The Facebook Relationship
Written by Renee Taft
My best friend and her boyfriend were literally all over my Facebook newsfeed when they started dating. It started out cute, but slowly turned to nauseating as endless albums of Photobooth pictures, mushy Facebook posts, and vomit-inducing Facebook statuses for every week’s anniversary began to make my feed look like some corny Valentine’s Day movie. Eventually, as these posts dwindled, so did the strength of their relationship.
There are many couples who find it important to share their love for each other on Facebook. I’m not one of them, but I do try to understand where they’re coming from. An interesting infographic by the Online Dating University talks about the positive and negative effects of social media and its impact on individual self-esteem . Personally, I think it’s just a changing paradigm in how love is expressed in the world of today, that we just have to learn to live with. Isn’t it strange? But I find it a natural transition, as everything we do is clearly moving online.
Back to the point, however, I’ve had friends in relationships who have come to tears because their significant others don’t want to make their relationship “Facebook official”. People who have asked questions like, “Why don’t you like my posts about us on Instagram?” Fights over who had more friends on their friend list. Now I know you think matters like these are things that teenagers would argue about, but you’re wrong! These are ostensibly sensible, mature adults like myself, who are coming to blows over something so insignificant.
Yes, I did change my relationship status on Facebook when I my boyfriend got serious. But it wasn’t for a public show, or the many likes and congratulations that I could ingratiate myself with later. I just wanted to clarify that things were getting pretty serious with this guy, and perhaps also give myself a shield from the unwanted male attention I was getting otherwise. Would it have changed anything if he didn’t want to make it official? Probably not.
As for online interaction, of course it gives me a little rush of happiness to see that my significant other has commented on a picture of mine. That’s just natural. What’s not natural is forcing someone who may not be as active on social media, or may just not have anything to say at that moment, or is uncomfortable expressing their feelings on such a public forum, to comment, like, and proclaim their love for you every minute, as my friend was demanding.
For people who are especially active on social media, as my friend is, it was hard to explain to her that her boyfriend just didn’t share the level of commitment towards Facebook that she did. I tried to console her with the argument that a social media page is an expression of who she was, not who she’d like yourself to appear to others as.
It may seem important to you that your partner show their love for you online, but to me, it matters more that the person I’m with is a good person to me offline. Do I really need a social media savvy partner with whom I can spam other people’s feeds? I’d rather share true happiness whenever I feel like, rather than some show for the benefit of the people on my friend list.
To my best friend who may find it upsetting that her boyfriend is not a serial poster, I try to put it to her thus- Is it worth putting a happy relationship out there for the world to see, at the cost of the actual happiness of your relationship? I don’t think so, but then again, that’s just me. Like if you agree 😉