…Literally. I am deleted from someone’s friends list because apparently his wife was jealous at me. I also found another friend has deleted his own cheeky comments and his tag in several pictures because his wife has just joined facebook and might see our pictures grinning at Dragonfly and wouldn’t be happy about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I would be deleted from his list too. [updated Friday 27 March 2009: I have just found out another friend has vanished completely from facebook; I only realised this when I was about to tag him on several old pictures and couldn't find his name on the list. Mr.mck also didn't find this guy on his list. We have no idea when and why].
Facebook has been spreading in Indonesia just now. When I joined this social network website a couple of years a go, just after friendster was overloaded with spammers, I had only a handful of friends. Recently I have found long lost cousins and relatives I never even knew and from them I learn about our family tree, especially from my father’s side. About three months a go my friends from school also started to appear, practically one by one, from college to primary school. I have had fun reconnecting with them and getting excited about how they look like after 15-20 years and where they live now. The number of friends, which started from 30 two years a go, is close to 500 now. As usual, I tend to keep my friends list as real as possible. All my friends in facebook are real friends, school friends, ex-colleagues, clients, vendors, and blogbuddies (and even now half of my blogbuddies have turned into real friends). A handful of them would be good friends of my friends’ whom I have met in several social occasions. It’s not unusual for me to have a friend whose spouse, brothers and sisters, even in-laws, in my list too. If their kids are in facebook I probably will have them as friends as well (one actually does have two kids and both are in my friends list!).
The first generation has much bigger impact on me. Since I have almost 500 friends, I couldn’t possibly be close to every single friend’s spouse. And in some cases, some friends don’t feel comfortable about their friendships with me in facebook anymore, once they know their wives are also there. Although our pictures are just normal, taken in restaurants or clubs, and always in groups, they seem to be powerful enough to cause a row in the house. And although, and this is the confusing part, I know their wives and they know me. I am not just some strange girl these ladies never met. They have seen me greeting and talking to them and treating them with respect. Plus I am married. Not to mention that I live 12 thousands kilometer away from Indonesia and only get to see their precious husbands once a year. I am certainly not a threat. If they want to be jealous at someone, I guess the secretary in their husbands’ offices should be top priority, but not me.
I couldn’t understand the logic, and I told mr.mcK about the whole thing and asked what he thought. His answer is simple, that girls don’t like to see their partners have female friends.
Well, that’s a brand new concept for me. I never thought it should be an issue. But having said that, my best friend in high school used to phone me every few days when I was still living in Jakarta, until his wife found out about it and forced him to stop doing it, even though she knows me well, always welcomes me whenever I visit them once in few years, and lets her husband taking me around the city. To her, once a few years is ok, but everyday conversation by phone (as they live outside Java) is a no.
I think the reason their wives get jealous is pretty simple: they don’t know what their husbands are up to. Their husbands are somewhere in Jakarta jungle, supposedly working hard to provide for the family, then come home late looking tired, and the next day they see the husbands’ pictures at some girl’s facebook, dining, dancing, and wining. I think they wouldn’t mind if the husbands ring them up and say they’ll be meeting some old friends at this place, but nobody likes surprises. Some of the husbands also like to avoid the confrontation by not telling at all about their wehereabouts or their friends and business, so the wives never know that I exist, the only thing they see is a captured moment with a stranger lady smiling looking happy next to their husbands, not knowing that I might be their husbands’ client/vendor/primary school friend/second cousin/half-sister. They also probably do not share what’s on their mind, and knowing that their husbands can talk excitedly and endlessly with someone else perhaps is unbearable as it indicates the other person knows about their husbands a wee bit more rather than their own spouses.
Rather than keep meeting him behind his wife’s back and feeling guilty for something that is not a sin, I ask my friend who deletes me from his facebook to arrange a dinner together next year when we are back in Indonesia, four of us: he and his wife, me and mr.mck. Bring along the kids if we have to. I want to show her that I never have any intention to diminish her existence, that I respect her being the spouse of my friend’s – whom I have known for almost a decade. That my friendship with her husband is genuine because we went to the same school, work in the same industry, and know the same clients and vendors, so we have a lot of things in common. We gossip about people we know, we bitch about work and pay cheques, and we discuss about strategy to overcome each other’s problems at the office. She could also see that mr.mck is not a virtual or fantasy husband, that we are in fact happily married and live thousand miles away from them. I am not a threat. Basically what I want to tell her is to stop worrying about her husband who is very faithful and adores her and the children. That it is ok to for her husband to have female friends!
Maybe, if this works, I’d be his friend again in facebook. We’ll see what’s going to happen next year.
Note: image on the teaser is taken from The Huffington Post.