Monday, June 14, 2010

Relationship Status: It's Complicated

Dating is pretty straightforward for most. All of the dressing and primping, meeting and dating, friending and unfriending, and setting up and deleting profiles is all in pursuit of one goal. Meeting the love of your life? Finding your soulmate? Living happily ever after? That's sooo 20th century.

The new final frontier of dating: To change your facebook relationship status to "in a relationship." (I really need a sarcasm font.)

Chances are (hopefully) when you met and started dating, both of you either showed your relationship status as "single" or it was hidden altogether. At what point do you change that to "in a relationship?" How will you know? Should you ask? Do you do that linky-thing where your names appear on eachother's profile (John is in a relationship with Mary)?

I looked for a rulebook on this sort of thing. There doesn't seem to be one, but I did find a bunch of horror stories. The main attraction? Someone changes their status to "in a relationship" before the other person is ready. Seems this has caused a lot of fights and/or breakups.

Is the facebook status just the 21st century, passive-aggressive way of telling your significant other that you are ready to be exclusive? Is it a deal-breaker? Does it even matter at all? Based on what I read and heard from my friends, it does to some people. [Incidentally, many of the people to whom this matters are guys. Just sayin'.]

I spent a lot of time talking to a friend recently, who felt that if the relationship isn't announced on facebook (or elsewhere), it isn't really a relationship. But how fair is that? There's no place on facebook to announce who your best friends are. Does that mean that your friendship isn't real?

My friend felt that if someone resists putting it out there on facebook, that suggests they are either hiding something, not committed or embarrassed. Admittedly, none of those are very desirable - but are they really the only possibilities? Couldn't someone simply be private and not looking to give their family and friends a reason to ask a bunch of personal questions? Some people truly don't like the attention.

But everyone needs validation and reassurance sometimes. So, if you're not getting it from the facebook announcement - then where?

My friend had an answer for this, too. Check, recheck and then check again. Leave no i undotted or t uncrossed. No gray areas.

But that also seems a little severe. Again - do you call your bestfriend regularly for a pulse check. "Hey, just thought I'd check and make sure we're still besties." No. [Unless you do. Then, go you!!] But for those of us who don't do that, is our friendship any less valid? At some point, don't you have to step aside and let any relationship just find its own way?

I guess it all comes down to confidence. You have to be sure of yourself, the other person and what you both want. You can get the reassurance you need in whatever way works for you; through talking, through actions; or, I suppose, through your facebook wall.

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