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Facebook vs. Relationships

Turns out Facebook has been creating more drama for people in relationships, and I can’t help but wonder why.

Weeks ago, I was talking to someone whose boyfriend put “insensitive to the relationship” comments on another chick’s page. Shortly after, I was talking to another friend who couldn’t get his girlfriend to change her status from “Single” to being “In a Relationship.” The next one pointed out to me that the “Poke” button should automatically disappear once it is noted that a person is in a commitment. The most recent one was with my friend throwing a bitch-fit over some random chick clicking “Like This” on her man’s every single status update...

I know… It’s easy to be that third person – out of the box, pointing and saying how stupid and petty it is to let some social network tamper so much with one’s personal life. But in speaking with all these people who’ve had something to say about how Facebook has complicated their love lives, I noticed that they all had two common denominators: 1. Suddenly feeling less important, and 2. Worrying about what other people would have to think and say.

Friend 1: “His primary photo was our picture together! Then he starts commenting on how he hates that his ex in a relationship with someone else now. What are people gunna’ say? He’s no longer happy with me?!”

Friend 2: “We’re perfectly sweet all the time. But why can’t she put that we’re in a relationship? Is she secretly embarrassed to be with me?”

Friend 3: “What is the poke button for anyway?! Making grinding behind some chick at a crowded club easier?”

Friend 4: “Damn bitch’s on Auto-Like! Sometimes I feel like I have to beat her to it!”

Friend 5: “Now it's Mafia Wars over sex!” (Sorry, just had to include this.)

We’re all pretty admitting of the fact that Facebook is the number one social networking site on the internet. It’s now either a habit or an addiction. Now it’s all about status updates before homework, making sure an FB window’s on minimize at the office, and downloading Facebook mobile for those times we’re on-the-go.

The site is proving to be as good for broadcasting marital and relationship discord as it is for sharing vacation photos. With just an hour of clicking here and there, you become a witness to people’s lives and keeping in touch with them has never become easier. It enables the most introverted of people to let you know how their day went, and the most extroverted of people to confirm every single psycho adding them up. And since even grandma has an account, your list of contacts become so diverse – from your nun of a high school teacher to your sex-crazed college buddy.

Must these facts, however, justify couples’ fretting over FB boo-boos? Is logging in to Facebook a bona-fide equivalent to “going out in public” – where everything posted will be subject to public scrutiny and judgment? And if so, do people then have every right to get upset over their partners’ online slip-ups?

I would think, to a certain extent, that couples do have a right to address online bothersome behavior – depending on the gravity of the offense and depending on how big of a deal Facebook really is to them.

But at the end of the day, relationships should work only because two people have decided to make them work on a larger scale. Facebook, as powerful and influential as it is, should only be of minimum concern to couples. Sure, the profile may be an extension of a person; but it’s not just about commenting/liking this/writing on walls/tagging/giving virtual pets (?) to make the other person feel special; nor is it defining the relationship over what other people have to say. It’s about real communication – talking, identifying problems, working them out, and literally seeing eye-to-eye… and… well… putting sex before Mafia Wars.

A relationship is made up of two people. Not two people with 506 other friends.

The Second Fall

Against all the demands of norm, she flung her true self out to the world with carefree delight. She knew who she was and embraced her every scar, her every inadequacy, her every flaw… She knew that her soul’s colors, though stained, were indeed still vibrant. Her experiences, like tapestry, were woven so intricately – creating a picture of the vivacious life she had already been living.

Not too far in the distance, he noticed her again.

She never dimmed this growing flare inside for anyone. She was tired of those who placed expectations and imposed limitations on her as a person. And so with all the passion, eccentricity and valor that would have made Shakespeare and Van Gogh proud; she ran out into the field of life, oblivious to any ditch that could have been waiting anywhere ahead. Happiness was never too far with this freedom in her heart.

He then followed her like a steady cloud.

She knew he was there, and she stopped leisurely to let him enter her life again. Keeping a watchful eye, however, she kept her emotional distance from him with the caution of an untrusting feline.

Friendship blossomed steadily as he quietly strode beside her for the rest of the days that followed. He had let her run further into her field of vivid thoughts and dreams – watching, listening and somewhat even guiding, when her paths came to sudden turns and dead-ends.

He saw the true her, and still reached for her hand – knowing very well not to let go.

Inundated with the worries of a heart slowly unbolting to emotion, she became fearful of the sudden ease she began to feel with his lingering presence. There was the simplicity she had long sought with him before. He had suddenly singled himself out from the other men that had entered her life before him -- with his simple gestures of affection and quiet understanding of the world she lived in.

Then like an anchor dropping in the currents of her life, the happy days came to a sudden halt when she stumbled and fell off a cliff not too far from where she had been running.

Seconds before plummeting to the ground below, it was he who flashed in her mind; and her hopes that he would be there to break her fall. On the steady descent down to her greatest failure, two arms locked around her…

And there he was…

Catching her when she needed him most.


She was now back in the very same golden field. More days had passed, and from her guarded heart grew a more vulnerable and trusting one. The field was her haven, and she was slowly beginning to let him become part of the happiness it brought her. It was as sure as gravity that her thoughts and care began to evolve around him.

With the distance closing more and more between them, she finally saw him too.

And finally, let herself fall...

(June 4, 2010)
Optimistically Disenchanted | TNB