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 }

judy June 1, 2009 at 7:07 am

He doesn’ t want to.

Is this a deal breaker for you?
If so tell him so and dump him.

If it’s not a deal breaker than accept it.
Change your page if you want but HONESTLY girlfriend you cannot change him (or his facebook page.

But I would not spend much more time analyzing it:
As Freud told us “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”

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Aunt Marge June 1, 2009 at 7:50 am

Hi Rachel,
It has been a while since I checked into your website. I have not read all of the other comments, but just some old fashioned advice from an old woman: don’t push. If LG is not comfortable with this (or anything else) and does it just to please you, he will resent it, and your possible long lasting wonderful relationship will spiral away from you. You have to show him that you are respectful of his wishes, as you would want from him in any other situation. Just a quote from William James “Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” Keep everything about this wonderful relationship positive and reassess your priorities. Introducing you to his family is far more of a committed step than anything to the unknown public on-line.

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Phil June 1, 2009 at 8:03 am

I’m coming in late to this one, but as a non-blogging Facebook user, not only do I agree with LG, I do the same thing. The people I’m friends with on Facebook don’t need to know what the status of my relationship is – it’s too much information. I’m happy to tell anyone one-on-one, but I hate the idea of a virtual announcement.

Rachel, you have hundreds of Facebook ‘friends’ and even more who follow your blog. If his name ever gets onto you blog, it will be on ‘Google’ forever.

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Eathan June 1, 2009 at 8:49 am

I’d say let it go. It’s just a virtual world and it seems like you trust him. It doesn’t seem like he isn’t introducing you too everyone anyway. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Eathan´s last blog post…I Met LT27

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T June 1, 2009 at 8:59 am

Wow. There are a ton of great comments here.

I can understand both sides of this as well. To you Rachel, the “changing of the status” is a very powerful symbol. You are online and very much out there. I can see where the secretive thing scares you and I don’t blame you a bit.

He is private. As Phil said above, his name will be linked with yours if you change your status to “in a relationship with …” And all guys, no matter what they’re thinking about the relationship’s current status, don’t want people to think they’re a bad guy. Who’s to say you guys don’t break up but instead have an ugly falling out or fight? Then people that know you on Facebook could very well start harassing him there and thinking that he’s not treating you fairly, blah blah blah.

He probably wants to keep whatever you two go through out of public consumption so that you can work through it yourselves and without outside influence!

I also agree with Love Coach Rinatta’s comment that we should be patient with a man. If a man feels like he is truly being respected in his emotions, he will offer the same to you. If we demand that things go our way, resentment builds.

And girl, I am speaking from personal experience from a 13 year marriage! This is one of the reasons that so many women are unhappy with their men or feel that their men are lazy and insensitive. It’s because we demand they be exactly what we want them to be instead of who they are.

Yep. Been there. Done that. Divorced him.

*sigh*

Live and learn girl. Hang in there.

T´s last blog post…That’s my network

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April June 1, 2009 at 10:02 am

Wow! I can see you’ve gotten tons of opinions on this already, but FWIW: You can edit your relationship status to not show up at all on FB. That way, you’re not misrepresenting yourself, and you can respect his feelings at the same time.
It matters more how he treats you, and how much he allows you into his real life, and you’ve already admitted that your feelings on this are tied to your past. This will sound really harsh, but it can’t be all about you. And really, I don’t mean that as harsh as it sounds, but I think single moms in particular get a bad rap for being too needy, and things like an FB status falls into that category.

April´s last blog post…Dirty Dancing on Stage

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tanasie June 1, 2009 at 10:10 am

My boyfriend and I were actually in the middle of a fight when he went home and changed his status to in a relationship with me. And my first thought was, “Crap, now I’m going to have to tell my mom about him.” Since my mom is one of my facebook friends, and I didn’t want facebook to tell my mom that I have a boyfriend because she already thinks I keep secrets. And I was on the fence about telling my mom about him because if it didn’t work out, she’d be asking me about him for the next 5 years (because he is so her dream come true). But I did. And then he posted a cute couple picture of us as his profile picture. So then I did too. I never thought I’d be in a cute couple-y photo facebook status and all relationship. But I have to say, it’s awesome. (And it really dialed back all the guys I’d gone on a date or two with but would occasional IM me and say ‘let’s hang out.’)
If he doesn’t want to say on Facebook that he’s in a relationship with you, then maybe that means he’s got some ex’s he’s still interested in. I hope not. I hope he’s just into you. But why would he want to be private about you? Why wouldn’t he want to tell his friends that he is in a relationship with super awesome you?

