Should You "Like"
Your Love?

Facebook is omnipresent in our lives, including (or especially) when it comes to relationships. Perfect. Relationships aren't tricky enough, now we have to learn how to navigate/interpret/tolerate the public social interactions of the people we date? As much fun as people think Facebook is, most agree it can be more harmful than helpful when it comes to new relationships. In order to share the rules of the Facebook relationship status, we went straight to the source and asked folks on Facebook what they think. Here is what we learned.

Woman thinking on laptop

Don't abuse the relationship status

According to Vince, who is in his 20s and in a relationship, women take being publicly declared as "in a relationship" as one step down from marriage. This makes sense. When you start dating someone, you tell a few close friends. You don't broadcast it to every acquaintance you have, just in case things blow up in your face. That's a lot of explaining to do! You typically only tell everyone you know after you are engaged. At least that was the barometer for the seriousness of a relationship before Facebook. When you tell everyone in your social network that you are in a relationship, it makes sense that this would be interpreted as serious. Justin, in college and in his late 20s, takes a different angle on being careful about the "in a relationship" status. He maintains that it should only be used "in dire circumstances" -- the ones that equate to "an engine being out and a loss of cabin pressure." In other words, Justin warns, changing your status to "in a relationship" can be used to fix a lot of relationship issues, but this can only be done once. So time this maneuver wisely and proceed cautiously.

Is it really anyone's business

Marissa, single mom of two, says no. She feels it is just one more way for people to get all up in your business and she says it jinxes the relationship. She's not alone. Jennifer, a single mom in her early 40s, agrees: "The minute you post your relationship status is the minute it starts to fail." The tattoo theory (the one that states if you tattoo your honey's name on your person, you will break up shortly afterward) seems to apply to Facebook relationship statuses as well. You've been warned.

Inform the other person first

Save yourself some embarrassment and discuss with your significant other your desire to share with the world that you two are in a relationship. They may not be ready for such a public display of your affection. Remember that some people (okay, guys) are more reserved and private than others. The same holds true for breaking up with someone. Karen, who classifies herself as "old and married," shared a story about a friend who found out her engagement was off through Facebook. Talk about the coward's way out! That hurts the person who got so publicly dumped, but it also casts the "dumper" in a very poor light. If you break an engagement with someone on Facebook, you're going to be single for a long while.

The consensus seems to be that posting "in a relationship" makes your private life public, jinxes your relationship and is often used as a tool for manipulation. Resist the urge to use Facebook as your loudspeaker for love. Tell the people who are close to you that you're in a relationship. Everyone else on Facebook will figure it out when you post wedding pictures.

More dating tips

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Tips for creating an online dating profile
How Skype and Facebook changed the long-distance relationship

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Comments

Comments on "Rules of the Facebook relationship status"

Carolyn October 21, 2013 | 8:40 AM

Ashley - that is not true. I would never post my relationship status on Facebook unless it was someone I was dating for a LONG time and most likely engaged to. Until then, it's nobody's business who I date. I find that people (mostly women) who change their status to "in a relationship" are prematurely jumping the gun or have some desperation issues (ie. are DESPERATE to announce to the world that they have a boyfriend). I totally agree with the author here for the most part. Your entire social circle does not need to know who the heck you have been dating for the past 2 months. I notice that people who do this never ANNOUNCE to the world when they get dumped! They just quietly change their status and hope nobody notices. It's wonderful to get excited about a new "love" but jumping the gun and advertizing it to the world prematurely in very immature. As we get older, we learn this...it's called being optimistic but proceeding with caution.

Ashley March 26, 2012 | 8:46 AM

Dear god, why are people so uppity and freak-outish about FB relationship statuses? It is NOT "one step down from marriage" and any girl who reacts to it like that is probably the type who sees a guy "like" another girl's status and reacts with "OMG YOU'RE CHEATING ON ME?!?!" and should probably be avoided anyway. Seriously, this "article" is making way too big a deal of this. I feel like most girls really would only take issue with the whole "relationship status" thing when they've been seeing/dating the guy and it's clear they're in a relationship and he doesn't want it on fb. To a girl that's like saying "yeah, I want to date you but I don't want anyone to know I am. Especially people friending me on facebook." Because, contrary to what the author of this page seems to believe, putting your relationship status isn't "telling every acquaintance you have" unless you take the time on fb to go around telling everyone on your list to go check out ur relationship status. Honestly, no one really pays attention to the acquaintances enough to go look. Yeah, if it posts a notification to your newsfeed "So and so went from single to in a relationship with person" then they might notice. But if you're really so afraid you think everyone will be like "dayumm got real here!" you can delete that notification and now only people who actually look at your page (people friending you for the first time who want to creep, exes, and close friends) will see it. And there's nothing wrong with that. I find most people that hide that stuff is because they're still into their ex and don't want them to know about the relationship "just in case" or don't want new friends of the opposite to know for the same reason. And that's why it raises flags for some girls (or guys). There's nothing wrong with putting the status out of fb, and if you're really paranoid just change it but don't link your pages together. It's not saying you're engaged or super serious, and people need to stop making such a big deal out of it. The only good point this article made was "inform the other person first." Though if you've been dating long enough that you both consider yourselves to be in a damned relationship, that's probably a non-issue.

Jonni Carole Del Castillo February 08, 2012 | 12:00 PM

Why can't I add "my husband" as married to: and his picture? Is it because he is not on Facebook??

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