Thursday, November 3, 2011

Facebook Flirting (It's the Same as Real Flirting)

I have a few ex-boyfriends as Facebook friends.  This past week, an ex-fiance (a victim of my indecisive, immature early 20's) added me as a friend on Facebook, and I accepted.  He has a beautiful wife and two kids, and it was great to see how his little family is doing.  I have accepted Facebook friend requests from lots of men- old colleagues, former college friends, and guys that I met on my mission trips.  If you are on Facebook, you are undoubtedly virtual friends with people of both genders.  I mean, if we are friends in real life, then being friends on Facebook is no different, right?  The problem is this.  Facebook feels different.  Digital communication in general feels different.  It feels controlled, and so people treat digital communication far more lightly that they would real, live, in-person communication.  I would not sit in a closed room with a married man and have a private conversation.  But married women will carry on private, super-secret Facebook (email, text, etc.) conversations with a man other than their husband, and will not think twice.  I know it happens.  And you probably do, too.

I assure you, earlier in my life, I would not have thought twice about this, but I was ignorant then.  I am not ignorant now.  At least not about this.  And let me tell you that I know how it works.  I know that good intentioned communication and innocent friendships can turn into something more.  And it happens in the lives of good Christian husbands and wives, ones that would never consider being unfaithful to their spouse... until they are.  And then they don't know how they got there.  Slippery, slippery slopes everywhere.

So let me be clear about something.  Flirting on Facebook is the same as flirting in real life.  Flirting via text message is the same as doing it face to face.  Email or instant message, same thing.  Expressing affection or admiration for someone other than your spouse, no matter what your communication method, is a dangerous thing.  It's not okay.  And it comes in many forms... questionable Facebook photo compliments, communication that your spouse does not know about, random text messages asking about your day.  Some of these things seem kind of innocent and people may shrug them off as fine.  But most likely, it's not fine.  If you hear from someone of the opposite sex and you light up a little, there's your red flag.  Run, don't walk, far far away.  Run.  Because if you don't, it could cost you everything.  Your marriage.  Your family.  Your home.  Your testimony.  Everything.

You may think I'm extreme in this.  And I may well be.  I can assure you, though, that I would rather be on the cautious side than find myself in a situation where I am confiding in someone other than my husband.  I can't see any harm in being too careful.  I see the potential for all kinds of destruction in being careless.  It's a chance I can't afford to take.  And if you are married, neither can you.

So what do we do?  We have to be in relationship with people.  We work with people.  We interact with people.  We catch up with old friends.  We can't avoid it, and I wouldn't want to.  So I will tell you how this works for me.  I have myself set up with all kinds of accountability.  My husband has access to my email and Facebook accounts.  He can check my text messages any time he wants to.  He doesn't, but he knows that he is free to do it.  If I hear from a guy, via Facebook or email or text, he knows about it.  I tell him everything.  And he does the same when he talks to a woman.  Before Jake, I had girlfriends that I counted on (and still do) for accountability.  If I received random communication from a married ex-boyfriend or guy friend, I would let them know about it.  And they would encourage me to make right decisions in response to that communication.  Every now and then, they still check in with me.  And this is invaluable.  I don't do this because I am a man-crazed maniac and can't control myself.  I do it because I am a regular person, a sinner, with the potential to do anything.  I want to protect my marriage and my ministry.  Constant communication about who I am in communication with keeps me from unintentionally starting down a dangerous road.  Very few people start out wanting to be unfaithful.  Most are just being friendly.  And without excellent boundaries, friendly can turn ugly very quickly.

So if you are single, feel free to flirt with other single people.  In fact, I encourage it.  Flirt in person, via Facebook, text, email, however you like.  It's a great way to change that Facebook status from single to married.  I did it in a little over 3 months.  But if you are married, for the sake of your marriage and your children, save the flirting and the admiration for your spouse.

6 comments:

  1. Am I allowed to comment on this post, or is that too flirty?

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  2. You are definitely right Jules. I have had married friends young and old comment on my stuff before and say things that I find a little inappropriate. For the sake of not causing drama, I usaully just laugh it off and don't respond. One in particular is my friend's dad and his wife is on my friends list so I am positive she sees it and doesnt care. Thats kind of scary to me. I know exactly what you mean. It is too easy for situations to get ugly fast. I love your honesty when you write. You are correct in your conclusions and it's really for the best. Problem with some people is that they are bored...with married life. After being with someone for years, the devil likes to creep in and say "whats the harm. It's just for fun right?" Wrong! Us Christians have to protect ourselves and our marriages.

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  3. I so agree with your post! I have denied a friend request from my ex-boyfriend out of respect for my husband. I flat out told him that I thought that it would be disrespectful to both of our spouses. Although we had a serious relationship 15 years ago, I viewed it as - if I was not comfortable with going to lunch with him and my husband, then it is not an appropriate friendship to have on facebook. I love my husband dearly and no facebook friendship is worth jeopardizing that.

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  4. Hi Julie! Awesome post and I TOTALLY 100% agree with everything you said! I just wish I could get someone close to me that I love very dearly, to agree with me because I see them going down that slippery slope and I don't want them too. Is there anyway I can e-mail you, because I need some advice concerning this situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always available at julieturner507@gmail.com. I am certainly no counselor, but I have lived through some stuff and made plenty of mistakes. I am always happy to share what I have learned through those experiences.

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