Our first fight

by singlemomseeking on May 31, 2009

facebook

It all started with Facebook.

For the record, Chris and I have had our share of misunderstandings in the past few months, which we’ve worked through quickly. But this last one has done a number on us — and I could really use your feedback.

Here’s what happened:

Soon after our first date, he and I became Facebook friends. We both use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and co-workers, although I’m clearly the social media addict. (He likes to tell his friends, “Can we please log into life now?”)

We’ve joked around about changing our Facebook status to “in a relationship.” He even teased me about changing his profile photo to a lovey-dovey shot of us. But no one made a move.

The other evening, however, we were sitting side-by-side with our laptops — both of us were on Facebook — when I said:

“Hey, sweetheart, why don’t we go for it right now and say that we’re ‘In a relationship’?”

I expected to hear: “Yeah, baby!”

Instead, he said nothing. When I looked over at him, he was clearly nervous.

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Him: “You know that I’m very private.”

Me: “Yes?”

Him: “I feel protective of you — and us. Our relationship isn’t something that I want to share with everyone — like people at work.”

Me: “Why not?”

Him: “I’m in a relationship with you. I’ve loved introducing you to my family and friends. Why does it matter if we’re in a relationship online?”

Me: “Because it matters to me.”

After being single for a long time, it seemed symbolic to change our relationship status online (are you with me here?). Okay, it sounds a little ridiculous because the truth is: he shows me every day that he wants to be in a relationship with me.

So why do I care if we’re “out” on Facebook?

Because I DO. It was a recent comment from Love Coach Rinatta on my blog, however, that made me realize what was really bothering me:

This is not about Facebook.

Love is sometimes like a salve that brings out all the yuck from the past that needs healing,” Coach Rinatta commented last week on my blog.

Some of my most intimate relationships have revolved around secrets. I’ve often kept secrets, which were mixed up with mystery and excitement. By not revealing our relationship status online, I felt like LG was keeping me a secret. (Of course, he’s not. He’s just a private guy.)

I’d love to hear your take on this one because — after talking to both male and female friends — I hear two opinions:

1. Those who tell me to let it go because Facebook is just a silly, virtual world in which your relationship status is not real.

2. Those who acknowledge my feelings and say that Facebook is a reflection of who we are. So, if you’re in a relationship, why not just come out and say it?

