In my eight and a half years with a profile, I’ve been in two major Facebook relationships. Well, I suppose three, if you count the time I made my room-mate be in a complicated relationship with me as a beard while I dated a very bipolar pot dealer during senior year of college.
These days, most of the little notifications with heart icons attached are mostly alerting me to an engagement or marriage, not new relationships. Are people still shouting their new relationships from the rooftops online? As you get older, does it really matter if your relationships is Facebook official?
Like I said earlier, I’ve been in two major Facebook relationships, but actually I’ve had three long-term adult relationships. The one I am in now is not FB Offish, and I’m glad.
My first Facebook relationship was with my college boyfriend. We were infatuated with each other, in only the way you can be when you’re nineteen. Once I got the highly anticipated, “Will you be my girlfriend?” question, I wanted everyone to know we were together. Facebook was in its infancy, so the novelty of online representation was high. It lasted for two years, and when I broke up with him, all it took was a click and it was done. This was done in the days before the highly sensitive news feed, so chances of everyone I knew seeing it was slim.
The second relationship was post-college, and was still just as derpy and juvenile at its onset as my previous romance. Although I was hesitant to commitment (as always), I remember being so excited to share my new love with the world. We were together for three years, and lived with each other for two and a half. When it ended, in addition to breaking down the home we shared, we broke down our profiles. Things just get trickier as you get older.
Our break-up was only a couple years ago, which means every move made showed up in the feeds of hundreds of friends. Dealing with a break-up is bad enough without random people giving you advice on how to heal, and offering up disingenuous condolences.
So, after we had moved him out of what is now my apartment, there was only one thing left. We did what any two sad people trying to undo their lives together would do. We ceremoniously orchestrated our online break-up, making it Facebook Official that we were done.
However, unlike the showiness we exhibited with our initial union, we both wanted to undo our online relationship status as quietly as possible. I don’t think I will ever forget he and I sitting on my couch with both of our laptops open and logged in. We counted to three, removed our relationship status, and then quickly did re-con to delete the news from appearing in the news feed.
“I get to put single, and you have to put nothing,” he said, half joking.
“Why??” I asked.
“Because you broke up with me!” he said indignant.
Two years later, and my profile remains the same despite moving on with someone new. There’s no concrete evidence that I am in a relationship, aside from multiple photos of me with the same dude. Honestly, even though I am suspect #1 when it comes to social media over-sharing, this is one of area of my life that I tend to keep more private (except writing about it here of course). I don’t really feel the need to let the world know what’s happening in my relationship at all times, or even to express how truly happy I am with this person.
I’m not the only one. A few months after becoming IRL official, I chided my boyfriend that his profile still said “single.” He rarely pays much attention to Facebook in general, so he hadn’t thought about it. Without a second thought and the click of a mouse, he changed his status to “In A Relationship.” I hadn’t expected this. I thought it he would just remove a status all together. Was I supposed to reciprocate?
I asked him about being linked on Facebook as in a relationship, and he said that when he was younger he wanted to sing it loud, but now that he’s older it’s more comfortable to be less showy. I agree; clearly I was the same way as floppy early twenty-something. It makes sense when you’re younger and going through these experiences for the first time to express it to the intense level that you’re feeling, to be hyper-aware of how you’re perceived. At that age, you’re still trying to figure out how you want people to see you in general. As you grow up and become more secure in yourself, the less you need to prove.
So that’s how our online relationship stands to the Facebook world today. He is in a relationship with an unidentified person, and I plead the fifth, yet I have never been more confident in a partnership.
Heather is a contributing editor at the-dah. She is a Los Angeles based writer, improviser, snacker, social media mistress, and aspiring adult. Read more of her food-stained stories about growing up weird at Terrible-Twenties.com, or follow her digital alter ego @MissHezah on Twitter.
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