relationship problems rising from facebook
August 13, 2014 11:51 PM   Subscribe

I have been with my girlfriend since 5 months ago. Since the beginning we became friends on facebook. I love and trust her and have not seen anything suspicious from her. The only thing that got me a little worried was that on two occasions she told me that she kind of still cared about her ex boyfriend who she broke up with two years ago. When she saw that I got offended she told me that I do not need to worry because the feeling she has for him, is like a mother-child feeling.

Anyways from the beginning of our relationship she was able to see everything on my FB profile including my friends list. She on the other-had has hidden her friend list. Initially I did not care at all. I felt that its just very stupid to occupy myself with such a stupid matter. I have told her in few occasions about it and so far she disregarded it. Couple of days ago I asked her explicitly again to open her friend list on me. I specially asked if she still is friends with her ex on FB and she said no. I am not really sure why I got sensitive over this. I dont even know why I am sensitive about this. In the beginning I thought thinking about this was childish and stupid, but as time went on and she evaded my request to open up her friend list I started to wonder why? Its just that I think to myself if she asked me such a thing I would have done it immediately. I do not really know how I should feel about it. I do not have any theory in my head as to why she does not like to open her friend list on me. I am 36 and she is 31. In the beginning I told her that I should be able to make my decision about marriage in about 8 months. My goal is to know her as much as possible within 8 months and 5 months has already past. Do you think these small things are considered a kind of red flag? How do you think I should address this problem. Should I work on myself and try to not think about it? Should I ask her again? I already asked her twice and obviously she is not interested to open her friend list up.
posted by mbn1455 to Human Relations (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love and trust her and have not seen anything suspicious from her.

Do you trust her? Because it doesn't sound like you do.

The only thing that got me a little worried was that on two occasions she told me that she kind of still cared about her ex boyfriend who she broke up with two years ago.

When you break up with someone, you don't automatically hate them as a person. There isn't a switch that gets flipped or anything. There is nothing particularly weird about the fact that she still cares about or is in contact someone she used to have a relationship with. But she's with you now.

She on the other-had has hidden her friend list....but as time went on and she evaded my request to open up her friend list I started to wonder why?

Because you are being unreasonably controlling. You have no right - none - to dictate whom she can ad can't interact with on social media or otherwise. Chill out and back off.

I felt that its just very stupid to occupy myself with such a stupid matter.

You are correct.

Do you think these small things are considered a kind of red flag?

Yes, for her.

Listen, dude. Either you trust her or you don't. If you don't, break up with her. It doesn't sound like she trusts you, and from your description you have given her little reason to.

I'm betting that if you try to control whom she is friends with, she will break up with you in short order anyway.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:04 AM on August 14, 2014 [22 favorites]

My partner of 4.5 years and I decided, about six months ago, to not be friends with one another on Facebook for exactly these sorts of reasons. Our relationship has been immeasurably better since. Everyone has their personal preferences for how they run their lives online, and they have nothing to do with you. You need to make peace with that fact at least.

Also, my own personal opinion is that five months is nothing... nothing... in terms of knowing someone well enough to make a decision about marriage. What's the big rush?
posted by mykescipark at 12:06 AM on August 14, 2014 [6 favorites]

So far, you have not discussed a relationship problem. What you describe is more specifically defined as your problem(s.)

- You want to be able to check this person you're dating out like a car or a property you are thinking of buying.

Sir. This is not how successful romantic partnerships evolve. You could find out everything about someone and still not feel love or respect for them, let alone find sharing a life with them fulfilling.

- It's kinda icky to search people's internet usage. People are allowed privacy.

Enough said about that.

- If you have a specific concern, use your words. Talk to the other person about it.

I can't imagine myself not feeling defensive if a current partner started interrogating me about an ex. Allow me to suggest you ask her how she feels about you? I believe that's more to your point!

- Making deadlines for knowing about lifelong partnership is weird. Let me tell you why....

When you are ready to marry, that's all about you. The other person gets to decide the same for themselves.

Then, you have to decide together if you want to go through life with each other.

Your current framing about the whole thing does not seem to be working for you. In line with that, my experience in life and relationships bears out that your formula is faulty.

