Ask Dirk: A digital minefield
A guy’s perspective on matters of the heart and home.
I’ve been wanting to ask someone about the following problem. Until now, the perfect stranger, with absolutely no connection to my life, wasn’t around to approach, until I read your column. Here it goes: I’m happily married with two kids and things are for the most part great at home. We have our ups and downs sure, but who doesn’t? Recently, an old “friend” from college has been liking and commenting on just about everything on my Facebook page. All of a sudden she’s texting me to see how things are going and making small talk out of the blue. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. The comments have now escalated to a blunt and obvious she’s-hitting-on-me kind of thing. I’ve never been cool enough to turn down a girl. What advice can you give me that will keep me on this self-confidence high but at the same time keep my marriage intact?
Dude, we’ve all been there at one point or another. By we all, I mean insecure men. All men are insecure by nature, which is why it’s so important to have a supportive and encouraging better half. There’s always temptation to seek outside validation from one source or another, be it social media, late night telephone calls with someone you knew way back when, or just thumbing through old pictures from high school and college and imagining what might have been if not for [insert life changing event].
The secret is this: just ask yourself how pathetic this woman must be if she’s flirting with you, of all people. I’m kidding––a little. Luckily I was able to discuss this scenario with my wife early on in our relationship and she agrees with me on one thing: Exes don’t make friends. I know we live in a strange age where co-parenting and inviting your ex-husband to your next wedding are actually considered au courant, but hanging with your ex under the guise of friendliness shouldn’t be.
I’m a firm believer that love and attraction never fully disappear and that if you broke up with someone, it’s best to erase them out of your life––completely. Let me make this clear, don’t communicate with your ex. Remove her from your social media accounts and block her from seeing your status updates. To put it plainly, slough her off like a constricting layer of dead skin and pay attention to your family. Your strength comes from being a dad and a husband, not from some disrespectful tart who likes your new profile pic and doesn’t realize you were holding in a fart and tucking in your second chin when the shutter snapped.
Navigating the digital world of relationships and dating is tricky. With social networking sites offering an added venue for connecting––and reconnecting––dating in the digital age is filled with potential landmines. Here are some of the stats from the Pew Research Center.
- Six out of every 10 Americans use social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook or Twitter, and these sites are often intertwined with the way they experience their past and present romantic relationships.
- One third (31 percent) of all SNS users have gone on these sites to check up on someone they used to date or be in a relationship with.
- 17 percent have posted pictures or other details from a date on a social networking site.
- 27 percent of SNS users have unfriended someone who was flirting with them in an uncomfortable way.
- 66 percent of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or app, and 23 percent of online daters say they have met a spouse or long-term relationship through these sites.
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