What is your opinion of friending old contestants on facebook?
Athol: This is both simple and complicated.
On one hand it’s a very clear shortcut to losing your spouse to an affair. Old flames can reignite into an inferno of dopamine and desire amazingly quickly. Facebook is cited in 20% of all divorces as a contributing factor, so you’d be totally stupid to tolerate it happening. People only hunt up old friends they still have sexual interest in. Simply contacting them is a major indicator of interest.
On the other hand, both Jennifer and I have old contestants as Facebook friends. Jennifer is naively trusting, so she basically does nothing. I pay attention and run a low level cockblock, which isn’t hard in that I quite like the guy and we chat probably as much as Jennifer does with him. There is significant distance with both involved as well and that’s a major factor in me being comfortable with it.
That being said, our computers face out into the room, we both have access to each others passwords, and half the time we’re on Facebook we’re sitting side by side and surfing over each others shoulders anyway. We kinda gossip with each other to be honest. You tell one of us something, you tell both of us something. (But that’s as far as it goes.)
We also have each other on GPS on our phones. Which if Jennifer wanted to cheat on me would be framed as “creepy and controlling”, and as “intimate and involved” if she’s into me. I just like to be watched….
So Jennifer and I have a very open access relationship. She’s able to get in my stuff and I’m able to get into hers. So if something was going on with either one of us, there would be a high likelihood of discovery. Now if Jennifer suddenly started closing off that access on me and acting evasive as to why, I would become suspicious of why that was happening, and start rolling out the Secret Squirrel approach.
It’s important to restate that I am a geek, and in this day and age, angry paranoid geeks can pretty much find out anything about you with the right computer and surveillance equipment. Computer access and public records are a beautiful thing. So if something was up, I would find out about it. If that sounds controlling and creepy, that’s because it’s controlling and creepy, but I’m just playing a Tit for Tat strategy. If she’s nice to me and open about what’s going on, I’m nice to her and open about what’s going on. If she wants to play Spy vs Spy, I’ll play Spy vs Spy.
As it is, we both play nice.
The other thing to think about is whether or not Facebook is a cause, or a symptom. If she’s into you, some random ex looking her up on Facebook isn’t going to matter. If she isn’t into you, it could be a random ex looking her up, it could be a co-worker, it could be her best friends husband, it could be a guy at the gym or a guy in a bar. If 20% of divorces mention Facebook as a factor, 80% of them do not.
So my approach is to allow Jennifer total freedom while granting her total access to me, and vice a versa. Then if someone sees something inappropriate starting to happen, they are meant to bust down hard on the other. So innocent until proven guilty, but don’t think for a minute we wouldn’t go Law and Order on each other. (And wow is writing a blog about monogamy a chastity belt!)
On a more positive note, just act like her lover and much of this resolves itself anyway. We text a lot and take up headspace in each other. It’s really not an endless torrent of sexy stuff either, half the time it’s just something funny we just saw or heard about. We’re involved and intimate.