So, where are YOU on this one?
~~~

P.S. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound: while writing this post, I got a Facebook alert that Canadian Bald Guy “is in a relationship with” Momma Sunshine. We know where they stand, don’t we?


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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

John F May 31, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Tough call. I enjoy being open with the people I allow myself to be open with.

If I buy a new car, some people will know, others wont. If it is the Ferrari I bought with embezzled money the boss won’t know.

Is his career affected by status? If he was a Chippendale, maybe he has a point.

Why not use the “It’s Complicated” line–it’s the truth and you know that he is just that into you.

John F´s last blog post…A Winner From Craigslist

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singlemomseeking May 31, 2009 at 6:22 pm

John F: You crack me up, re: “If he was a Chippendale, maybe he has a point.”

He’s a scientist. And a self-professed nerd.

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Mike May 31, 2009 at 5:13 pm

I see it a flag and nothing to do with Facebook. I remember a woman I dated a while ago. She said the guy was a really nice guy, however he wanted to keep their relationship private (and no he wasn’t married). After a while she didn’t feel special anymore. How you present your sweetie to the world is a reflection of the relationship. For me I want everyone to know I am in a relationship with someone very special.

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Anita May 31, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Ok I am going to say I am with Lucky Guy on this one. Some things are just meant to be personal. The most important ppl in your lives will know, as you would have told them.

FB status’ does not rate in the scale of importance to me. FWIW, I am in a relationship, an have not update my status to reflect it, even though my partner is active on FB. There is nothing worse than seeing ‘in a relationship’ go to ‘single’. Not necessary.

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Jim Everson (Depot Dad) May 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Rachel, I love you. But I’m going to kind of side with Lucky Guy on this one. Here is why…

The structure of the Facebook profile is based on individual users. There is no such thing as a “couple” page. You each have your own pages. Now it is my understanding that the relationship declaration can be made without declaring who you are in a relationship with, right?

So I think the question should have been phrased like this…instead of saying “Shall we out ourselves on Facebook?” it might have been better to say, “I am going to change my status to ‘In a relationship.’ Do you mind if I use your name in that, or would you prefer I don’t mention your name?”

That would be a single issue to resolve and I would respect his request if he said, “Please don’t mention my name or link to my page.”

Then it would be a SEPARATE issue to say to him, “Hey Sweety, I’m changing my status to ‘in a relationship,’ wouldn’t you like to do that too?” And again, if he chose not to, then that would have to be the end of the conversation. There is no technical reason why you both have to change your status at the same time, and each of you is responsible for what you post on your OWN profile.

Now then, if he didn’t want to declare it and that hurts your feelings, then you would have to talk to him about THAT. I think you would have every right to feel a bit miffed if he decided not to declare. But then again, he has his reasons and they don’t sound unreasonable to me.

Finally, I see Facebook not so much a virtual world, but a public space. There are simply some people who like to profess their love from the tops of the mountains, and others who prefer to keep their feelings private. It looks to me like you two have two different preferences here and I would want to respect both of them.

Jim Everson (Depot Dad)´s last blog post…Sometimes One Inch Is Enough

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singlemomseeking May 31, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Jim: You’re siding with the Lucky Guy? Seriously?

Joking aside, I appreciate your thoughtful comment, more than you know. Not only are you a tech-guy, but you know me personally.

I wonder if Facebook will create a “couple’s page” someday — do you think so?

Yes, before this conflict, I hadn’t realized that you CAN change your relationship status without saying with whom you are in a relationship with? (Is that a change that came along with the Facebook renovation?)

Most recently, he did tell me that he’d be completely fine if I changed my status to ‘In a relationship’ — without using his name. (BTW, he doesn’t list his relationship status at all — it’s blank.)

Thank you Jim.

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Mydria May 31, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I’m totally on your side with this one. It would be a lie to say that you aren’t in a relationship. Maybe you should just not show your relationship status on facebook…it is optional, right? That way, it would just be withholding information (although I’m all for honesty and just putting it all out there).

Mydria´s last blog post…The Princess and the Frog controversy

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PT-LawMom May 31, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I agree with Mike. If he cares about you, why should he care what ANYONE thinks – especially coworkers. The only reason I could see it as a potential issue for him is because of your very public blog. I suppose he might feel awkward about people reading about him on your blog. I could see that perspective. Still…

PT-LawMom´s last blog post…Feeling Adored

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Single Ma May 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm

This isn’t about Facebook or privacy or past relationships. This is about YOUR relationship – just the two of you – and YOUR feelings.

Don’t try to analyze him, make excuses for him, or rationalize his decision so you can feel better about it. Bottom line, if he knows this is important to you, he should be willing to do it. Period.

Mr. Lucky Guy, choose your battles wisely.

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singlemomseeking May 31, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Single Ma: I’m honored to hear from you.

Although I take the everyone’s comments to heart (very much so!!), I still believe, as you said: that” if he knows this is important to” me, “he should be willing to do it. Period.”

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Trish May 31, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I’m with Jim on this one. Perhaps a good compromise would be for you to change your status to “In a relationship” without tying it directly to The Lucky Guy , and then he can do whatever he wants to his own relationship status.

