If Facebook and I were to have a relationship status, things would be listed as ‘complicated.’
Facebook is great for connecting with family and friends around the world. It’s lovely having all of those photos and memories located in a spot we can all reach. It’s also a great way to allow the darkest shadows of your humanity to reign free as you passively judge the lives of people who took paths different from your own (oh come on, you do it too, maybe even to me).
But Facebook is also this well-curated version of someone else’s life, where they show you glimpses of their best selves – at their happiest, their tannest, their thinnest, their most fertile. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to start comparing your life and your problems with the seemingly perfect life being lived by that girl who was in your 10th grade Brit Lit class (is she so waif-like because she liked the Bronte sisters more than I did?).
Facebook can add pressure to life goals, career accomplishment, friendships and, yes, romantic relationships. Which is one of the many reasons I don’t play Facebook’s relationship status game. Sure, I add photos and status updates that reference my boyfriend of two years, but answering Facebook’s nagging question about what we’re doing is a line too far.
The editors of a recent post from Mashable would be shocked at my revelation (shocked, shocked, I tell you!). When asking people when they change their relationship status on Facebook, “never” or “not until domestic partnership/engagement” weren’t even options (see below). I’ll spare you my thoughts on other aspects of the survey (I’m sorry, but if you’re changing your relationship status after one date, then you care far too much about what those mean girls in high school think of your romantic prospects than anyone ever should), but the idea that updating that status is a ‘must’ just doesn’t sit right with me.
Once upon a time I dated someone other than my current boyfriend. And we liked each other a whole lot. So much so that we decided it was something we wanted to declare on Facebook. Relationship status: updated. Friends wrote sweet messages and it was a happy and joyous time.
And then, after a certain number of months, we broke up.
It’s not an uncommon thing, breaking up. In fact, it happens to most relationships. You are either going to be together so long that you watch each other die or you’re going to break up.
When we did break up and I unlinked us on Facebook, my ex felt as if I’d broken up with him all over again. Just as the ‘congratulations’ messages poured in when first we updated, so did the bereavement notes when we finally ended it. It was a miserable time for my ex, and consequently for me as well. And much of that added mess could have been avoided if we’d just kept a little bit of our private lives more private.
more like this:
- “When Are You Gonna Put a Ring On It?” A Rant Against Engagement Nagging
- Watch: 28 Actors Who Aren’t Sure If They’re On a Date Or Not
- Engagement = Purgatory, and Other Happy Thoughts From a Recently Engaged Guy
top image via veer; survey image via mashable