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Is Connecting to the Past on Facebook Unhealthy for Current Relationships?

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Facebook, as the largest social network on the web, has literally connected more than one billion people across the globe. Every day people log into the network find and rekindle old friendships or develop new ones. Often a favorite activity members of Facebook tend to engage in is seeking out old chums and/or flames.

In most instances, seeking out old friends and past loves is an act that stems from curiosity and is probably not an issue for most people. Once the curiosity factor is over, people move on, return to their lives and/or develop new friendships based on their current (or adult) values and interests. In some situations, seeking out old connections on Facebook is totally healthy and a lot of fun, but in other situations it may be detrimental to life and create problems in a current relationship.  

How to tell?

Credit: Geralt via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/facebook-social-media-social-network-530337/

Facebook is structured where seemingly endless connections to the past can be made.  But how does this affect current relationships?

Evaluate Your Life

When assessing whether or not connecting with people from your past on Facebook might be harmful for your current relationship, it is a good idea to evaluate how things are in your life. Asking yourself whether or not hooking up with the past would be opening up the proverbial can of worms is a good start. Or consider if it might enhance your relationship by widening your circle of friends and create activities of things to do with other people you share a bond with or similar interests.

Of course, it also depends upon the people you want to connect to. Old loves are a delicate subject in many instances and likely to be of higher concern to the relationship than seeking out high school pals. When looking at profiles on Facebook or suggestions that come from Facebook of people you might be interested in connecting with, consider the status of your current relationship and how each person from the past might impact your life at this point in time. Would the old relationship have a natural fit or would it create awkwardness?

What’s the Motive?

A motive for digging into the past is probably one of the biggest factors to consider when making the decision to reconnect – or not. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do you want to seek out the past? Is it because you're feeling older and wistful of days gone by? Just wondering what happened to the people from yesteryear?  
  • Are you looking to turn back the clock?
  • Are you overly curious about an old boyfriend or girlfriend and/or never had closure to a particular relationship?
  • Is your current relationship going through a crisis and you want an escape from reality?

If it is mere interest or curiosity, there is likely little harm to be done, however, if seeking out the past is an “escape” of sorts, then reconnecting could be treading into dangerous territory.

Matchstick fire
Credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/matchstick-fire-light-striking-20237/

When escapism is the motive for pursuing the past, this can be a dangerous path to follow, especially if the reason is also connected to current relationship problems.

If you're worried about causing a wedge in your current relationship by revisiting your younger days, then there is likely reason for concern. In this instance, it is important to truly be honest with yourself and evaluate why you are seeking out the past in the first place.

Status of Current Relationship

Many relationships can easily withstand Facebook being a part of daily life. People log on, catch up with conversation and log off. However, in other instances, it can be a slippery slope.  Relationships that are already going through a rocky time or are otherwise experiencing troubles can be at further risk once Facebook enters the picture. Significant others might be angry, annoyed or jealous, especially if ongoing conflict has been present. If one partner ignores the other in favor of spending time online revisiting the past, Facebook can be detrimental because it takes further attention away from the relationship.

Eye on Facebook
Credit: Geralt via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/eye-facebook-detail-macro-face-1553789/

Does Facebook take priority over the people and events in daily life? If, by seeking out the past, it dominates what's going on in the here and now, that could lead to serious problems.

If a history of infidelity exists from either partner, Facebook can be a sticky situation and be potentially damaging to the relationship. Although even the healthiest of relationships can end up going through trauma from one partner seeking out the past, because even if no history of unfaithfulness exists, emotional affairs can and do happen. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, if this occurs, it begins often before the person realizes what they've gotten themselves into.

Speaking of nostalgia ... 

Getting Lost in Nostalgia

Nostalgia is often a powerful pull that can be hard to resist. While walking down memory lane can offer a feeling of youthfulness and fulfilling satisfaction, ultimately in the end, the past is gone and the now is here. It is important to consider how much the current relationship is valued and, if it is one that wants to be held onto, he or she should carefully evaluate his or her motives and watch those boundaries when strolling down memory lane. With a promise to keep boundaries intact when engaging on online networks, connecting with people from the past shouldn't be unhealthy for a current relationship.

Seeking out old friends and loves on Facebook may or may not be unhealthy for a current relationship, ultimately, it depends upon the person and the relationship he or she is currently in. In many instances, reconnecting on Facebook is a lot of fun. However, if proper limits are maintained and no hints beyond a platonic relationship exist, reconnecting doesn't have to be detrimental or harmful to a relationship.

Facebook and pointer on screen
Credit: Simon via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/facebook-mouse-cursor-mouse-pointer-76536/


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  1. "10 Things to Never Do on Facebook if You Are in a Relationship." eHarmony. 5/10/2016 <Web >
  2. "Friending Former Lovers on Facebook: Unknowingly Cheating Online." Psychology Today. 27/09/2011. 5/10/2016 <Web >
  3. ""Flattered by Old Flames"." Huffington Post. 26/02/2014. 5/10/2016 <Web >
  4. "When Old Flames Beckon Online." Wall Street Journal. 06/10/2009. 5/10/2016 <Web >

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