My relationship status is hidden on Facebook. It’s been that way for a long time, because one night, I decided it wasn’t anyone’s goddamn business if I was in a relationship or not. Because by putting that up for the world to see on social media really means inviting them into a personal, private space of my life.
Back in the beginning of my sophomore year of college, my then-boyfriend broke up with me. We had a good long talk about it the next day and officially decided to change our relationship statuses to single. I walked to my room, pulled up my profile, made the switch, and before I could even make it to the neighboring residence hall, I had a text from a distant friend offering me help and a shoulder to lean on. I didn’t want that, but it still happened.
Soon after, I started dating someone else. Again, my status went from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship.’ That one was destined to fail, and when it did, I simply hid my status. I went through and deleted all the pictures of the two of us where we looked remotely like a couple. It took a lot of work, but I ultimately had the power to tell people that I ended that relationship.
Fast forward five or so years to now. I’m in a relationship again. We met in person, hit it off, he asked me if he could ask me out for coffee or something, and three days later actually invited me out on a date. It was very old-fashioned. We were seeing each other about a month and then he asked if I would be his girlfriend. This is where we should have changed ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship,’ but we didn’t. It’s been going really well. We’ve been together for over two years and recently moved in together. We have cats.
The thing is though, unless you really know either of us on Facebook, you wouldn’t necessarily know that we are dating. Neither of us have decided to post our relationship statuses for the world to see. There are only a few pictures from larger events where we’re together. We still maintain fairly separate friends from our lives before one another. And I can count the number of times we’ve posted to or about one another on my fingers.
I must admit; it’s nice not to play slave to social media in our relationship. What we have is between us and the people we bring into our real social lives. There’s no filters, no carefully constructed tweets or statuses, no goofy pictures to show the world that we’re in love. They don’t need to know that.
I’m not bashing anyone that does those things– I’m truly not– but I believe the success in our relationship is fundamentally based in the fact that we focus on who we are together rather than the “we” we put forth on our profiles. I’ve never been happier with anyone, and it’s the first time I decided to say, “Screw you, social media, you don’t get a slice of this. It’s mine and his and ours.” And that has made all the difference.