tanasie´s last blog post…Depend-able

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andieeast June 1, 2009 at 10:42 am

easy peasy. Change the relationship status to in a relationship, don’t link to him. Also if he is worried about what his co-workers see on his facebook page, he needs to start utilizing the account privacy settings and putting them in a group that can only see certain things. EVERYBODY should be using their privacy settings. Also you can change your setting so that what happens in your relationship doesn’t go into the public feed. I can see his point. If he adds his relationship online (which is currently blank) and links to use and people look at you and search you and find your blog bla blah blah. People are HEAVY DUTY stalkers out there. I am one of them and I’m telling you, any information online can lead you to all sorts of things.

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Melanie June 1, 2009 at 11:20 am

I haven’t read through all of the comments, so please forgive me if I repeat.

1) Does he have himself listed as ‘single’, or just no relationship status at all? If he doesn’t wish to change from something that indicates he is single, then I’m with you. If he doesn’t mention it at all, then he has a point.

2) Does he post non-work related things, things that perhaps one might not wish to share with work colleages? Pics of him in swimsuits on beaches, pics of friends with drinks, pics of pets? Then he’s not really that private. Not that this is a relationship red flag, just that he’s being a little irrational.

3) Seriously … facebook isn’t real. If you see it that way, then this point is moot. But if you both ‘live’ on facebook and use it for friend communication, send vegetables for virtual gardens, send virual drinks, zombie-hunt-down friends and pester them with bizarre ‘requests’ … then it’s real to you. And your relationship status is just one more ‘fun’ thing on there.

(Can you tell that I’m on facebook but find it more annoying than anything else? ;) )

Melanie´s last blog post…Early Summer: Happinesses

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MC June 1, 2009 at 11:41 am

Well, I’m not a Facebook-er, so I can’t comment on the implications of that exact type of social announcement.

However, I can understand why a person in a relationship would want to avoid publicizing it broadly, especially while it is still very new. That’s my own preference, in fact. I wouldn’t hide a relationship, but I don’t see the reason to announce it far and wide to slight and even non-acquaintances.

I see a romantic relationship as something private, that I ideally want to develop (or not) depending on me and my partner, and that I don’t really want to be influenced by the opinions and gossip of random people. Close friends and family members’ input is something I want, of course, but they’ll hear all about it from me personally–I don’t need to announce it. In contrast, I really don’t need everyone in my work department and professional sphere gossiping about my romantic life. If I get married again, they’ll hear about it–otherwise, I’m more comfortable that they think of me only as a work colleague. I guess the big question is what if it doesn’t work out? I don’t really want to be explaining the whole situation to Patty in accounting when I run into her next time…

Of course, my ex-husband used to drag me to his work functions and then lay on embarrassing amounts of PDA. I later found out this was his way of trying to counteract gossip about his affairs with co-workers (ugh!). And I’ve dated a couple of men recently who liked to “show off” by presenting me like a trophy to their work colleagues (while they simultaneously ignored developing our “real” relationship). So that probably also influences my view of things! I guess I’m just a jaded old person :)

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SingleParentPlus2 June 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Maybe , he doesn’t want the on-line world to know he is Lucky Guy?

SingleParentPlus2´s last blog post…Pets Welcome….Children Must Be Leashed

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Barry June 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Oy Vey. Rachel, you want to tell the world you are in a relationship. Just do it. He doesn’t want to, then he doesn’t.

Guys are not on the same planet. He may just not want to have to answer all the questions, with who, where does she live, what does she do, and on and on. Guys can just me a bit uneasy about PDA, which is what this is (to the world!) He is good to you, he is kind, he “wants you”, he takes you out and introduces you to everyone,. sounds good to me. I don’t think it has anything to do with how he feels about you. But if you push too hard, you won’t have to worry about changing your status :) . Remember the Venus and Mars stuff. I think it is true.

Example, several years back I took someone out on a date to my favorite Italian resstaurant. It was about a 30 minute drive. I found out later that she thought I drove out of the town to hide her, noooooooo, it is just my favorite restautant!

If you try and figure us out, your brain will explode!

