and hurt but she just says get over it. I’d love some views and advice please !


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