The horrible downside of Facebook has already happened. What if your offer of friendship is turned down? It seems to have happened to me, once by my daughter and once by a former friend and colleague. Facebook has brought back a very complicated part of my life when my personal and professional lives were one. My divorce wrecked that delicate balance as work friends and colleagues struggled to decide whose side they were on or if they should choose sides. I conveniently solved that dilemma by moving to another country. One by one they all dropped me. I learned some lessons about situational friendships.
And that is what happens in life sometimes. You move on. Then you join Facebook and all the past comes swimming back into focus. And all my paranoid fantasies come to life again. Has this person not responded because he/she doesn't want to rock the boat with my ex-husband? I haven't been in touch with some of these people for a good 15-17 years. I'm curious about them. Aren't they curious about me? But when I see the (scary) cartoon character that represents my ex-husband on their list of friends, I wonder. My relationship with them pretty much ended when I moved, but they continued to work with him for I don't know how long. Did they go to his wedding (for he apparently has remarried and has a child)? How close did they remain to him? And, of course, in the background, the worrying thought: what did he tell them about me? We did not end on good terms; he accused me of spreading a rumor about him that, frankly, I don't remember doing. He wrote me a nasty letter, and that was our last communication. Time has stood still in what I think of him, which is a rat-bastard.
Maybe this isn't an ex-husband problem, but a Facebook phenomenon. You rush to find out about someone you haven't seen in 20 years, then you rest because now you know.
Sometimes people are in our past because that's where they belong. Sometimes people are in our past because we were too busy or lazy to maintain the relationship. Facebook allows us to renew those relationships if we so desire, but there can be a downside to letting people back into your life, particularly if they're the wrong people.