Question: My boyfriend and I have been dating for about six months now. On my Facebook, I still have "Single" as my status and I've wanted to change it to "In a Relationship." When I brought it up to my boyfriend about it, he refused to put that on his Facebook. Not that it's a big deal, but I think it's strange that he refuses to acknowledge our relationship. After we had that conversation, I've been paranoid that he might be seeing someone else or not wanting anyone to know about me. Do you think I'm overreacting? (San Francisco, CA)
Social Shrink: Living in today’s digital world, social networking plays a huge part in our daily lives (whether intentional or not). Our Facebook pages have become an additional aspect of our identities – we may put a lot of thought into our profile photo, our status messages, and what we include in our “About Me” sections. When it comes to relationships, however, it is not as clearly defined across the board.
You bring up an important question: Should one’s Facebook relationship status validate one’s relationship in real life? Do the two go together hand-in-hand?
There are multiple possibilities as to why your boyfriend may not want to put “In a relationship” up on his Facebook. He may be a private person and doesn’t want to put his “business” on public display. Does he have limited info on his Facebook as it is (i.e. when you visit his page, is it pretty bare with no photos and no status messages?). If so, not wanting to put his relationship status up there makes sense.
Alternatively, does your boyfriend have a bunch of girls posting on his wall telling him they miss him or can’t wait to hang out? Does his Facebook page portray him as this party guy who is ‘pimping’ with all the girls? If so, he may want to maintain this ‘single guy’ persona and show the online world that he’s single and ready to mingle. That may be more of a reason to worry and extends way beyond whether or not he puts “In a relationship” up on his page. If the issue is that you think he is cheating or can't acknowledge your relationship, then you have other issues rather than Facebook and need to confront that head-on.
A couple of other questions: does his relationship status already say "Single"? Or is it not even listed? Some people don't even believe in putting their relationship status on Facebook because if he is a private person in general, he might not want other people in his business. That's not to say he is ashamed of you. If you guys are doing regular couple things, he’s giving you all of his attention, and you trust him other than this Facebook dilemma, then he probably has a good reason to not post it.
You need to ask yourself if you are secure enough in your relationship to be okay with him not putting it up. Maybe you can both change your statuses to not list anything. If this is something you are adamant about then maybe you should let him know it's important to you and why - see if he changes his mind. Talking this through with him will allow you get clarity on the situation rather than be paranoid to the different reasons why he doesn’t want to.
In the end, everyone needs to really think about how much they let their “online profile” define them in the long-run. Facebook should not be a reason to cause conflict in your relationship since it is not a clear and accurate representation of who you are or who have relationships with. Having such “Digital Drama” will only cause more strain on your relationship. If you are good as is, don’t bring in this unnecessary drama!