An xoJane.com author wrote about why she won’t be Facebook friends with her significant other, blowing the raspberry at research that indicates that couples that both “friend” and interact with each other on social networking sites are more committed and tend to stay together.
I’m not big on the interaction bit (because I’m lazy). But most commenters, including myself, thought that not “friending” your significant other or spouse on Facebook and changing your relationship status is shady The arguments for pretending to be unattached not interacting on social media with one’s other were thin:
“I don’t want my crazy ex stalking my profile and contacting my new squeeze.
Why can your “crazy ex” see your Facebook profile anyway? Aren’t there privacy settings for that? Most importantly, just how badly did you crap all over your ex?
“I don’t want my family to know I have someone in my life.”
Then they probably haven’t met your partner in real life either. Big. Red. Flag, oh, non-friended couple.
“It’s nobody’s business if I’m in a relationship/married!”
Not even your circle of closest friends? The bestie you called right after you lost your virginity? Who you’re friends with on Facebook—?
“I’m seeing someone, but we don’t know if it’ll turn into anything anything serious yet.”
Okay. I’ll buy that.
I suppose it amazes me that people will share their inner thoughts and ideas, achievements, Rumi quotes, and food photos with their family, BFFs, work colleagues, and hair stylist before they’ll acknowledge there’s someone special in their life. Couples don’t have to blast every minute detail of their relationship on Facebook. But to not acknowledge a relationship at all, to my mind, is lazy at the least and disrespectful at the most. If someone does this (and I know it), I’ll get the distinct impression this person already knows it’s going down in flames.
My thinking is borne out of Ocham’s razor common sense “it is what it is”: the be-coupled person on Facebook who doesn’t befriend their partner or change their relationship status is hiding that person and that relationship. Perhaps one of them is secretly ashamed of the other, thinks they can do “better” in the eyes of their friends and family social network. Fuck those people. Really, fuck them.
Perhaps one (or both) is married or divorcing. I bumped up against that. I stayed married for the same reasons most couples that can’t tolerate each other do—tax breaks, health insurance, and to give everyone an illusion of hope. However, because I hadn’t seen my estranged in six years, I got involved with others. Few people would be honest about their relationship status under those circumstances. I was, but I’m me.
Then there’s Ocham for you. True story: a compelling gentleman once contacted me on Facebook, out of the blue, and asked me out. I saw no relationship status on his profile. I had a funny feeling about this guy, so I searched through miles of pictures of tacos and beer until I noticed that one of his buddies had mentioned the man’s wife in a comment. God bless Westlaw: wannabe suitor was married. Not estranged married. Living-under-the-same-roof married.
Really, now. If you want to keep it no one’s business ever! (but especially people you want to assume you’re available), you can’t get sloppy.
I think that all most of us agree that couples sharing a Facebook profile or personal email account—especially an email account; yikes!—smacks of trust issues. Does one flip out when the other gets work-related accounts? There are exceptions, sure. If my dad were living, he and my mother would have had joint accounts. That’s because they’re elderly and, therefore, technology challenged. It would have taken both of them to figure it out.
For everyone else, that you’re in a relationship should be celebrated. Social networking is like a cozy, virtual dinner party where everyone’s on a first-name basis. Certainly you’d take your significant other along, wouldn’t you?
By the way, there’s still a place in social networking land for attached and married people to (ambiguously) hold themselves out as single and available with total impunity.
It’s called LinkedIn.