Anna Pulley, @annapulley
RedEye's sex columnist
11:00 AM CST, January 9, 2013
I recently found out my husband found ex-girlfriends on Facebook two years ago and they are friends. He said he kept them secret because he knew I would be upset. Well, I am upset by his disregard for my feelings. Now when they pop up on his news feed, it's a reminder to me that his curiosity or whatever was more important to him than my feelings and our marriage. I want them gone in every way possible. He says they are his past. I say they are in our present, in our marriage. He brought them in, and now I think he needs to take them out. What do you think?
I think you need to chillax, girl! While your husband keeping his exes a secret from you online is a dick move, so is chalking up a relatively benign situation as a threat to your marriage. As with most Facebook-related foibles, the platform is a convenient scapegoat; it's a symptom of the larger problem, which in your case is trust. You don't trust your husband.
You don't say much about him, maybe you have a perfectly good reason not to trust him. Maybe he's been unfaithful in the past. Maybe he lies about issues bigger than social media friendships. Or perhaps he wants to casually keep in touch with people he used to know, which is what Facebook is for, after all.
You can insist that your husband delete every single one of his exes' pixelated mugs, but ultimately it won't serve you much. There will soon be something else. This one instance of perceived betrayal won't touch the insecurity you feel about your relationship, which is what you need to address.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not letting your husband entirely off the hook, and I'm not trying to cast any blame here. Experiencing jealousy in a relationship is totally normal and healthy. We all feel a little icky when we think our partners might want someone who isn't us. And talking out this ickiness is essential for successful and functional relationships. But trying to police your husband's online friendships is not the way to go about dealing with your insecurities.
Acknowledge your anger, own it, then ask yourself why it matters so much to you that your husband has electronic interactions with women he used to date. Communicating your fears, even if they are irrational, is an important way of helping to curb those fears. It takes the oomph-feeling out of them, that sucker punch to the gut. It also allows you some distance from the fear when you can verbalize it. "I'm jealous of your ex who always comments on your Facebook posts. I know she lives in Fiji and is married, but that is how I feel." Sometimes we need some extra assurance from our partners that we are loved and valued. It's OK to talk about it; it's OK to ask for it.
You might disagree, but I'd also take comfort in the fact that it has been two years and nothing has happened, right? Your husband hasn't run away? No angry paternity tests from former lovers have surfaced? Allow yourself and your husband the space to talk about each other's concerns without the accusations. It should nourish, not diminish, your connection. Good luck.
Want to ask Anna an anonymous question about love, sex or dating? Email your quandary to firstname.lastname@example.org. Need to give your dating life a boost? Sign up for RedEye Dating.
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC