His Facebook status. Again.

by singlemomseeking on December 21, 2009

Looking back on 2009, can you guess what my most-commented post is? It’s the one in which I wrote about the first fight I had with my boyfriend –  yes, THAT one about his Facebook status.

Clearly, this resonated with many of you. And as you pointed out, the real issue here isn’t really Facebook. It’s about trust.

I wish I could say that I never think about about his Facebook status anymore, that it never bothers me. (For the record, he doesn’t believe in listing his status at all, and prefers to keep it private.) But sometimes, it still irks me and my head spins with all kinds of fears. (To the tune of: Does he really love me?) I’m learning to give myself a little slack, since I grew up in a family that kept secrets, and I went on to choose men who deceived me.

Sadly, as an adult, I often doubt love. I seem to question commitment. That’s why — with every intention to enter the New Year with love and clarity — I picked up the phone and called Love Coach Rinatta.

Although we’ve emailed many times — and I always appreciate her comments on my blog — this is the first time we’ve talked. I was hoping that she’d help me wrap my head around this. And she did:

“You clearly have trust issues because of your past,” Love Coach Rinatta told me. “And thanks to the Internet, it’s a lot easier to cheat. So people do have to stay conscious and aware.”

That said, however, she added that “the way to do relationships is to stay very grounded and realistic.”

In order to help me to this, she pointed out that it’s important to separate my beliefs from what’s real.

I live online and express my feelings very openly here on this blog. I’m the kind of woman who wants to declare her love from every mountaintop.

The boyfriend, on the other hand, is very private. He turns to the Internet to read the news and email, but he doesn’t share anything personal online. In fact, he’s the guy who tells his friends to “log off and log into life.”

Love Coach Rinatta helped me see that his decision to keep his relationship status private is NOT about me “because anything that’s close to his heart is not on Facebook.”

“It’s a nice balance,” she added. You’re into very social media — and he’s isn’t.”

Love Coach Rinatta also asked me about his behavior in real life:

Does he regularly ask me to spend time with his family and friends? (Yes).

Does he openly express his love to me in real life? (Yes).

“Don’t look at social media behavior to decide what’s right,” she said. “Look at how he treats you. Look at whether there’s full disclosure in real life — and accept that he doesn’t post anything personal on Facebook.”

When I wrote about this last spring, all of you helped me wrap my head around this. Thanks so much.

My fears haven’t exactly vanished, so if you’d like to chime in some more, I’ll all ears.

~~~

In the meantime, I’m going to take get some time and space to reflect as we enter the New Year. I’ll see you in 2010!

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Swati Bharteey December 21, 2009 at 6:50 am

Sigh. I look forward to hearing the advice of other on this one. My boyfriend only uses facebook to keep up with family – and never writes anything there…he reads what others write, then calls. And now I just asked him his FB status (I didn’t think to look – I’ll take that as some progress on my part)…so he’s looking up his status while I type this (ack!).
What’s nuts about all of this is that I am now with the man who deserves trust and understanding…and yet I gave that to people who did not deserve it. (Mental note: 2010 goal – shed some more trust issues, enjoy what I have now.)
(Drumroll) My boyfriend does show he’s in a relationship on FB…but to your Coach’s point…my guy isn’t using facebook to connect with me. And I’m happy about that!
Happy Holidays –
Swati

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Nicki December 21, 2009 at 7:17 am

Trust is something that all of us who have been burned in the past don’t give easily. I know relationships are scary and challenging and gut-wrenching. They are also heart-warming, fulfilling, and enriching. We take the good with the bad and hope that on the scale of life, the relationship comes out on top. And somehow, we have to dig deep, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and just love him the best we can.

Always thinking of you and wishing you the very best.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Finally, another Gwen Bell 2009 Blog Challenge Post… =-.

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Michele December 21, 2009 at 7:38 am

When you’ve lived your life not quite knowing how to trust, it can be challenging to change that. I’m going through that now. What I am finding is that I am a much happier, calm person when I let go of “Why is he friends with her on FB?” “Why did I have to tell him to post his status?” “Where are the pics of me?” Aaaaarrrrrrrgh!!!!! Facebook is the devil.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..McCormick & Schmick =-.

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singlemomseeking December 21, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Love that Michele: “Facebook is the devil.”

Ha ha.

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Anita January 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Oh I agree, Facebook is the devil! My trust issues together with FB have a whole lot to do with my recent relationship turning sour :(

Legal Editor Mom December 21, 2009 at 7:42 am

First, I think you meant, “Look at how he treats YOU.” (Not he.) I knew what you meant, but just for clarity’s sake. ;-)

Rachel I’m involved with someone seriously who still has his FB status as “single” and it doesn’t bother me in the least. I don’t need him linking his status to my name “…in a relationship with _____” in order to validate his feelings for me. I KNOW how he feels about me, based on how he treats me. We talk every day, share virtually everything in each other’s lives, spend as much time as we can together, and are involved with each other’s families. Those who are close to us KNOW we’re involved, and those who don’t know will, if the subject comes up. He tells women who may be interested that he is involved with someone, and I do the same thing. So who cares about a FB status??

I don’t post a status at all. Until I am actually married again I will not list a status, one way or the other. It draws attention when you change it, and I’d rather not have to answer questions about why I’m suddenly single or listed as “no longer in a relationship.” But my family and friends know from my frequent upbeat posts that I am blissfully happy.

It’s easy to have trust issues based on past hurts, but you can’t hold your current mate responsible for the actions of past ones. It’s not fair to him, and wrecks havoc on the relationship you’re trying to have. You know that I was hurt very, very badly by my ex-husband, and for a long time wasn’t thinking of having another relationship at all for a long time. But I have someone in my life now who treats me with the utmost respect, love, and consideration, and you know what? I have no reason to doubt him, so my trust issues went out the window.

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singlemomseeking December 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm

All right, @LEM, you know that I’m going to ask this:

So, if you get married again, you WILL change your Facebook status? Why? I’m really curious.

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K :) December 21, 2009 at 7:55 am

i thing thats the whole point: disconnecting! every single person with internet gets into trouble, cos its a bit like an addiction. its easy to loose yourself completly in the virtual world, and other people cant understand, if u find something that is important and heartwarming there. its admirable to have such an adjustment, but i think THEY should give US the freedom we need.

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MindyMom/Single Mom Says... December 21, 2009 at 8:40 am

I think Love Coach Rinatta’s advice is spot on!

On the other hand, when my boyfriend emailed me to tell me that he changed his status on FB it did make me feel good. And without saying so in so many words, (although he did make a point to email me about it) I knew he wanted me to also change mine so I did – even though I prefer not to list my status at all for privacy reasons. For me though, it’s not a big enough issue that I would make it a sticking point.
.-= MindyMom/Single Mom Says…´s last blog ..Crumb-Babies, Christmas & Creepiness =-.

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Love Coach Rinatta December 21, 2009 at 9:11 am

Thanks for the shout out, Rachel. You seem a bit more relaxed about this issue now. Good for you! And it may take a while for all the fears to go away.

The thing that may help is to realize when the fears in you are triggered by the man in your life and when they are about the man in your life.

If you check your facts and everything is ok, but you still feel fear, you are being triggered and it’s time to go back into the past and heal some more.

But if your check your facts and things are off in your relationship, it’s time to work on the relationship.
.-= Love Coach Rinatta´s last blog ..Relationship Patterns: how the past still runs you =-.

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T December 21, 2009 at 10:06 am

Just from the brief bit that I know, I wanted to recommend a book to you Rachel. I’ve mentioned it lots of times and you may have read it already. Its called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. (website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/)

I wonder if perhaps you and your b/f don’t speak the same love language and perhaps that is why you doubt sometimes. All that means is that maybe he’s expressing love to you all the time but you may not recognize it all the time. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. It helped me to understand why the ex and I had problems.

Hugs. Hope it helps.

And Rinatta? I LOVE your always excellent advice!
.-= T´s last blog ..Not in My Wife’s Mouth! =-.

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Travis December 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

I actually find the 5 languages to be a compatibility breaker. If you are unable to show love in a manner that the other recognizes, then did you really show love?

If he cuts a tree down in the forest, did he tell it that it was for you?
.-= Travis´s last blog ..This Thought Brought To You By Nutella =-.

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Elizabeth December 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

It could be that your boyfriend has a healthy distrust of online communication, and miscommunication. Maybe it’s an interesting way of saying to you — I value our relationship enough to not expose it to my virtual “friends.” Judge me by how I treat you.

You’d know better than me.

I have to admit, I really like what he tells his friends about logging on to real life. And maybe I’m cutting him too much slack.

I do think we all need something to debate in relationships, a little grit in the pearl. If it’s all going well otherwise, could this be your grit? ;-)
.-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Rescue me? Not today… =-.

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singlemomseeking December 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Oh, yeah, Elizabeth, I think he would say exactly that: “I value our relationship enough to not expose it to my virtual “friends.” Judge me by how I treat you.”

Indeed, this is my grit…. you’re right.

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Legal Editor Mom December 22, 2009 at 6:48 am

Rach, FB just isn’t that serious to me. I have a married guy friend who didn’t list a status—until his wife called it to his attention and insisted that he do so. (His male friends can’t stop teasing him about it.) And I also have some married friends, both male and female, who don’t list their status at all.

To answer your question I’m not even sure if I’d post my married status, but if it’s with the guy I’m dating now, it would be a mutual decision since we’re both on and even have some mutual friends. Currently when he friends someone new, whether it be male or female, he tells me. (I didn’t ask him to, and I don’t inquire about who’s who if it’s someone I don’t know, even if she’s drop dead gorgeous!) I think it just stems from the level of trust and comfort we have in our relationship.

Interestingly on the news this morning they reported that FB is responsible for a number of divorces these days! (And my boyfriend’s brother says he won’t even get on FB ’cause it would cause too many problems in his marriage, which currently is happy!)

I just think some people give FB too much thought and power, when trust within the relationship is the most important thing. To that end, I read my boyfriend’s comments to others on occasion, but I don’t stalk his page or obsess over what he’s saying to other women. He’s always been a one-woman man, and I know that he’s crazy about me and is respectful of me, and that’s enough for me…FB status or not. I just think you have to get to that level, or you’re bound to drive yourself crazy.

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Travis December 22, 2009 at 8:59 am

Have you sat down and had that long talk about what that status meant for you?

FB status is no different than real life. How often do you like to go out, so the world can see you two together? Yeah, it’s no different, you want to the world know that you’re in a relationship.

FB is the exact same thing.

These are all your friends and family, coworkers and associates. And if you showed up with him at a company party just so you can show him off… it is the exact same thing as showing him off to all your friends who can’t be there in person.

Anyone who says that social media sites are different, do not understand that we “socialize” in different ways… And FB is as real of way to tell people what’s going on in your life, as it is to use a phone.
.-= Travis´s last blog ..This Thought Brought To You By Nutella =-.

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singlemomseeking December 22, 2009 at 10:23 am

@Travis: I really appreciate hearing a guy’s point of view here. Thanks.

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Danielle December 22, 2009 at 9:04 am

Coach Rinatta’s a very insightful women!
I agree with her and hope that you find some peace with it. You are amazing and he knows it in his own way.

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Talibah December 22, 2009 at 11:32 am

My boyfriend found out we were in a relationship…or at least that *I* was..via Facebook. Truth is, it had been awhile since I’d bestowed that title on anyone, and I just wanted to see how it would feel. I was sorting out whether I was ready to take that next step, and in fun, I decided to try changing my status as the litmus test.

I knew that it would cause a little bit of a ruckus and that there would be ramifications, i.e., the little bit of attention I still got from interested parties might dissipate. So, silly me. I changed my status, then I told my boyfriend to check my page.

*Then* we had a conversation about it. I was completely ready to go back to “Single”, because, like I said, I was still sorting out my own commitment. Anyway, that was many months ago, and I haven’t changed it back nor have I once had such a notion.

Because my status change was all about me, I hadn’t even thought about what he’d done…until I read this post! I just checked…he’s still “Single.”

But, in the real world that we are co-creating right here in the flesh, he’s in a committed relationship and leaves me with no doubts. Thanks, Rachel, for revisiting this post. And, thank you Coach Rinatta for the dead-on coaching!
.-= Talibah´s last blog ..Real Families: Meet My Co-Parent, Part 4 =-.

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MC December 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Rachel, I don’t think you should beat yourself up so much about your knee jerk response to his FB status.

There are very good reasons why you don’t want to “turn off” all your reactions to discrepancies of this sort.

Your reaction is telling you you should ask questions about it. The answers to your questions may fully address your concerns (as in the current case), but that doesn’t mean that your asking the questions has anything wrong with it. Because for another guy the FB status might be a real red flag and if you ask questions you may find some real problem.

It’s *always* worth asking questions about things that worry you!

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Sandra December 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm

I am going to chime in here and offer my unsolicited advice.

I don’t like the fact that he won’t openly list you as his girlfriend on Facebook or that he is even in a relationship.

If he is so private, why does he even have a Facebook ? If I didn’t want people to know my business, I wouldn’t even have a Facebook. And I don’t because I don’t want the pressure to put my relationship business out there.

I firmly believe that if a man is truly into you all the way that he will have no problem telling the world that you are his lady. He will want everyone to know that you are taken.

And I think you believe a little bit of that, because you are still feeling uncomfortable about this. You’ve been trying to talk yourself into believing that everything is okay, but you don’t really feel that way.

Your fears are completely valid. That is your intuition talking, and you should listen to that. A man that is truly into you would not try to hide you from the world. He would proudly put you on display, not try to silence you about it.
.-= Sandra´s last blog ..OMG………….Aaaawkward !!!! =-.

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Legal Editor Mom December 23, 2009 at 7:07 am

Rachel I want to add something here. I agree with some of Sandra’s comments and I definitely think that you should have a conversation with LG about this if it is bothering you so much. But personally I don’t think that something is necessarily amiss just because someone doesn’t declare a status on FB. And I definitely don’t agree that just because you’re on FB that you have to bare your soul or you can’t be private about certain aspects of your life. The beauty of FB is that you determine what you share and with whom. Not everyone is as open with private aspects of their life, but that doesn’t necessarily make them shady people.

Now if you have any other reasons to doubt how he feels about you or what his true position is in the relationship, then THAT’s what you should be focusing on, and the conversation can start with the FB status. But it should definitely not be the focus, or the determining factor that makes or breaks it for you. Just my two cents. xoxo

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MommaSunshine December 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Fear is tough to battle. The only thing that you can do is to keep building up evidence that you CAN trust him, rather than looking for reasons that you can’t.

I can definitely relate…trust me. The thing that I’ve found is that if you go actively looking for a reason NOT to trust someone, you’ll most likely find it – in even the smallest things. Why not go actively looking for reasons to the contrary?
.-= MommaSunshine´s last blog ..Merry Christmas! =-.

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Bonnie December 26, 2009 at 11:40 am

I’m going to play devil’s advocate. Why shouldn’t LG be upset that you are bugged by him not listing his status? He clearly supports your blogging about the relationship. Why not respect his need for some privacy in the online world? As someone who is also very private and remarried, I don’t use FB all that much and I don’t list my status nor does my spouse. My friends and family who care enough keep in contact and know my life by spending time with me or calling me. I don’t like all the time social media keeps me away from spending time relaxing with the people closest to me. I adore hanging out in person and catching up over a drink, meal or long walk. He has a high profile job as an attorney and one wrong online