Don’t get too miffed over this one. While I can certainly relate to your side of this (I myself CANNOT WAIT to have the chance to change my FB relationship status to “In a relationship”, it is not worth letting it adversely affect the relationship itself.

Trish´s last blog post…Hiatus

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Amy May 31, 2009 at 6:31 pm

i see both sides. But don’t listen to me – my facebook status has said “It’s complicated” for years. My family and friends went nuts trying to figure out who I was in a relationship with. Finally I had to post, “I am in a complicated relationship because I am having one with myself.”

There was a lot of shaking of heads.

Amy´s last blog post…Journal 127: April 2009 LA Women

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Mikethemasterdater May 31, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Good luck with that one! sounds like a can o’ worms…
Maybe he really is private… but… I don’t think so. This may be the last vestige of singleness that he is holding onto. It is quite a commitment to admit to all your friends and family that you are off the market. He may not be ready to close the last door of escape yet.
Scary…

Mikethemasterdater´s last blog post…The most powerful (frightening) form of power balance in a relationship 5 of 5

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singlemomseeking May 31, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Mike, Crazy Computer Dad, Canadian Bald Guy, SDMktg:

Wow, it’s really eye-opening to hear a guy’s point of view. Thanks guys.

You all seem to feel some sense of ambivalence about this. I don’t pretend to understand why you feel uncertain about “coming out” on Facebook… but I am learning a lot from you.

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jeanie May 31, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I agree with Depot Dad (admittedly, after I read his I went “exactly” and scrolled down because I have NO short term memory).

You can put “In a Relationship” without linking to whom.

But it is REALLY about how you feel about each other in real life.

jeanie´s last blog post…Stomach of iron

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Canadian Bald Guy May 31, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Rachel,

I need to be 100% honest with you here. I know you’ve used me and Momma Sunshine as an example, but I was really hesitant to change my Facebook status at first.

Last fall when we started dating I was hesitant because it was my first relationship in two years after splitting with the ex-wife and I felt really weird about it. I can’t specifically say why, I just did. But I changed it and got a lot of positive feedback (even from The Ex, who didn’t think it was such a big deal)…so I felt better after the fact.

This time around? I got the little message saying that “Sunshine has requested to be in a relationship with you” (or whatever it is that it says). I, again, was VERY hesitant to click on “I accept” (or whatever it is that it says).

I wasn’t really sure if I wanted people knowing that we were back together, especially after our three month “break”. I mean, does it not seem a little arrogant for me to want to broadcast my personal business to the entire world?

I know…I do that in my blog (lol). That’s different, though…my family and friends don’t know that I tell complete strangers the most intimate of my personal details.

So anyway, after a few days of staring at the impending “status change” and pretending to ignore it, I changed it to what you saw. I did it because I love Sunshine and I know it’s going to work…so I might as well broadcast it to the world, I suppose.

At the end of the day…I guess I can see why he’d be a little hesitant. Maybe it’s a “guy thing”. Maybe it’s just he doesn’t feel the need to tell the world that he’s in a relationship because it looks “arrogant” or like he’s “bragging”. Most guys are private when it comes to that stuff. Guys don’t normally tell people about their personal lives. It’s just the whole “Mars vs. Venus” thing.

Anyway…just my $0.02 based on personal experience.

Canadian Bald Guy´s last blog post…A toddler’s discipline

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molly May 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm

The last guy I fell for never even added me as a Facebook friend. And I never requested him as a friend either, because I’m an old-fashioned gal. But I just had a conversation about the stickiness of even adding someone your dating as a Facebook friend. A male coworker half-jokingly said that a man fears that if you want to be Facebook friends, your then going to want marriage, and kids…

I guess my only point is at least he took the Facebook plunge with you, and is actually in a real life relationship with you. The number of commitment phobic men in Los Angeles is truly mind-boggling! I’m sure SF is no different.

I agree that you should drop the subject and just change your status, if you really want to, without naming him publicly.

I actually just deleted my Facebook account, *gasp*! I had so many guys as friends who were neglecting to ask me out– I was sick of being so available! I also want to spend my limited single mom time out in the real world and with my daughter.

I’m over totally over Facebook. It is no reflection of people’s real lives. I wouldn’t let it ruin a real life relationship.

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MindyMom May 31, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Lots of great comments here. Overall I would have to agree that it’s more of a relationship thing than anything else. If it’s important to YOU then he should consider that in his decision, and likewise you should in his. It’s about respecting each other and doing things that are sometimes outside of our own comfort zone for MUTUAL benefit. This should be a reciprocal thing though, not just one making compromises for the other.

MindyMom´s last blog post…Girl’s Night Out, A Movie Review & Court

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Susan May 31, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Not to sound stupid, but why can’t you both select “In a Relationship” but not list the person. That way, he gets his privacy, and you can feel good that you and others know you’re in a relationship (and I do get that, btw).

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Crazy Computer Dad May 31, 2009 at 8:37 pm

It’s Complicated.

And it shouldn’t be.

But we read so much into things these days. What you say can actually mean less than what you don’t say, etc.

My first reaction was that there is no reason good reason not to indicate that you are in a relationship, but there are many not good reasons for doing so.

