It’s Complicated: When (And When Not) to Update your Relationship Status on Facebook


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Long gone are the days when the biggest worry of a couple in a new relationship was when to have “the talk” about whether or not theirs was an exclusive relationship. Now, even after a couple has decided they are exclusively dating, there still remains the Facebook dilemma. When is the appropriate time to update one’s relationship status? Believe me on this one: the appropriate time is not after several drinks! As the saying goes, “Don’t drink and Facebook!”

Things tend to be a bit easier if one partner is on Facebook and one is not. The partner not on Facebook cannot be tagged in a relationship status update, and therefore has no way of knowing whether their partner has listed themselves as being in a relationship. Thus, the only issue that can arise in this situation is if the partner on Facebook prematurely indicates that he or she is in a relationship before both partners have explicitly determined that they are dating exclusively. (Unless, of course, one lists that they are in an “open relationship” on Facebook before they have had “the talk.”)

It gets complicated when both you and your partner are on Facebook. First, what should you do if you start dating someone with whom you are not already Facebook friends? When is okay to Facebook friend them? Ideally, you shouldn’t Facebook friend someone until you have been on several dates and know for sure that you will continue to see each other, or at least continue to be friends. You don’t want to have to defriend someone because after a couple of dates you realize the two of you are not at all compatible.

Next, there’s the biggest issue of all: when should I change my Facebook relationship status? Again, you should make sure that both partners agree that they are in an exclusive relationship before taking the “Facebook plunge.” Remember, relationship status updates are public, and you don’t want all of your friends watching you change your relationship status from “single” to “in a relationship” back to “single” within a few days or even a couple of weeks. The best way to determine whether or not to change your relationship status is to talk it over with your partner. Make sure that both partners are comfortable with publicly declaring the relationship.

What happens when your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to update their relationship status on Facebook even though you are dating exclusively? You shouldn’t take it personally, as there are several valid reasons that they might not want to update their profile. First, they might not like to make much of their personal information public. Take a look at your partner’s profile. Does he or she list much personal information? If not, don’t take it personally. Next, your partner might not want people commenting on his or her relationship change. Perhaps he thinks his friends are immature and is worried about the juvenile comments they will leave on his Facebook page, and he doesn’t want to subject you to this immaturity. He or she is just trying to protect you. Or, maybe he or she just doesn’t buy into the whole Facebook relationship thing. Again, you shouldn’t worry: after all, you don’t need Facebook to tell you whether or not you are in a relationship.


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  • Cindy Scott