Ex-Factor: One in Five divorces linked to Facebook

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The holidays are fast approaching, the days of coming together with your family to celebrate and catch up with one another. Mix-in some bickering and stress, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a holiday dinner until someone has to shake things up; enter the “ex-factor”.

Parents all around the world are receiving quite the surprise at the holiday dinner table when they share their feast with their child’s ex from years past. The connection could go far back as adolescence, the scrawny boy with slight acne who accompanied their daughter to prom or the flirtatious teenage girl who hung around their son for one to many months.

With one in five divorces citing Facebook as a reason for separation, the exes or former flames have returned in a big way, with no signs of waning. The result; parents opening their homes up to that boy with the motorcycle, the girl that was all wrong for him, the boy that had no direction, the girl who was too clingy…the list is endless. Now, their children are re-introducing these same people to them again, they are older, but are they wiser?

This situation becomes even more complicated when you’ve reconnected with an ex on Facebook, and you just happened to be married to someone else at the time. You know, just a minor detail. If you’re making that fateful trek back home this holiday season with your Facebook “friend,” here are a few questions to be prepared for when you sit down for dinner and the family begins their interrogation.

1. How did you find one another again? An obvious question with implications, meaning additional questions will ensue if not handled correctly. The simple answer: Facebook. Some parents will understand, others may be computer illiterate and may refer to the site as “the internet.” At this point, ambiguity may be the best route, especially if you have children, and they are in the same room. You don’t want to wave your relationship in their face, particularly if you reconnected while you were still married. Statistically speaking, it is probably safe to say you did. Probability is high that this fact is known or implied to everyone around the table anyways. Why divulge any more than necessary? Keep it simple, even if you are the happiest you’ve ever been. Your excitement could be judged as some kind of mid-life crisis. Plus, they were privy to your last relationship with this person and look how that turned out. You’re an adult, convincing someone your relationship is real is not required, even if it’s your family.

2. Have you ever been married?  The loaded question. First, your family wants to know if your ex has already failed at something. Are they tainted from a previous relationship? Secondly, the underlying real question is, do you have any children?  Blended families can be complicated, especially when some traditional parents have moral issues with divorce and having children out of wedlock. Confused yet? Don’t be. This is the easiest question to answer, a simple yes or no. Followed by stating the number of children, if applicable.  Being up front and honest is great to a point, but over-sharing about why your marriage failed, and how your divorce has affected your kids, may not be the best first time conversation with your ex’s parents.

3. What are your plans for the future? This question is the one where the conversation falls dead silent as forks are placed down on plates and all eyes focus solely on the two of you. Some quick answers, we are taking it slow (but if that was the case, would you be enduring their wrath and inquisition prematurely?), we are committed to one another, (their eyebrows may go up with that one because the past may replay in their heads), or we’re in love and have realized we made a mistake all those years ago (“mistake” should probably not be said if children are in the room.) Whatever your answer, if you state your position confidently and without hesitation then your family will probably find it more difficult to argue with you in the end (and hopefully not at that very moment.).

Reconnecting with your ex on Facebook and actually being bold enough to bring them home again should allot you some credit and show the potential seriousness of your commitment. Families are complicated whether you’re at the holiday dinner or on the phone questioning why you don’t call as much as they would like. In most cases, they just want what is best for you. If that happiness is with the boy down the street who dumped you before the prom, then so be it. Your decisions and subsequent consequences are yours. Your family may question your sanity, but who hasn’t questioned a family member’s sanity at some point or another? If you can make it through dinner unscathed then you’ve won half the battle until the next holiday when hopefully you won’t be served-up as the first course again. Unless, you ditch your ex for another Facebook “friend” then you’ll probably have more explaining to do and may want to take a pass on the next holiday dinner altogether.

About the writer:

Amanda Strong graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Televison/Radio and is the author of the highly acclaimed new novel, With Just One Click, the first of its kind to explore the impact of Facebook relationships.


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