Having looked on Facebook just now, you can set your status to . Blank. A private person would probably set it to this. If it is set to single then there is a mixed message.

My status is set to “in a relationship” but I see Luck Guy’s point that no one really needs to know that, and changing from relationship to single is just going to make a painful experience even more painful.

I believe that both women and men like to mark their territory, but trust is very important too. In the end, rings and status and other tokens really don’t mean anything…you can only make your own choices, the other person has to make theirs…and you either trust them or you don’t.

Crazy Computer Dad´s last blog post…OBX …

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SDMktg May 31, 2009 at 8:38 pm

I agree with those who say to check “in a relationship” without linking to the other person. People who know you well will know who the person is, others will ask, and the rest don’t need to know. I also think when you are committed making that change is a reasonable expectation. On the other hand not showing status at all is fine for people with a truly impersonal profiles.

I think having “in a relationship” on the profile tells the world you’re not still out looking and if it’s important to your partner it should matter to you. Single Ma is right on the money with that.

I also really don’t understand the comment about not sharing your relationship at work. What is he CIA or something?

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Just a reader May 31, 2009 at 8:44 pm

After this blog post, I think he’d be wise to get that “lovey dovey” pic uploaded to his facebook asap!

I do think facebook is a little silly and don’t quite understand why someone “private” would have a facebook account or why anything on it even really matters.

Whatever the case may be, it’s obviously important to you and just purely from that standpoint, he should have obliged you on your “request”.

It IS about how you feel about each other in real life and if you can put a smile on the face of the woman in your real life with something so trivial as relationship status on FB, why pass up the opportunity?

Now if you had asked him to climb to the top of a mountain and profess his love, I could understand his reluctance…but relationship status on FB???

Only thing I can think is maybe he was saving that to surprise you on your birthday. :)

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Just a reader May 31, 2009 at 8:44 pm

After this blog post, I think he’d be wise to get that “lovey dovey” pic uploaded to his facebook asap!

I do think facebook is a little silly and don’t quite understand why someone “private” would have a facebook account or why anything on it even really matters.

Whatever the case may be, it’s obviously important to you and just purely from that standpoint, he should have obliged you on your “request”.

It IS about how you feel about each other in real life and if you can put a smile on the face of the woman in your real life with something so trivial as relationship status on FB, why pass up the opportunity?

Now if you had asked him to climb to the top of a mountain and profess his love, I could understand his reluctance…but relationship status on FB???

Only thing I can think is maybe he was saving that to surprise you on your birthday. :)

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Sandra May 31, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I found your blog from Mike (Going Sane in a Crazy World)

To be honest him saying that he doesn’t want to list himself as “in a relationship” because he is a “private” guy sounds like a ridiculous excuse to me. So does he saying he doesn’t want to announce you to the world because he is protective of you.

A truly protective man would announce himself as your boyfriend to send the message to everyone else that you are off limits.

You are right that this has nothing to do with Facebook. I wish he would get that.

It sounds like he still isn’t fully sure if he wants to be with you. I hope I am wrong and I am not trying to be mean, but I think you deserve a man who is excited to change his status to “in a relationship” in front of you for you to witness.

Sandra´s last blog post…Greek Festival

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Annie May 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm

#1. No question.

Annie´s last blog post…Relay for Life

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SingleDad May 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I would “dig” a little deeper into the “Why”… Maybe he doesnt want the friends outside of his close circle to know his business. I had a girlfriend once make a specific request “not” to be mentioned on my website or other social media. I asked why, and she just said she wants to keep our life and status in private mode to strangers.
Give it time Rach, you still have plenty of time for more friends and family to know when he’s feeling more comfortable and confident about the “world” you live in and the attention you attract.

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K Nelson May 31, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I will read what others have to say after I put in my 2cents.

He can say he is ‘in a relationship’ without linking directly to your FB page. There is nothing ‘private’ about whether or not he has a girlfriend and he can even change it and then tell facebook not to notify everyone of the change.

I recently had an ex contact me online and I asked if he had a girlfriend. He said “Yep.” I said Then why does you FB say you are single. He said “You know me, I’m a private guy.” A little later he chatted me up through FB and hinted around at us getting back together for “just sex”. I said, I thought you said you had a girlfriend and he said “She isn’t here now.” (slimebag)

I have met my share of cheaters and liars, and I think that hiding you in any form is hiding you… and there is something wrong with that.

I can see both sides, but I think that he should know it is important enough to you that it isn’t worth it for him to hold on to his ‘single-ness’ through FB or any other means.

K Nelson´s last blog post…$35 Avon Gift Certificate Give-Away

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singlemomseeking May 31, 2009 at 10:38 pm

K. Nelson: Yikes!

For the record, I should have added that Lucky Guy has never listed his relationship status on Facebook — it has always been blank. Hmmm.

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K Nelson May 31, 2009 at 10:41 pm

PS Now that I have read through the comments, I do have to say that I am less worried since his normal status was ‘blank’ as opposed to ‘single’.

Still, does he have lot of pics on his FB page? If he is truly a private guy, then I’m guess he doesn’t. But if he does, then maybe he’d be willing to ad a pic of the two of you?

