But sadly, it’s also normal nowadays for people to feel as though their relationship is not valid unless it’s ‘official’ online.
I can’t be the only one who, when starting out a new relationship, has been asked: ‘Is it Facebook official yet?’, as if allowing your partner to make the cut onto your profile information makes the relationship any more serious than it already is.
In fact, in a recent Facebook group I spotted a post from a girl seeking advice from others, asking whether it was okay that her relationship wasn’t ‘Facebook official’ and whether it meant her boyfriend wasn’t into her. They’d been together six months. Their relationship wasn’t a secret – they just hadn’t confirmed it on their Facebook profiles.
I was confused – they’d been together half a year already, who cares whether people online know about it or not?
But I understood her dilemma. Because we’re so often made to feel as though the relationship can’t possibly be real without social media confirmation, we start to doubt it. And that’s incredibly sad.
I can’t pinpoint a time when it started becoming important that relationships were made official on Facebook. Perhaps it was when Facebook first started, or maybe it was when the younger generation who began using the site in their teens started chopping and changing their status each time they started dating someone new – as let’s face it, it isn’t too common for relationships to be truly serious when you’re under the age of sixteen.
Regardless of where it started, it’s still raising cause for concern still – and I just don’t understand it.
When you’re confirming a relationship on Facebook, you’re not confirming that the relationship is perfect or that you’re really happy. All you’re confirming is that yes, you’re together. It’s proof to your friends online that you are both that invested into the relationship that you’ll happily announce it publicly.
For others, who are a little bit more insecure, it’s proof to other attractive people that your partner is very much taken. Come on, you know it’s true.
But you don’t need to notify other people with your relationship to prove it’s legitimate. Social media really should be the last of your worries in terms of being part of a happy relationship.
A happy relationship should be about you and your partner. Spending time together, making each other laugh, and being intimate with one another. These are three of the most important factors in a relationship – social media doesn’t even come close.
But still, despite having this in a relationship, we get upset when our partner doesn’t accept our ‘relationship request’ or simply doesn’t see the point in putting it on the internet.
While some may see this as their partner being ashamed of them or wanting to hide the relationship from their friends and family, often this is not the case.
For instance, my partner and I decided against the whole ‘Facebook official’ thing simply because we wanted our relationship to be private, and solely about us. We all know that there’s always the chance somebody could attempt to come between you – be that an ex or a friend who isn’t keen on your other half, and we didn’t want that.
And others should understand that this is a common feeling among people in relationships who would just prefer to keep things in reality.
To them, the first thing that goes through their heads isn’t ‘I need to put my relationship on Facebook’. In fact, the thought of it can be really off-putting, at least for a little while until things are really serious – because what’s the point in making it public if your relationship is still fragile? If you’re happy to confirm you’re in love online so soon, are you happy to have a public breakup too?
Ultimately, I feel our need to make our relationships public online stems from a need to overshare with the world. We’re so used to it. We use Instagram to share updates of our day-to-day life – often over-exaggerating photos to make our lives seem more perfect. Vacations, work trips, fancy food, fitness posts, you name it. What we don’t see is the lazy mornings, the days you just want to spend eating all your favourite junk food. The bad day at the office.
And it’s the same with Facebook. We dedicated our statuses to positivity – wanting to prove to our ever-growing friends list that we’ve got our lives in order, because god forbid some old school friend knowing we’re still not completely content with life.
And for me, that’s what being ‘Facebook official’ is. It’s to prove to others that you’re in a relationship and it’s genuine enough to make it public. There is, other than that, no actual other point in clicking the ‘accept’ button when receiving a request from your other half.
And that’s absolutely fine. For some, it’s just a natural first-thought. They don’t even think about why they’re posting it, it’s just the norm.
But it’s an issue when one half of the relationship isn’t keen on putting their private relationship online and the other can’t handle it. It shows insecurity and that perhaps keeping their friends online in the know is more important than their partner’s wishes.
The bottom line is, making your relationship ‘Facebook official’ really shouldn’t be a big deal – or even an important aspect in your relationship. It should be kept as it is, if anything – just something you do to add a little bit more information to your page or just because you both fancied doing so.
But it should not be a dividing factor in your relationship, or one that leaves you feeling insecure or frustrated that you can’t prove to people you likely don’t even talk to that you’re not single.
I understand that for some people, it can be nice to show off their partner to the world – if not just to have digital memories to look back on.
But posting your relationship status isn’t a memory. It shouldn’t be routine in a relationship, and it shouldn’t be something that leaves you questioning the seriousness of the relationship.
If it does, you certainly aren’t secure in it.