Why Your Facebook Relationship Status Matters

Dear Dr. Darcy:

My girlfriend of 2 months has not changed her relationship status from single to in a relationship on her Facebook wall. I know it sounds stupid but it makes me feel insecure about being with her. The only reason someone doesn’t want to do it is to be able to still date. What should I do?

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ANSWER

Ah, the Facebook relationship status… Yes, I’ve spent many hours in my office attempting to comfort a client whose partner refused to change his/her status to in a relationship. The refusal to publicly acknowledge the relationship can feel very rejecting.

Keep in mind that there’s more than one way to interpret someone’s unwillingness to change their status. It’s not always about you. Your girlfriend could have a history of changing her status too quickly and, having learned from her past mistakes, she may want to wait until you are together a bit longer. She could have someone on her wall who would be hurt to learn that she’s in a relationship – maybe an ex whose feelings she wants to spare. Or she could think the whole relationship status thing is juvenile – something she doesn’t want to participate in.

But as I re-read this, it all seems like bullshit. There’s something shady about a partner’s reluctance to announce to the world that he/she’s in a relationship. It reminds me of men who refuse to wear wedding bands, “because I’ve never worn rings.” Really? Because I’ve never worn a white ball gown, but on 9/5/09 I did- and ever since then I’ve worn a ring on my finger to symbolize the vows I took. And my relationship status reflects those vows.

I don’t like it. We live in a digital age – and if we make the decision to be on social media and to friend/follow our partner, we need to do the right thing by them when we decide to commit to them and enter into a relationship. Send this post to your girlfriend. If she hasn’t changed her status by month 3, I’m betting it’s a symptom of a bigger problem.  I’d cut her loose.

Writer’s stats: Female, Lesbian.

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