Ask Anna: “Should I Un-Friend My Ex?”

Relationship Advice from a Professional Processor

Dear Anna,

I unfriended my ex on Facebook recently. It was just too hard to see her updates in my feed. Now I’m wondering, should I also un-friend my ex’s closest friends so that a) my ex doesn’t try and stalk me, b) so that I don’t get tempted to stalk her, and c) be-cause what do we have in common with our ex’s friends anyway if I’m not with the ex anymore?

—Inquiring Minds

Dear IM,

Good question, indeed. Unfriending all those adjacent people to your ex seems like a lot of work, however, and I, for one, don’t care that deeply about who sees my bitchin’ Instagram sunset photos and exceptional Goodreads reviews.

But, that’s me. I don’t unfriend anyone. I have Facebook friends who I “met” via OkCupid but never even ended up going out with. I am definitely still friends with my college girlfriend’s parents, siblings, and a few random friends-of-siblings who I probably saw one time at a bar in Skokie, Illinois. The roommate of a cousin who told me she liked puns in 2005? Oh yes, we’re definitely friends. I didn’t even unfriend the last girl who broke my heart. Instead, I filtered her out of my feed so that only the “most important” posts of hers show up, which ended up really backfiring because now the updates I see are like, “The girl I dumped you for proposed to me! We’re getting married even though I claimed to be afraid of commitment!”

Still, I don’t unfriend her. Because if I do then some twisted part of me thinks she’ll know I cared enough to unfriend her and I DON’T CARE, SARAH. I’M SUPER HAPPY FOR YOU.

You may have a different (healthier) relationship to the Book of Faces, of course. I think the real question is: Will it give you peace of mind to adjust your privacy settings and/or remove all the folks who were connected to your ex? If the answer is yes, then do it.

My hunch is you’re more concerned about being tempted to stalk your ex than pondering the meaning of friendship in the electronic age. Especially if her posts alone are upsetting you, then I can see how that might easily transfer to seeing her mug show up in a photo posted by her cousin in Georgia, with whom you forgot you were electronically connected.

In either case, unfriend away. Life’s too short to be worried about social media snafus, especially ones we can easily avoid with the click of a button. And since there are many more pressing concerns in the world, do yourself a solid and purge the potential problems you can control and be on your merry way.
If the breakup was truly horrible, though, then you should def sleep with all your ex’s friends.

JK JK, some of us have integrity. Unlike some people (Sarah).

Anna Pulley is the author of “The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!)”. Email questions to anna.pulley@gmail.com. Let Anna send you overly personal emails at tinyletter.com/annapulley.