Barry´s last blog post…Dress Slimmer: How to Look Thinner in the Right Clothes

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Katherine SOLOdotmom June 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Wow. I have to say… I want to digest this one a little before I offer my own opinion. I do like a lot of the comments I see here…

Just not sure if this should become an issue to fight over… but it depends if there is more lying below the surface…

I am going to have to get back with you on this one. I have come out as “in a relationship” on my facebook… but Mr. M. hasn’t yet… but again he also isn’t on there very often… and I haven’t mentioned it… I just did it… so … this gets me thinking…

Katherine SOLOdotmom´s last blog post…She Had a Blast… Then… Sick Happened

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Ms. V June 1, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Facebook is something I don’t do anymore, mostly because it’s getting ridiculous…but I do Twitter, and that being said, you don’t have to “claim” anything.

I think it’s ridiculous. Maybe he doesn’t want the whole virtual world to know?

Ms. V´s last blog post…That was one.long.mile.

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MommaSunshine June 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Thought I should weigh in on this one, myself.

Honestly? If it were me, I would just simply change my status to read “in a relationship” and just not link to him. I was going to change my status regardless of what CBG did, only because there were a few “online dating boys” still sniffing around that I wanted to give the, “back off, pal” signal too.

Although, admittedly, if he hadn’t changed his too, it would have bugged me and I would have asked him why, only to find out his headspace on the matter.

In any event, in the grand scheme of things, its more important that the two of you communicate about this and try to come to a mutual understanding, in my opinion.

MommaSunshine´s last blog post…Mom Central Comes to Canada!

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wandamd June 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm

okay, i’m way down on the totem pole with my response but for what its worth i wouldn’t add my boyfriend as a facebook friend! It is an individual space for me where I can post in my status that i’m annoyed to heck at a certain someone and it feels good to get it out there! I wouldn’t personally sweat it but its a lot easier to dole out the advice than take it :O)

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Priscilla San Remo June 1, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Hmmmm…. this is one of the reasons I don’t like FB. I haven’t even “friend requested” the man I’m dating yet. I don’t want to get into this whole online relationship quagmire.

In your case, though, I wouldn’t be happy. As other readers have pointed out, he can say he is in a relationship without stating with whom. Ergo, the privacy thing is crap, in my book. To me it would be maybe not a red flag, but at least a yellow light in a relationship. At a certain point, if you don’t want people to know you are dating (someone, anyone, doesn’t have to be named), there’s something wrong.

It’s nice to say it’s how he treats you in real life that’s more important, and of course it is. But I’d still feel this weird sense that he’s hiding something. Sorry… I’ve dated too many cheaters, commitment phobes, guys who needed escape hatches, etc., not to be suspicious.

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expatsinglemama June 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Lotsa fodder for an article here, seeing all the comments its garnered.

I’m with you 100%. But I can tell you I’ve been on the losing end of the FB status debate. My hubby and I separated years ago b/c of a social networking site. . .the catalsyt was when I found out he’d changed his status from “in a relationship” to “I’ll tell you later”. Long story short. . .infidelity. . .separation. . .second baby. . .reunification. So he insisted we update our facebook status to announce to the world that we were reunited. I didn’t want to b/c I felt like it would jinx us. Two months later, we separated and are now in the process of divorce.

I’m with you, but I think it’s a jinx when you DO change it and also a bad sign that you and LG doesn’t want to do it. Sorry.

expatsinglemama´s last blog post…Unfurnished means no stove?

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Alicia June 1, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Hmmm – I’m on your side on this issue, though Facebook has nothing to do with it. YOU are so damn special that he SHOULD be like Tom Crusie and be jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch at this point, proclaiming “I Love This Woman!!!!” – NOT keeping the relationship hidden from the world…

just my 2cents…

Alicia´s last blog post…BeginningEnd

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apples June 2, 2009 at 1:19 am

I have not read all the responses I just have a simple question for him/you.

Riddle me this- If it is so private why do you have your status private all together?

I personally can see where someone would be coming from thus me not having my status viewable at all because it is no ones business. I don’t like being other peoples gossip. So on facebook I am not single married divorced single or complicated… :P

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lovebabz June 2, 2009 at 5:45 am

I do not believe this is about Facebook at all. Facebook is the catalyst for the discussion. But you have to discern truly what’s at the root of this. And he has to discern his feelings and whatever he says you have to decide if its a deal breaker or you can move on from it.

If you believe this is a deal breaker on some level then you have to figure why? This is seemingly a small issue and yet it is crowding your brain. He is saying no to something. You have to hear it. But at the same time he has to do some truth telling too.

