My latest random message on MySpace was entitled “Two Questions” and the body contained the following:
1) do you like married men?
2) are you available?
Yes, I am in the Macon area.
Hmm. Sounds like a real winner. Sure, this guy is clearly doing the wrong thing. I, of course, will not respond.
I think MySpace is super cheesy (especially all the MySpace editing), but as a result of MySpace, I’m having lunch with one of my best friends from high school this weekend; I haven’t seen or talked to her in over five years and she lives in Utah. That’s fun.
Initially when I joined MySpace, I just assumed it was something used by single people under 30. In fact, I felt a bit ridiculous joining it and Facebook. But as I’ve played around on MySpace, I’ve come to find that there are lots of married people who participate. And some are obviously looking to cheat on their spouses. What interests me is the blurry area. For example, is it wrong for a married man to send messages to a woman he doesn’t know and will never meet?
I recently faced a moral dilemma myself. Although I ultimately handled it in what I think was the right way, I’m not sure that initially I did so. Here is a brief summary of events: I dated a guy (we’ll call him Brian) for about four and half years when I was in high school and college. We haven’t seen each other since around January of 1998, and the last time we talked was about six years ago.
Fast forward to the present: Brian googled me, finding my work e-mail address. I was very excited to hear from him and wrote him back. He is happily married and is now a father! I have loved hearing about how successful he is and how things have really come together for him. I also wanted to share with him the ways my life has changed—especially why my life has changed since he and I were both agnostic when we dated.
While I immediately shared this correspondence with Donatello and even forwarded several of the e-mails to him, I wondered if Brian did the same with his wife. Was it my place to ask him? I deliberated about this a lot as I didn’t think it was right for him to e-mail me if his wife did not know about it. But was it right for me to be the moral police for his marriage? Should I even assume that he would fail to mention our correspondence to his wife? Plus I knew that my intentions were nothing more than to catch up, and selfishly I wanted to be able to do that. So I put it out of my mind briefly until Brian actually brought it up in his last e-mail. Brian just wanted me to know that he did not have any agenda in contacting me and that he had no regrets over where life had taken him. He affirmed that a friendship was his only interest, but that his wife did not know about our e-mailing and that he would probably keep it that way for now as she would not understand. Funny but in the next sentence he wrote “Please don’t think I’m the type of husband that hides things from his wife because I’m not!”
Although I didn’t want to do so, I wrote Brian back and explained that his marriage was more important and to be cherished more than any friendship he and I had or might develop. I explained that I wasn’t friends with married men whose wives were unaware of our friendship. I also plugged an awesome church near where they live….It was, however, tempting to cling to the idea that I was not (technically) doing anything wrong since I wasn’t married, and my intentions were “pure.” But I’m a big fan of the Golden Rule, and I was reminded of the verse that instructs us not to cause others to stumble.
Anyway, my point is that the Internet makes it so much easier to cross blurry lines….IMing people who you would never pick up the phone and call, e-mailing people you don’t really know, and getting in touch with people with whom you shouldn’t (at least without your spouse’s express permission and knowledge). As a person who has lots of friends of the opposite sex, I’m not sure what exact parameters a married couple should have (I’m sure it’s not easy), but it’s safe to say that if you would not be comfortable bccing your spouse on your correspondence, it’s probably not OK. Any thoughts?