That's a lot for you to think about, but I hope you take it to heart.
posted by jbenben at 12:07 AM on August 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

I just need to say that I do not have any intention of controlling who she is friend with. She asked me in the beginning to open my friend list which I did but since I did not care at that time I did not ask her to do the same. Now I got sensitive about it thats all.
posted by mbn1455 at 12:10 AM on August 14, 2014

Respect the fact that she's told you no twice and don't ask her again. You say that you have no intention of controlling who she's friends with—which is good, because you can't—but you obviously hope to catch her in a lie about being friends with her ex. If I were her, I would assume that you also want to scrutinize my friends list for other imagined transgressions, which I would then have to defend myself over.

You need to identify what has changed between the time that you didn't care about her friends list and now. Is this the same person from your previous AskMe questions? Because if so, you have trust issues in this relationship that don't seem to have been resolved since your previous question, and those are probably fueling this hyper-focus on her friends list. My guess is that you fundamentally don't trust her, and you're coming up with 'tests' like asking her to open her friends list so you can 'prove' that she's not trustworthy when she says no. You either need to work on building mutual trust or you need to break up.
posted by neushoorn at 12:24 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, you need to work on yourself. Until this happens, you're not ready to get married.
posted by Jubey at 12:31 AM on August 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

Looking at your question history, I have to ask the standard Ask question: Have you considered therapy? I think everyone above brings up good points you'd do well to think about, and it seems like maybe some structure and professional support to do that thinking could serve you well.
posted by Alterscape at 12:39 AM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

There are two separate issues here: (1) from your question history and this particular question, it does look like you have some control issues. I know that's hard to hear, but please acknowledge that your questions pretty clearly disclose them. It doesn't mean you're awful (though if you don't do something about them now, I'll reserve the right to change my mind on that). It just means that you, like me, like everybody, have work to do.

(2) your girlfriend also has issues. I've spent enough time in the betrayed spouse community to know that there are red flags all over her conduct from the past eight months (disclosed in your various questions). My counsel to you is that neither of you are close to being ready to being married. In fact, I'm not sure that either of you are really doing the hard work of a long-term relationship. Please consider stepping back a bit.

You've asked these questions in an anonymous forum, so I can't look you in the eyes and tell you my story. Tell you that we all are capable of significant growth if we want it. That we're also capable of inflicting serious hurt, if we're not careful. While we usually don't get explicit opportunities to choose a better path, I believe you have one now. BEST of luck!
posted by learnsome at 1:03 AM on August 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Based on your previous questions, all of which appear to be about the same person, I don't think this relationship is working out for you. No relationship is worth the sort of stress and anxiety that you appear to have been putting yourself through for months - it's not good for you or for her. I know this is kind of a standard AskMe answer, and a bit of a cliché at this point, but please, don't continue in this unhealthy relationship.

You are sitting at the computer, presumably in the small hours of the morning, running over and over conversations you've had with her in real life and from Facebook - just leave her. Spend a little time single, do what you want to do with your life, forget romantic relationships - they are really not the be-all and end-all of life and the shit you're putting yourself through is just unhealthy.

Also, if Facebook posts cause you this level of anxiety, dump Facebook. Social media is frequently pretty evil for those of us who suffer from anxiety disorders and it's not worth it.
posted by winterhill at 1:05 AM on August 14, 2014 [12 favorites]

So judging from the timeline of your questions, most of your relationships in the past year have had problems due to what seems to be your trust issues. (And possibly your taste in partners.)

It's very possible to get stuck in a rut of trust issue problems because of someone breaking your trust badly enough to start the cycle. You doubt both your partner and your own judgment, not knowing what to trust, but that nagging suspicion keeps you digging, and it all ends up badly. Wash, rinse, repeat. I've been there. The only thing that helped me was therapy. I highly recommend it.

I'd also recommend looking for women you like as people, as well as being attracted to them. Also, people whose judgment you trust and who you respect as people, not just as "classy" or "wife material".
posted by Meep! Eek! at 2:14 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

She's asked for a level of openness from you that she isn't willing to provide herself. In your shoes I'd be hurt and confused too.

There are all sorts of models for relationships. Different people may want different levels of shared time, integration in each other's lives, etc. But when one person is asking for more than they're willing to give right off the bat, that's hard to fix. Even if she is reacting to controlling or badgering behavior on your part, she should be talking about her reasons. You shouldn't have to speculate.

