I got a call from a friend of mine, asking me for advice. My friend is a divorced dad, and his ex-wife is in a relationship with a guy who also has kids. So the other day, my friend went on LinkedIn to check him out. He has never met the guy, who is now spending a lot of time with his children (which includes a recent vacation they went on with him) and he was curious. Interested. He wanted information. I can’t say I blame him. Apparently, his ex-wife doesn’t speak to him, and won’t share any anything about her new boyfriend—not even what he does for a living. So, would you call this LinkedIn Stalking?
LinkedIn is the only social media platform (I think) that actually shows you who is looking at your profile. So the new boyfriend sees that his girlfriend’s ex-husband has looked at his profile. He sends my friend a message that reads something like, “Stop looking at my profile. You’re messing with the wrong guy.”
Obviously, the guy is calling the behavior LinkedIn Stalking, but here’s why I disagree. First, whenever you put something on any social media platform, including LinkedIn, you are agreeing that it is public, meaning you shouldn’t care who looks at it. So, what’s the big deal? By the way, there is a blocking feature on LinkedIn, so the guy could block his girlfriend’s ex.
Secondly, why is he assuming the guy is “messing” with him? My friend didn’t send him a message or anything. He simply looked at his LinkedIn profile. He might have wanted to see his photo. He might have been interested to see what this guy did for a living, especially if he suspects his ex-wife might marry this guy someday. And lastly, why does this guy have such animosity toward my friend? I’ll tell you why.
I’m going to guess that it’s because he has been hearing from his new girlfriend about how awful and horrible and mean and crazy my friend is. For months, he has been listening to stories from her about all the bad things and the bad behavior she had/has to put up with.
I’m not saying these things are true about my friend. I don’t think they are. Then again, I’m only hearing his side, so there could be things I don’t know that she is justified in saying. But my point is, this guy (or anyone dating someone who is divorced) is only hearing one side of the story, so it makes it very easy to have animosity towards the person, hence the comment, “don’t mess with me.”
A person could even tell their new love things about their ex that aren’t true, and the person would have no way of knowing that, and would of course believe them. It’s kind of like being a juror and only getting to hear one side of the case get up on the stand and give testimony. If that was the case, everyone would be convicted (or acquitted) depending on the side they heard.
I don’t believe my friend is LinkedIn stalking. He has tried to talk to his ex about the new boyfriend, but since she refuses to speak with him about anything, she won’t tell him any details about the man who is spending a ton of time with their kids. What’s so sad is that my friend has to sort of just trust that his kids are going to be OK with this new guy. And that seems really unfair to me.
Like any parent, I’m sure he worries about who his kids are spending a significant amount of time with. And, his ex is so filled with hatred that she can’t see beyond her venom, and just let the two meet. It’s as if she’s trying to hurt him by keeping everything a secret and hoping he will worry.
Now, as I write this, I am aware that I am doing exactly what I am saying saddens me: I am automatically really pissed at my friend’s ex, when I have only heard his side and have never met her. So, I guess I can understand the rationale behind an ex’s new spouse being less than warm and fuzzy to the ex’s old spouse.
The thing is, I am never going to go get my nails done with my ex’s new wife, and my friend is never going to play golf and have a few drinks afterward with his ex’s new boyfriend.
But who made the almost universal decision that when you date or marry a divorced person with kids, you have to be in Camp A and never be in Camp B, not even for anything?
Kudos to the new girlfriends and boyfriends of someone who is divorced, who keep some objectivity when it comes to the person’s ex, and use their head more—being realistic about what is really going on instead of taking advantage of the convenience of hating the evil ex and burying the truth in their quest to perhaps ease tension in the new relationship or sadly, to feel like they are strengthening the current relationship by making the ex the devil.
The wisest people are in Camp C, which stands for the camp of the children.
For my friend to have to resort to social media (LinkedIn stalking in some people’s opinion) to grasp for information about the man who is spending time with his children is plain disgusting to me. It sickens me. Not just what the new boyfriend did, but because of his ex’s attitude.
How long does a person hold the resentment and keep hating the person they feel wronged them in marriage? It is these types of people, that even though they are in a new relationship, they have obviously not moved on.
Like this blog post? Check out my post, “Don’t Rule Out LinkedIn As a Way To Meet Single People.”