THE BLOG

On Social Networks and Unflagging Ex-Lovers

21/01/2014 15:11 GMT | Updated 23/03/2014 09:59 GMT

A close friend of mine has experienced problems in her relationship recently. The issues were not so much within the relationship itself, but had more to do with the fact that a girl (let's call her Anya), that her boyfriend used to see, kept sending selfies to him which she discovered. Several little similar things on Facebook, Whatsapp and Snapchat kept happening to the point where my friend wondered why -as Anya knew he was now in a relationship- was she doing this? She thought of confronting her. My friend even started wondering if there was perhaps anything between them still? Her boyfriend kept saying there wasn't, that he also found it odd and that he didn't want anyone else. Friends around them said he's not the type to have an affair at all.

When my friend asked me for advice I agreed with her that it was annoying and that it was a shame that it affected the relationship negatively, but I told her there wasn't much she could do other than trust him and try to forget about Anya's behaviour that was at times really upsetting her, in order to maintain a good relationship with her boyfriend (whom she actually didn't think would be double-dealing).

However, as time passed and I was thinking about my friend's predicament, I realised it was more of an issue for "Anya" than my friend's problem. Clearly that girl needed to send edited photos of her own face to an ex-lover in order to get some validation, even though she herself was in a long distance relationship. To keep contacting previous lovers in an inappropriate way is not something that will give you the self esteem you need- and the more you do it, the less respect you will probably generate from your ex-lover, his girlfriend and the people around you. As it happens, I've also heard this particular girl does that a lot, which I also told my friend. What is needed is not vilification, but trying to understand and not playing in to or reacting to it, almost the way you oversee the behaviour of a small child.

Sometimes everyday experiences, even seemingly trivial things like social networking, can be used for spiritual growth. Instead of going with your first reaction (to get upset and angry), taking a few deep breaths and seeing the larger picture can turn around a situation that feels otherwise "stuck". It's not easy, but taking a different perspective is something that could change annoyance into empathy. Like Rumi said: "Have faith in justice and let the rest be."