This can be a good thing. This can raise the loveship to a new level of understanding and commitment.

lovebabz´s last blog post…TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: SO FAR

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Viv June 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I like the person’s comment who said that none of us know him or his motive. It could very well be because of a privacy concern, and it could also be that he’s ambivalent about the future of the relationship. Who knows. But the most important thing is your relationship and how you treat each other. If you’re not happy about this, tell HIM. Discuss how you feel with him, instead of driving yourself crazy trying to figure it out and asking all of us. See what he says, and then deal with it accordingly.

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jaclyn June 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I am completely on your side here – Facebook is a step towards commitment and I would be very wary of a guy who finds that difficult after an appropriate amount of time has passed. He’s not 12 – he is a grown man and it really shouldn’t be too shocking to anyone that he is in a relationship.

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Kat Wilder June 3, 2009 at 6:55 am

Well, I see it this way — some people absolutely must get married. Without the paper and the gold band, they don’t feel that there’s a commitment, one that they can share with the world.

Others say, “who cares about the paper? It’s a piece of paper! I’m committed in my heart.”

Who’s right? Both of them. What matters is this — that you AND Lucky Guy BOTH feel the same way about the paper/no paper, Facebook/no Facebook thing. If you don’t, then someone is going to have to compromise too much, and someone is going to feel resentful if he/she’s being pushed into something.

It seems like a trivial thing in many ways, but there’s a deeper issue here.

Kat Wilder´s last blog post…It can’t buy love, but can money buy forgiveness?

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singlemomseeking June 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm

@Kat: Thank you so much for this. Your comment resonates with me.

Yes, this certainly is deeper than Facebook. I doubt that anyone here would disagree that what’s at the heart here is really love, our needs, and probably some fear.

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Kat Wilder June 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Hell, I don’t know of anything more fearful than love … and worth throwing oneself into it anyway!

I know you’ll find come through this, and whatever else is ahead. hugs

Kat Wilder´s last blog post…It can’t buy love, but can money buy forgiveness?

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Hanie June 5, 2009 at 1:31 am

Rachel, George and I changed our status to “in a relationship” immediately after we got to a serious level of relationships, and then when we decided that we do want to get married soon, we changed the status to “engaged to”, all within a short time we make our decisions. It is not about FB. It is about presenting to our friends our Other Half and sharing the happiness that we experience. I WANT my friends to know that I am involve with this awesome guy, in real life or online realms. He feels the same too. To us, the situation is similar as introducing the Other Half to friends offline. I remember an ex boyfriend just refused to introduce me as his “girlfriend” as he wanted to keep it “low key” and “private”. I found out later that it was because he actually didnt want to be known as being in a relationship. I guess it takes a lot to understand from your partner, Rachel. Only he can explain to you why he behaves that way and whether the explanation is acceptable to you. I for one, will feel sad and even insulted if my Other Half had refused to acknowledge this hurt, as it matters to ME.

Hanie´s last blog post…Are You Really Listening?

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Mike June 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Lot of good comments from a lot a people from both view points.

0.02 worth.

If you’re on facebook with more than immediate family and/or a special someone as friends then you are really not that private.

I’m not friends on Facebook with my own children (I know how to email or call the ones I don’t live with, and can talk with the ones at home whenever I want). If I change my status I only have to explain it to one person. She on the other hand will have a lot of people who will want an explaination (laugh), like she had when she changed it to begin with.

I’m very private. She’s not. We don’t fight over it, and we had been in a relationship for some time before she put it on Facebook. I created my account (for her) with being in a relationship. She waited months. Didn’t matter to me. I knew she was in a relationship with me and that is all that really matters at the end of the day.

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Bill June 9, 2009 at 6:45 am

Jumping in here late because I was out doing non-virtual stuff last week.
Somewhere along this page I read “facebook is not real”. How is it now real? It’s us, on a page, on the net. Yes, you could fabricate lies and put them on your page, but for the most part I think people put their true selves out there. As far as status goes, well, if it says you are single, isn’t that a lie? You aren’t. You both are in a relationship. Why not state that? If I were dating someone, I’d wonder why they were still listed as single if we were in a serious relationship. And LG, why wouldn’t you be proud to list yourself as “in a relationship” with Rachel??

PS- Facebook is stupid. Get on Twitter!!

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Crystal Monae June 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Okay, so I’m weighing in a little late here, but I still have something to say!

Rachel, had you not described the scenario as it happened, I would have said that you are being paranoid. However, the silence and nervousness caused a billboard to flash in my head that said, “What’s The Big Deal?” I mean, does he not want anyone to know that he is off the market?

In addition, I must say that the “couples picture” is a bit much…more acceptable for married folk.

Crystal Monae´s last blog post…Polarization

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