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Thinking of the children
July 19, 2011 10:59 AM   Subscribe

What do you say to children of your exes that find you on Facebook? Bisexual three-way snowflake details inside.

Years ago I was the bi leg of a three way romantic triangle between a guy I was head over heels for, and the gal he was crazy for. During the days of yore, we did everything together, except sleep together. That is, they slept together, I slept with no one.

Eventually we did fool around a couple times. They stopped returning my calls, were always too busy to talk if I did reach them on the phone, would make and break promises to call back, and I just gave up.

Then came Facebook, and the she befriends me, but the he doesn't. Then their daughter friends me and starts asking if I will come visit them again. I am dreading the day she asks why I stopped coming around, or why I am reluctant to visit, no matter how much her mother would supposedly love to see me.
posted by No1UKnow to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You don't have to explain anything. Just say you drifted apart, same as any other ex situation. I don't think the three way triangle aspect has much to do with the kids (I hope).
posted by small_ruminant at 11:02 AM on July 19, 2011


How old is the daughter?
posted by Melismata at 11:02 AM on July 19, 2011


Unfriend these people and move on. They didn't treat you well the first time you knew them, don't compound this by remaining facebook connected to the woman and her young daughter.

Drop this entirely, block all emails and social networks, and move on.
posted by jbenben at 11:03 AM on July 19, 2011 [23 favorites]


Normally I hesitate to say "bail out!", but there's no relationship here. It's just Facebook. Unfriend and be thankful you don't have to meet these people in person.
posted by tommasz at 11:05 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


This history is none of the daughter's business. Moreover, she may be inquiring for unhealthy reasons about which you know nothing, e.g., because she's pining for happier days, trying to gain insight into another relationship of her mother's, etc. Either unfriend and move on or use FB's "hide me" function if you can't bear to be rude.
posted by carmicha at 11:10 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am dreading the day she asks why I stopped coming around, or why I am reluctant to visit, no matter how much her mother would supposedly love to see me.

I don't see why you have to tell her anything, and given the word you used to describe her was "child" I think it would be extremely inappropriate get into private details.

If the daughter asks if you will come visit, you can tell her, you can't come visit, but you can always have a chat on the phone or over email. If she asks why you stopped coming around, you can tell her that you had to take care of other things. Honestly tho, I think it's a little weird for you to still be involved with their child given the situation.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:14 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


IMHO, it is not a good idea to be friends with non-related children on Facebook.

And even if the daughter is an adult, given this situation, it'd probably be best to un-friend her.

I'd send a message like this:
"Hey Madison. So glad to hear that you're doing well. Things are great with me too. Thanks for sending the message. Sincerely, Me."
posted by k8t at 11:15 AM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not sure why so many people are assuming the daughter is a minor. "the days of yore" indicates to me this was long ago.

Then their daughter friends me and starts asking if I will come visit them again.

"Our lives were going in different directions."

"Your parents were busy with their lives and I was busy with mine. Sometimes these things happen."

I am dreading the day she asks why I stopped coming around, or why I am reluctant to visit, no matter how much her mother would supposedly love to see me.

The Miss Manners staple: "I'm sorry, it's just not possible."

Honestly, if you liked the daughter at all, it wouldn't hurt to tell her you fondly remember xyz thing about her, or that you all did together.

I, personally, would not unfriend her.
posted by anastasiav at 11:42 AM on July 19, 2011


Yeah, if she's old enough to understand, I'd say something like "um, well, we kinda got into a little argument, and I've been super busy these days anyway. Maybe some day we'll have time to get together again. How are things going with you? How are those trumpet lessons going? Keep me posted on what's going on with your life!"
posted by Melismata at 11:48 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really short simple answer: "You don't."
posted by Alterscape at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2011


She is 17 now. The family is reaching out to old friends in reaction to the death of one of their parents, so it feels especially dickish to say no to a visit.
posted by No1UKnow at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2011


If she asks why you can't come for a visit, say, "I'm a little embarrassed because of the argument we had, so go ask your parents first if it's ok."
posted by Melismata at 12:37 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The family is reaching out to old friends in reaction to the death of one of their parents, so it feels especially dickish to say no to a visit.

You don't owe them anything. Fine for them if they want to reach out to old friends, but that doesn't in any way mean you have to reciprocate. There's no reason for you to put their desire to reach out to "old friends" above your own desires.

But, throughout your whole question, I don't see much information in general about what you do want. Do you want to be friends with them? Do you want to be in contact with their daughter? Do you want to visit them again? Why have you given us no information about what it is you want/need/desire out of this situation?

Think about your needs and wants. And them put them first. Let me repeat: you don't owe these people or their daughter anything.
posted by meese at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Hi Madison. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma. My thoughts are with you and your parents. Sincerely, Me."

and de-friend her.
posted by k8t at 12:48 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Defriend her like the dickens. You being "nice" is only going to confuse the situation. The Mother friended you, but hasn't requested a visit, right? The daughter asking you to visit and not her mom is a sign of messy boundies at the very least. Do the daughter a favor and set some nice clear boundries.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:17 PM on July 19, 2011


most 17 year olds I know do not *really* care about face book questions personally- they ask questions of everybody just to look popular on FB, have an active wall etc etc. DeFriend her, she will not be crushed.
Plus grown people FB with KIDS is creepy
posted by Frosted Cactus at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually mom did make the initial invite, daughter has just repeated how much it would mean to mom. To be clear, daughter is not messaging me frequently, nor vice versa, though she has asked if, when I come for a visit, if I would take home one of their extra kittens. I don't really do Facebook.

What I want is complicated enough for it's own ask, or ten. I would be happy to get my best friends back.
posted by No1UKnow at 2:49 PM on July 19, 2011


If you live in the same area, a condolence visit doesn't seem out of the question. That will help you gauge whether you are getting dragged into a weird situation, or not.
posted by gjc at 3:11 PM on July 19, 2011


uh, don't say you had an argument if you didn't actually have one; if the kid asks the parent(s) "So No1UKnow says they don't come around because of an argument, what happened?" then it's going to make things even weirder.

Talk to one or both of them before talking to their kid any more. If you can't bring yourself to discuss this with either of them, then just don't say anything at all to the child.
posted by dubold at 3:11 PM on July 19, 2011


Actually mom did make the initial invite, daughter has just repeated how much it would mean to mom.

That sounds like mom manipulating daughter into manipulating you. And is really creepy. Just disengage from their lives. Block on facebook. Forget these drama queens.
posted by emyd at 4:49 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I would be happy to get my best friends back."

Do the smart thing here. You know you can't go back, right?

This is too messy and personally hurtful for you to get back involved with. Take this opportunity to put closure on the issue (maybe send a heartfelt condolence card or something?) and do the "hide me" thing on Facebook.

If you do decide to contact this woman, let her be the one to answer her daughter's questions - not you. If it comes up, "Gee, ask your mom!" in a cheerful voice and change the subject.


It's possible you could reconnect with this woman and have a great friendship, but I personally wouldn't trust her recent tragedy to change her internal landscape that much. Her warm feelings about the past are likely transitory, and she's still probably not someone of character. I think the fact that her 17 yr old daughter is contacting you on her behalf more than proves that. The daughter didn't get the idea to facebook you out of the thin blue air.
posted by jbenben at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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