Are you feeling anxiety about married? I'm getting the sense that your arbitrary deadline is blinding you from assessing the situation clearly and realizing that you're incompatible. If this is the case, I think you need to take a dating break until you figure out what's driving your counterproductive behaviors.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:15 AM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

In the beginning I told her that I should be able to make my decision about marriage in about 8 months.

You buried this.

What on earth kind of dating timeline have you got going on? If someone told me right when we first started seeing each other that they would be making the decision whether to marry me or not after 8 months (not 7! not 9!) I would think they were nuts.

What is compelling you to force this? I get the sense that you're putting way too much pressure on this relationship because you want to be the Decider of Important Things and in your head you expect things to follow a very proscribed series of milestones.

That's...well, that might work for some people, but let me tell you, for most people that's a recipe for a broken, torturous relationship. You've sabotaged it right out of the gate by creating an ideal rules framework that real life could never follow.

I don't even want to address this facebook friends list thing because it's so silly and so played out. People are allowed to be friends with exes.
posted by phunniemee at 4:31 AM on August 14, 2014 [21 favorites]

Come ON, dude. You've asked...what...five variations of this question in the past few months and you're not taking any advice.

All your questions have been about control and she's not doing what you want and people have advised you OVER AND OVER to break up with her and start therapy.

You're talking about marriage in a few months and you're getting hung up over FACEBOOK?

Break up with her and start therapy.
posted by kinetic at 4:39 AM on August 14, 2014 [23 favorites]

I mean, does it really matter? I'm friends with a lot of different people on Facebook, including people I haven't talked to in 10-20 years as well as people I actively dislike, because at the end of the day being friends on Facebook is relatively meaningless. Being Facebook friends =/= some sort of secret drama going on behind your back.

The only thing that sounds weird here is that you two are hiding/not hiding things from each other on Facebook-- not really sure why you would have different privacy settings for each other than what you have for an average Facebook friend. At any rate, if a relationship this new is causing you so much angst over internet drama I would suggest either letting it go or ending the relationship.
posted by fox problems at 5:33 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I was a betting man, I'd say you backed her into a corner here and she lied to you in order to avoid the drama you'd kick up because she's almost certainly friends with her ex on facebook.

Logically, if both are on Facebook and she admits to even a mother/child feeling about her, she would still want to be in contact with him.

And honestly, I understand where she's coming from. You say you wouldn't want to control who she is friends with, but that's what the whole open friends list would start. If you can't see that, you're willfully blind. You likely didn't anticipate caring about the friends list either. But now you're obsessing over it.

I think you have to trust the people you're with...and if you don't, then you have to move on. If you find yourself distrusting everyone you're with, then you're chronically insecure and need to work that out before you have a chance to have any meaningful relationship work.
posted by inturnaround at 6:10 AM on August 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

I specially asked if she still is friends with her ex on FB and she said no. I am not really sure why I got sensitive over this. I dont even know why I am sensitive about this.

The hard truth here, and I mean this in all kindness, is that you are insecure and seek to control things as a way to assuage that insecurity.

I can tell you, having once been like that in my past, that this is a recipe for disaster. And this is why :

I just need to say that I do not have any intention of controlling who she is friend with.

I know that you believe this, but it is a lie. You are lying to yourself. There is no reason, except to control and monitor her friend activity to see her friends list.

You need to learn to address and resolve your insecurities before you even think about marriage, or you will have a marriage of drama turmoil.

Your future wife deserves better treatment.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:58 AM on August 14, 2014 [8 favorites]

I will disagree with everyone. People that have nothing to hide hide nothing. I personally require transparency in a relationship. OP seems to feel the same.

Not being friends with your LTR partner on FB? Hiding friends list from people that you are supposed to be closest to? I don't consider that normal behaviour by any stretch.
posted by sabina_r at 7:16 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you think these small things are considered a kind of red flag?

