Thursday, September 12, 2013

Changing Your Relationship Status - a Modern Dating Dilemma

"The best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook."  

In today's world of modern dating, social media adds an interesting dimension to any romantic relationship.   During the first few months of dating many struggle with the question "when should I change my relationship status on Facebook?"  I have been in two post-divorce relationships and both times have changed my status to "in a relationship with..."  Honestly, it didn't make those relationships stronger.   Just because you hitch your Facebook accounts doesn't mean your significant other is actually committed to building an amazing relationship in the real world - and really, that is where it matters most.  

How you, as a couple, at any stage of your relationship present yourself to the world, can be a tricky dance.  You should consider several factors before taking the relationship digital:  

If you are a parent, consider your children  
As the mom of three daughters I have always instilled in my children that they are my closest posse.  I don't want them to meet a significant other by watching our relationship march across Facebook.  And honestly, if the relationship isn't ready to meet my kids, is it really ready for cyberspace consumption?  

Do you know this person well enough to link your digital life to them?  
What goes on Facebook stays with you, forever.  While you can change your status back and remove all your pictures your association with that individual actually sticks around forever.  Friends can take screen shots of your posts, and they remember who you have been connected to. On that note, do you know how they are going to tag you?  As a joke your man could say "I'm at a strip club with my girl XXXX" when in reality you are home in your PJ's on the couch.  Your man thinks this is hysterical, it posts to your wall, and your children see it.  Make sure that the people taking up space in your social media world are worthy of it and are not going to embarrass you.  

Are you announcing a significant upgrade?  
This is when we have to check in with a little nasty word called revenge.  Are you, in some way, delighting in the fact that your ex is going to see or hear that you moved on?  Or, are you thrilled that those in your life are going to see that you have a new significant other with the clear message that you are "happier than ever."  The announcement of a relationship should not be done with the intent of showing off.  It should come from a place of joy.  

Are you going to find peace in the fact that his status marks him as "taken?"
While you may have a permanent spot in his Facebook about section, it turns out that has about as much cheating protection as a wedding ring on his finger.  He can still flirt, private message, text, and really do whatever the heck he wants regardless of his Facebook relationship status.  If your gut is telling you he might be up to something, I recommend listening to your gut.  

And now how much do you each post about the relationship?  
Ahhhh....this is the slippery slope to hell.  So once you are connected the next step of insanity is how much you post. I was once asked by a significant other "why aren't you posting more about me and how great our vacation is?" My inside voice was saying  "ummmm...because I'm enjoying unplugging and spending time on vacation. And it's vacation.  And oh my gosh I can't believe I'm getting defensive.  It's my Facebook page, you post enough pictures and tag me in them that no one has any question as to what is going on."  But my outside voice simply said, "I'll post more."  And I did.  And I thought it was absolutely ridiculous.  Yes, he was happier, but I had given away my Facebook page to his ego.  

I started this post with a pretty harsh quote and one that I am actually sticking to in my life.  At some point, in the distant future, I may post a picture or check-in with my guy.  If I eventually make it to Huff Po Blended Family Friday (hey look, we all have goals), yeah, I'll share that link with my friends.  But I'm not spending time putting a relationship out there when I could be building it instead.  The build is the fun part, not the external validation of others.  

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