When Facebook flirting becomes a Facebook affair.

Facebook has made it way too easy to track down old flames. If they aren’t on Facebook they’ll be on Instagram. If not on Instagram they’ll be on Twitter. If not on Twitter, try LinkedIn.

Not that I’ve ever done that before.

Okay, I’ve tracked down a couple of exes – one on Facebook and one on LinkedIn – but I didn’t do anything. Well, I did send one a private message saying “hi” and a few other things which he left open and when his wife saw it she wasn’t happy about it. I think I said, “Happy Birthday” to him. Apparently it wasn’t what I said but the fact I sent it privately.

I’ve since learned that when it comes to Facebook there’s a fine line between Facebook friendships, Facebook flirting and Facebook affairs, especially if you define “affairs” as both physical and emotional.

"For so many women, affairs begin as emotional affairs and Facebook makes it so much easier to have one." Image: iStock

For so many women, affairs begin as emotional affairs and Facebook makes it so much easier to have one. There's something intimate about sharing private thoughts with someone you are attracted to or have a history with and before you know it, your Facebook interactions have crossed a line and you need to figure out how to pull back, or if you even want to.

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It helps to keep a few things in mind before you even initiate any contact with someone like that.

Firstly there's the question of whether or not to "friend" your ex on Facebook. If you do, should you tell your partner about it? Even if they are okay with it, is it a good idea?

What are you hoping to gain by having them on your list of friends on Facebook?

Will you be communicating with them directly or will they be just one of the many Facebook friends you come across when their stories appear on your news feed or they "like" one of your photos?

 

What is the biggest lie you have told your partner? Article continues after this video.

Some consider the act of "friending" an ex on Facebook as cheating, if not cheating, at betrayal or disrespectful to your current partner.

If "friending" is okay, then how about writing on each other's walls? Frequency comes into play, as do the topics you are choosing to comment on and how often you "like" their posts.

Then there's the Private Messanger function which is when Facebook flirting can go a step to far and become a Facebook relationship, as I learned the hard way. Sharing private messages with each other involves intimacy. It's something nobody else can see except you and the person you are communicating with.

If you're not looking to start anything or if you're not comfortable with the idea of their partner or yours reading the exchange, don't do it.

You may come across someone you don't have a history with but like the look of on Facebook and you need to check yourself. You know how quickly Facebook flirtation can lead to something inappropriate.

Affairs aren't accidents. Affairs are decisions.

Don't do it girlfriend. Image: Unfaithful, 20th Century Fox

All affairs begin with you standing at a crossroad - in this instance a social media crossroad in the form of your cursor hovering over their name and your fingers beginning to type out their name under search functions - and the path you choose take is up to you.

You can also put a stop to any inappropriate interaction at any time. Remember you control social media. Social media doesn't control you.

Also Facebook is NOT Ashley Madison. Even Ashley Madison is no longer considered a safe way to cheat, thanks the mass-release of customer data by annoying, self-righteous hackers. If they can access Ashley Madison's server, then they are probably all over Facebook.

Are you ready for your partner to go over all of your Facebook activity? If so then you're doing well.

If not, you might want to have a think about what you're getting up to on Facebook, why you feel the urge to do it and how you can try and resolve it before anyone gets hurt.

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