So I decided not to initiate contact. After about a week went by, I assumed she had seen me in her "PYMK" box and made the same decision. Not so. Another week later, I got a friend request from her: a short, friendly note ending with "It's been a looooong time . . . "
That was at the end of September. It has now also been "a looooong time" since her friend request, and I still haven't clicked "Confirm" — or "Ignore."
But this dallying has only made matters worse. Every time someone sends me a friend request, I have to face Anne, lined up first in the "Friend Request" queue. And all the well-meaning friends I already have on Facebook deluge me with kajillions of pokes, thrown sheep, drinks, and other application requests — never knowing that every time they do, I have to face Anne then, too.
(Almost) every time I see Anne's request, the debate begins again. If I click "Confirm," then she'll be able to see photos, videos, notes from other friends, all kinds of stuff that I'm not sure I want to share with someone who's not, technically, a "friend."
On the other hand, if I ignore her request, then I'm putting up the Berlin Wall, severing completely a chunk of my past that, while hanging on only by the barest tendril, was still somehow a connection.
Then again, by virtue of the fact that I've taken this long to make any decision at all, Anne probably thinks I've long since clicked "Ignore," and has written me off. The terrible irony is that, as a result of Facebook, I've thought about her more — and more often — in these past few months than I had in the last decade.
One last wrinkle: if you're wondering whether my wife knows about all of this, the answer is yes. She actually brought up the bizarre topic of what do to about old loves in new media because she was wondering if an ex-boyfriend was ever going to show up online. To date, she hasn't had the pleasure.