Yes. I think they're a huge red flag... for your girlfriend. She's dating someone who has no respect for her boundaries or her privacy, and who is apparently trying to badger her into doing what he wants because he has HUGE jealousy issues. I would advise her to break up with you immediately.
posted by palomar at 7:26 AM on August 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you keep digging and digging, like a prospector in the Wild West, for "red flags" you will find them. In each of your questions about this girl (and possibly the one before? p.s. your timelines don't add up at all, ever), you are saying the following:

1) You insist that Thing X is not a problem, you're fine with Thing X.
2) Girlfriend does Thing X
3) You lose your shit over the fact that your girlfriend did Thing X which you SAID you were fine with but come on, you never ever were fine with it and how could she THINK you would be fine with it just because you SAID you'd be FINE with it. What kind of person would take you at your word about something as "red-flaggy" as Thing X?!

Do you see how irrational this is?

Because it's all a big test for you to poke your insecurities with a stick. You're saying "It's fine to be friends with your ex," but it is a trick and you know it. Because the only correct answer for your GF is "Oh no, I would never be friends with an ex, I in fact set my ex on fire and put him on a barge at sea." And then she would have to prove this to you.

Stop testing your girlfriends. They aren't lab mice, they're people. Find a girl you actually like, respect, and are compatible with.

Or failing that, christ, I dunno--find a friendless orphan who's spent her entire life before meeting you in some kind of isolation tank. Because everyone else on this earth is going to have known and dated people before you. Everyone else is going to have family who asks them to go to events or spend time with them. Everyone else is going to have their own feelings about wearing makeup or being on facebook or what have you. Everyone else is going to need you to deal with your own shit, and confront your insecurities.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:28 AM on August 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

You might not trust her. And you may or may not have good reason to do so.

Your desires for how you want your relationship structured are not irrational. Admitting what you want might be hard, but its okay to want a relationship where you share this level of trust. And if that is what you want, you should seek it from someone who is willing to give you what you want. This woman may not be that person. Some other woman might very well be and would love to have a relationship of the kind you want.

That's perfectly fine.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:18 PM on August 14, 2014

OP, I am confused by whether all of the questions are about a single girlfriend, or if these are different women. I had assumed multiple women, but some on here are assuming the same woman. Can you please elaborate?
posted by Meep! Eek! at 3:32 PM on August 14, 2014

My last two questions are about the same girl. Also I so not quite understand what people are talking about here when they say I should respect her privacy. Most of my friends on FB do not hide their friend list from me. Obviously I have not asked for her facebook password. I just dont understand why she would rather me speculating about the reason instead of immediately opening it up for me. Everybody here assumes that if she does this I am going to ask for something else. The truth is I wont. But if she is friends with her ex on FB she should be brave enough to admit it and leave it to me to decide what I would like to do with our relationship. I do not believe I am insecure here.
posted by mbn1455 at 4:31 PM on August 14, 2014

You don't understand something fundamental about adult romantic relationships. You don't get to control the other person.

You don't get to make the kind of demand you're making here. She is an adult woman and she has agency. She controls her Facebook page. She gets to say whether or not her Facebook friend list is public or private. You don't get to do that. You don't get to guilt her or accuse her or throw around manipulative talk like her not being "brave enough to admit to blah blah bloo" (not a real quote, obviously) because that makes you sound like some kind of ME TARZAN YOU JANE neanderthal who can't engage in a relationship of equals with a woman.

You're not the boss of her. Stop acting like you're acting and get some help.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 6:03 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you gotten offended about who most of your friends are friends with? I'm assuming you probably haven't. That's probably why they don't care about hiding their friends list from you.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:20 PM on August 14, 2014

And if she is friends with her ex on FB, so what! That's a dumpable offence, is it? The fact is, she's chosen you, even if he is in her life (though why, when you act like this, is beyond me)

The thing you need to realise is that smart women look for red flags in men they date, and you're exhibiting a lot of them. First it starts with the guy not wanting you to keep in contact with your ex. On Facebook of all things. Then it's any man. Then it's your friends, then your family and siblings, until there no one in your life but him. Pretty soon you have an innocent chat with the postman at the door (because if you leave the house without him, that will start a fight) and before you know it you have a broken arm and if there was anyone left in your life to talk to about it, you'd say that he's such a nice guy, he just gets insecure and he's sensitive about these things.

So, in answer to your question, you've asked her twice already, should you ask her again. Yes. Absolutely. Ask her, absolutely interrogate her for an hour straight about a contact on Facebook until she sees the controlling guy whose thinking about locking her down for life for who he is. Hopefully she will do both of you a favour and immediately break up with you and get a restraining order. When you realise that you've lost a great thing and that women aren't dogs to be controlled, maybe you will stop dating and go to therapy and sort out your major control issues.