move that his employer or client catches could end his career.
Respect in relationship goes both ways. Maybe respect that LG prides himself on integrity and deep relationships. Besides FB isn’t going to stop someone from cheating nor is it a gateway for cheating. If someone wants to cheat they will. I see status on FB as a just a way to flaunt to single friends that you have what they want.

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Viv December 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm
singlemomseeking January 8, 2010 at 11:22 am

Going to check that out now @Viv. Thanks!

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ms. not mrs. December 27, 2009 at 11:21 am

wow, i really enjoyed your honestly and that fact that you turned to someone else. often times, i think we all need to use our support systems more often. kudos to you for taking some time to reflect as the New Year quickly approaches. while i love facebook, i have seen it reveal it’s ugly face to me on more than one occasion.
.-= ms. not mrs.´s last blog ..Am I the only one? =-.

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LA Single Mama December 27, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I have a friend who was upset because her boyfriend didn’t tell her he loved her enough — yet, he spent an entire weekend fixing her porch, he always stops at the store if she needs it, he pays for things he knows she would like, but can’t afford, etc.

It’s probably obvious that I told her — he does tell you he loves you all the time, with his actions, not words.

That being said, everyone likes to “hear” they are loved, valued, “the one”, etc., the way they want to hear it — and the other person needs to be sensitive to that as well.

If I had a boyfriend on Facebook, I’d be obsessed with what he put on there. I get jealous of some of my male friends having girl friends on Facebook who I dislike. I can definitely be the jealous type — trust issues, too.

Hope you had a lovely holiday.
.-= LA Single Mama´s last blog ..Anxiety Before My Son Returns… =-.

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BigLittleWolf December 28, 2009 at 6:15 am

I am completely with your BF on this one. I have no personal information whatsoever on FB, and I like it that way. I simply don’t find it an appropriate place – for me – to declare personal feelings of any sort, about anyone in particular. It’s for information, dissemination of information, and occasionally locating friends who’ve moved about.

Personal feelings are for face-to-face, phone, even a good old fashioned note in postal mail.
.-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..Sex vs Lovemaking – why are we so confused? =-.

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Lilly January 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I hear you there, I also had my reserves when it came to my now husband. Trust me, it can be worst. When you are with someone who’s divorced with a child; who maintains daily contact with them, let’s just say, it is not a bed of roses all the time.
As a person you have to work on your self esteem every day. Telling yourself how important and beautiful you are and how it is always better to be by yourself than living with the wrong person.
That said, there are a LOT of great guys out there (including my husband), who take pride of who they are with but not necessarily have the need to shout it all around.
So, having my own experiences on the subject, DO NOT worry if your boyfriend/husband does not do things the way you would do them yourself. We are driven by feelings, they are driven by logic. Which will make a LOT of difference in the way we behave and act.
Good Luck to you all!

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MissGreyDay June 5, 2010 at 10:35 am

So interesting, I JUST had this talk with my new boyfriend. I am a lot like you Rachael, I like to shout it from the rooftops and he is the same as LG, wants to keep his private life…private. I guess I’ve just learned that actions speak louder than words (online words, too) and to focus on his “real life” declarations of love. (Introducing me to family and friends, meeting my family and friends).

It’s great to know that I’m not the ONLY one who may have struggled with this issue. Thanks!

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singlemomseeking June 5, 2010 at 11:55 am

@MissGreyDay: I can tell that you get it!! I’m learning every day to focus on what real love is, too. Maybe I’m just learning that for the first time in my life…. In the meantime, I changed my Facebook status to “engaged” and LG has left his as blank. His friends are telling him to just loosen up and let go… Wow. Yet he’s a man who holds tight to his convictions, and 99 percent of the time, I love that about him!

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sugarplum August 6, 2010 at 11:16 am

I think I’m a bit late on this post, but the never the less I could still relate. Me and the BF have been together now for about 9 months, and has not changed his facebook status. I’ve tried to ask him in a non psychotic jealous sounding way, but he says he likes to leave his private life, private. What bugs me though, is that when he was with his ex, he did have her on his status ( we were friends before dating). I don’t know. He’s also not that facebook saavy and rarely comments or posts things on peoples pages

All in all, I’ve accepted this and focused on the real life stuff, like meeting his parents, family and friends..

Thanks for the post, made me realize I’m not the only one who thinks about these things!!

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