My Mate Won't 'Friend' Me on Facebook
Ask Demetria: Couples who broadcast their relationships on social media may end up getting hurt.
My significant other won't add me as a friend on Facebook and hasn't updated his status to reflect that we're together, even though I've changed my status to "In a relationship." Is this something I should be worried about? What are the rules for couples on Facebook? --T.Y.
I've often been quoted as saying, "Facebook is the devil!!" When it comes to relationships, I'm not a fan of social media, especially Facebook, mostly because it hurts more relationships than it enhances. Current divorce statistics back up my loathing. One in five divorces involves Facebook, according to a story published in the United Kingdom's Daily Mail in 2010.
Of course, there are couples who exist just fine on Facebook. The partners tend not to do much visiting to or commenting on their significant other's page, and they definitely keep personal matters, especially lover's quarrels, offline, where they belong. I find that couples who exercise the appropriate boundaries of social media and don't fuss about it to be few and far between.
Last year BlackandMarriedwithkids.com, one of my favorite sites for relationship commentary, ran a story entitled, "My Wife Is NOT My Friend (On Facebook)." Contributing writer Eric Payne detailed the havoc wreaked on his marriage when he realized that he and his wife's status updates were, as Payne put it, "broadcast news coming straight out of our home."
Things got out of hand when the couple wasn't getting along, and the perceived-as-negative tone of their updates elevated a passing tiff into the territory of "strong disagreement." They reached their social media tipping point when Payne questioned the motivation behind comments on his wife's photos from men he didn't know and she took offense to his sensitivity.
"It came to me late one night that there is too much out there pulling at the hearts and minds of married couples, mine included, to allow to the unexpected nuances of Facebook interactions to be added to the pile," wrote Payne. "Right then and there, I knew what I had to do. I went to my wife's profile and clicked, 'Remove From Friends' without hesitation ... Now my wife and I exist as friends in the world that truly matters: the real one."