(Also, if he only has a lot of pictures of himself from 5 or 10 years ago… run)

K Nelson´s last blog post…$35 Avon Gift Certificate Give-Away

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Love Coach Rinatta May 31, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Rachel thanks for quoting me in the post. I am glad what I said spoke to you. And here’s my two cents:

Let the guy always lead in the relationship. Not because he’s more important than you or because you need to cater to him, but because women are often more ready and ager for intimacy than men, and men need time to catch up. To drag a man to the next level of a relationship, or push him there, or even ask him there causes hurt feelings for you and resentment for him.

And changing facebook status is the next level of a relationship. But the two of you are not there yet. In terms of facebook, I think teens and young adults change their relationship status often, while mid-life adults change their relationship status once they are fully committed to the relationship.

Meaning, when he knows he will be with you for life, this won’t even be an issue – he will change FB status himself. But until then? Why announce to the world a relationship that may or may not make it, and then have to deal with the consequences if in fact the relationship does not make it? I am sure this is at least in part his stance, and he’s right.

And Rachel, I completely hear and understand your issue with secrecy and how toxic that is to a relationship. But if you are in fact not a secret in his real life, than this facebook issue is just bringing up the echoes from the past for you. It’s always good to know whether your feelings are actually about the situation or if the situation is bringing up feelings from the past. The past feelings are for you to deal with, by yourself, not in the relationship.

Lastly, I do not agree that if you ask for something he should give it to you or do it your way not matter what. You would not want a partner who does what you want only to resent you later. It’s good for him to say no if that is what feels best for him.

So can you let this facebook thing go, put it on the shelf and revisit it in 6 months? Maybe even tell him that is what you are doing and would he bring it up in 6 months time? Perhaps that would satisfy your need to be catered to in this case.

Love Coach Rinatta´s last blog post…Avoid TMI When Dating

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keenkamsmom June 1, 2009 at 3:45 am

For the record I’m on your side. Maybe he doesn’t want to put “in a relationship” because on facebook you can also say with who. Perhaps he isn’t so worried about the relationship as he is about friends googling your name and finding out far more personal information than he would care for them to know about you. I mean that part I could totally understand. I wouldn’t want my co-workers to have that kind of knowledge of anyone I was dating either. So maybe that is what is making him uncomfortable with the situation and that makes a little more sense.

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Legal Editor Mom June 1, 2009 at 3:56 am

I understand your wanting validation and assurance, but he’s showing you in other ways, as you mentioned. You have to realize that not everyone is as public with their life as you are.

I love what Depot Dad said and my own personal feeling is that it’s nobody’s business. If he’s into you, you will know it. But why do you have to prove that to anyone else? There are only two people in a relationship…and you’re better off that way.

(I do like the “in a relationship” status without having to list a name, but even when you change that one, it goes to “single” or “no longer in a relationship” and STILL prompts questions.) I choose not to post one and probably never will, unless I marry again. If you all make it THAT far, then THAT’S a legitimate concern…

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Amy Sue Nathan June 1, 2009 at 6:14 am

Makes me wonder where else he won’t compromise or do something important to you.

That being said, Facebook should be the last thing on your list – I just don’t like what the whole thing “might” represent.

Although it truly might not, which is why I hesitated giving any comment because no one reading this blog knows anything about him, or him, at all. I think this is something you need to work out IRL with your boyfriend. And it sounds like it will work out.

Amy Sue Nathan´s last blog post…Angels and demons…and D.J.s

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mg7630 June 1, 2009 at 6:33 am

I am so glad to see so many responses about this issue, because I went through it too! At least your guy has left that entry BLANK, and I support that. Keep it private, fine.

But my husband had listed SINGLE on facebook and myspace. When I asked him about it, he said it was just an accident and he probably just hit the wrong thing, and he changed it to MARRIED. It was of course a huge red flag because, yes, he was having several affairs. I admit I asked him to change it to “married” because I was marking my territory, but I was right to be suspicious… It’s a little thing but can have real meaning about the status of your relationship.

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Bonnie June 1, 2009 at 6:55 am

Bonnie and Guns here weighing after our morning commute which you always keep so interesting! Since he never lists his relationship status then no worries, babe. Privacy is being less valued everyday. I work int he npo world and I don’t need all my fb peeps to know my entire life. Guns is a litigator for a major bank and he sure doesn’t either. The most important part is that he shows his affection in public and is merging your worlds. He is not hiding you if he is doing that. He is just not announcing to the entire planet his every movement-which is how some people use facebook and we more private folks don’t. We just tend to use it as a way to keep in contact with people or for some networking.

We more private people tend to like some boundaries. I don’t know about LG, but I like to keep my nearest and dearest close. Everyone else at an arm’s length. I was gossiped about most of my high school life due to having a brother that passed away right before I started. So the idea of all my aquaintences knowing everything about me really irks me. Also relationg to Depot Dad’s comment-too many people are in each other’s business these days. This is a relationship between you two not everyone in your facebook accounts.

In some ways I also feel pretty strongly that it is pretty respectful when people don’t do the relationship status thing ont heir fb pages bc the older you get the more you often tend to stay friends with former partners, boyfriends, etc. Why do they need some email alert to rub it into them?

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