And yes, I realise you've done none of those things I mentioned. And you don't plan to. But who ever does.
posted by Jubey at 7:29 PM on August 14, 2014

Most of my friends on FB do not hide their friend list from me.

So? What does that have to do with your relationship with your girlfriend?

But if she is friends with her ex on FB she should be brave enough to admit it and leave it to me to decide what I would like to do with our relationship. I do not believe I am insecure here.

1. She already told you that she is not friends with her ex on Facebook. You clearly have assumed that she is lying. You obviously don't trust her even on something as trivial as Facebook, and that does not bode well for your relationship.

2. If you weren't insecure, you wouldn't care if she was friends with her ex.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am surprised that you "Jubey" and "His thoughts were red thoughts" relate my personal preference to insecurity. I do not believe in friendship after relationship period. I told her this upfront. If she believe in such a thing or if you guys believe in such a thing you guys are entitled to your opinion and I have nothing against it. I am trying to marry someone that I am comfortable with not trying to be in a romantic relationship as you say.

Her preference was to date a tall man. Can you accuse her of being insecure or unfair to all short men? No right?
Its as simple as that. I already seen marriages fail due to this and my previous relationships suffered from my partners being in touch with their exes as well. Having said all these I trust her and thats why I want to be with her. FYI, I ended all my previous relationships. There has not been a single partner who left me in the past. I always thought I could do better and did not feel I am ready to settle down. Please stop speculating other things about me and answer my direct question.

Other than that, I dont care if she sees my behaviour as a redflag and leave. I love her but if she wants to keep in touch with her ex I am not a right person for her. We agreed on no friendship after relationship and I always sticked to this principle and see no reason to change it.

If she believes otherwise she should discuss it with me and our relationship ends. I do not see any reason for hiding these things. Privacy does not make sense in this case. If I am his husband i have to know all his friends and she is entitled to know all mine. If she does not like who ever I hang out with, I simply stop because she is the first person in my life. Even above my parents and all my close friends.
posted by mbn1455 at 9:08 PM on August 14, 2014

So if you believe all of this, why are you here asking the question when your mind is clearly made up regardless? You asked if you were too sensitive and if you need to work on yourself and the answer has been a resounding yes but when you get that response, you choose to defend it - poorly, I can't believe your justification, by the way, but regardless, you're not open to anything that doesn't respond to your rigid, controlling worldview. So we can't help someone who doesn't want to be. But for our sake, can you please, please stop flogging a dead horse and stop asking the same pointless questions over and over again when you're not open to the answers? Break up, don't break up, I don't care.
posted by Jubey at 9:23 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

[mbn1455, you don't have to agree with folks' answers but you need to accept that folks on Ask Metafilter are answering in good faith and not argue with or insult them. Get what value you can from the answers and leave it at that.]
posted by cortex at 10:10 PM on August 14, 2014

Having a disagreement over Facebook of this magnitude makes me think that born of you are very immature.

I agree with you that hiding her friends list is weird ... However, if you're not okay with this then you should just break up with her, because you can't make her be as transparent and up front as you want her to be.

As far as wanting to marry someone after 8 months.. I could be wrong but it sounds like you're not from my culture (the United States) so it's hard for me to identify. But hey, whatever floats your boat. Just understand that real love doesn't often follow a time table.
posted by Gray Skies at 12:09 AM on August 15, 2014

If you only want to date people who are not on speaking terms with their exes, then yes you should break up. She has stated she is still friendly towards her exes, that's a deal-breaker for you, break up.

Personally I think you will have trouble finding partners who meet your exacting standards, but that's up to you. What isn't fair is dating people who you know don't share your point of view and then trying to bully them into doing what you want. If you aren't compatible (and you have said in your update that you aren't) just break up and stop making such a production out of it.
posted by tinkletown at 2:33 AM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

...if she wants to keep in touch with her ex I am not a right person for her.

Okay, here's your answer.

You're not the right person for her.

So break up.
posted by kinetic at 6:43 AM on August 15, 2014

my previous relationships suffered from my partners being in touch with their exes

I will bet you any amount of money that this is not why your previous relationships suffered.
posted by kinetic at 7:19 AM on August 5, 2015

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