02/28/2014 05:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ex-Lover Would Like to Be Your Friend: Accept, Decline or Ignore?


"I cannot believe he still hasn't accepted you," wrote a friend of mine in reference to a former beau that I had casually attempted to add back to my friends' list on Facebook.

True, we broke up several years ago, and in no way was I trying to reignite the long-lost flame. Welcome to the digital era where you only have three options: accept, decline or ignore. Yet, the fact that we attach such deep meaning to accepting and declining friend requests on a social network is a sad reminder that we (willingly) continue to be brainwashed by digital mass manipulation.

In a recent blog post on 8 Facebook Friend Requests You Should Never Accept, I found the answer to my dilemma: "At times, it is tempting so be updated about your ex's life and to know what they are up to, but you'll probably get much more information you expected or wanted which might create problems and chaos in your life all over again."

Even if your breakup wasn't messy, and you walked away from one another on a somewhat amicable note (like in my case), it's probably not such a good idea to pry into your past paramour's present life.

Another gentle reminder from Psychology Today that some Facebook connections are best put to pasture: "Breakups are supposed to be the end of a relationship. Whether the end came via a fight or a fizzle, after a relationship used to end, it required some significant effort to contact an ex or figure out what was going on in his or her life. Now, social networking sites like Facebook can keep you digitally connected to exes, whether or not it's good for you."

As my other friend (well, at this point, I must admit he's much more than a friend) put it, "Be prepared to let go; he may not want you in his life anymore and that's OK." And I know he's right.

So good riddance, old (on- and off-line) friends and flames. Click Decline. Hello, new ones. Click Accept.