Should You Update Your Relationship Status on Facebook?

Getting into or out of a relationship can be precarious. Not only in reality, but in breaking news to extended friends and family through social media.

There is no etiquette book on how to proceed with these situations without looking like a complete and total jackass, looking desperate or alienating others in stating the simple facts of our love lives.

Yes, there are the hipster couples who believe their love is above the tawdriness of social media. They look down their noses at those who feel the need to declare their ‘status’ on Facebook. They laugh at those who fall prey to the groupthink of social platforms. They don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. They don’t need Hallmark holidays. Etc. Etc.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. But for the rest, their online lives are tied to their real lives so when there is a big change in one…It’s only natural to want the other to reflect it, right?

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The New Relationship

Thrilled to be in a new relationship with Aaron and after a wonderful date the night before, Candace opened Facebook the next morning and updated her relationship status.

‘In a Relationship with…’

She selected his name from her list of friends and smiled.

The congratulations started pouring in. Old friends started asking when they might get to meet this new man in her life. Other mutual friends were saying, “About time!

These friends had been out on dates with Candace and Aaron, had a great time, and were genuinely happy for the couple.

Two months is good, right? Candace thought so. It wasn’t too soon. In fact, she’d seen people change their relationship status within days of meeting someone. So imagine Candace’s shock when Aaron refused to accept her relationship status invite.

“I don’t need that on my profile!” he rolled his eyes, “We’ve been dating two months! It’s too soon.”

A lengthy fight ensued and the couple called it quits.

In the days that followed, it haunted Candace. She had really liked Aaron. What if she was in the wrong? What if Aaron was right and they didn’t need to broadcast to the world they were in a relationship? Maybe she really screwed up a good thing.

But let’s take a look at reality – If someone is upset over others knowing they are in a relationship with you, there are reasons why and none of them are likely good unless they are in the witness protection program.

Candace’s Side

“I really love Aaron. I am almost certain that he’s The One. We’ve been dating for months and everything about it just feels right. He’s funny, intelligent, handsome, has a good job, would be a good dad, definitely marriage material…I want to be with him for the long haul. I really do. So I didn’t see the harm in making it Facebook official to our friends and family. Normal people would be okay with this, right?”

Aaron’s Side

“Yeah, Candace is cool. But I just don’t know. There are a lot of women out there. I’m definitely not seeing myself getting married in the next five years. I am not ready for all of that. And Candace is sexy…Really sexy. She doesn’t try to hide that and I’m not quite sure I want my family seeing some of the pictures she posts. To be honest, they’d think she was a tramp. Oh…and my friends. For one thing, they’d all have to check her out and give me a hard time about it. Then, every time they ever saw me so much as talking to another girl, they’d start asking me ‘What about Candace?” and I kinda want to keep my options open, you know? It would take someone really special to make me totally shut down all options and reserve myself for only her. I just don’t think Candace is that person. I want to keep dating her, but I don’t want to put it up in lights just yet. Or probably ever.”


In the case of relationships, unless you are that aforementioned hipster couple, if one half of the couple wants to update their status and the other doesn’t, there is hesitation there. And hesitation is always worth talking about.

If the reasons why aren’t legit, then maybe it’s time to abandon the ‘ship. A relationship status change to ‘In a relationship’ shouldn’t make you cringe. If it does, it’s time for a talk.

There is always the case that it’s too soon. So when should you tell the world? For a new relationship, that guideline is:

When you both can’t wait to tell the world about it.

You’ll know it. Be with them after a great date or a magical moment and say, “You know what I would love to do? I’d love to be able to make it public that I’m with you. Should we update our relationship status on Facebook?”

This simple conversation can save a lot of heartbreak if feelings are not mutual.

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For the Newly Single or Divorced

This can be one of the hardest things to do after a breakup and you’ll never know it until you are there, staring at a drop down box with options in front of you, realizing the finality of letting someone go (And how stupid it feels that you are crying over a selection on Facebook).

It’s especially tough after a relationship which lasted many, many years. It’s easy to go on with life and forget it’s there somewhere on your social media profiles. ‘Married to Sarah Smith’.

The good thing, for you, in a divorce situation, sometimes your ex-spouse will do the honors for you and change their status first. Gratefully, this defaults your status to just ‘Married’ – No name attached, just ‘married’.

Here’s the thing about Facebook:  Your every move is announced. If you change your status to ‘Single’ or ‘It’s complicated’ – Everyone will know and you will get the questions from everyone. The answer to the question, “When do I change my relationship status on Facebook after a breakup or divorce?” is this:

When you know for a fact it is over, a respectful amount of time has passed, and you are ready to talk about it.

If you’re not ready to talk about it, don’t change your status. If there is still hope for resolution, don’t change your status. If you and your spouse just had ‘THE fight’ – That final showdown you are convinced will end everything…


In the case of breakups, there are only a few reasons to change your relationship status. Think about these things before you hit that button:

  1.  Does everyone really need to know your business?
  2. Has a significant enough period of time gone by in which you know you’re not going to work things out? What’s a significant enough period of time? It’s very relative to how long you’ve been together and how well-established you are as a couple. There is no wrong amount of time, but there are amounts of time small enough where you will face more blowback, social damage and judgment.
  3. Are you ready to answer all the questions about what happened to well-meaning people on social media who may say insensitive things?
  4. Are you in an intense emotional state, right now?
  5. Are you itching to change it to ‘Single’ just to show your ex or to advertise to everyone on Facebook that you are now available to start lining up dates?

Remember, while changing your status can cause chaos, there is NO harm, even if they moved on and are already with someone else, in keeping your relationship status as it is for as long as you want, as long as you are not actively seeing other people.

If you’re wanting to stick it to them by being ‘single’ on social media – This is when you should definitely pause because it can backfire in serious ways, making the one who changes their status look like the cold, uncaring one.

Try using the in-between, more respectful status of ‘Separated’ before jumping straight from ‘Married’ to the desperate-sounding ‘Single’. Remember, attorneys are bringing social media actions into the courtroom now so tread lightly during dirty divorces.

While it seems like such a small thing, knowing when or when not to make it ‘Facebook Official’ can cause real tears and emotions. It’s not “Just Facebook”, it’s a mirror reflecting our lives, how they are, and how we want the world to see us and our relationships.




What Makes Love Last?

Very often, the most important people in our lives become neglected because we are busy with other factors in our lives. We become so focused on what we want, that we totally lose sight of what others need.

For example, we want security and a happy, memorable family life full of love and laughter.  So, we focus on having a beautiful home as the base for our family, followed by vacations to make memories doing exciting things. In order to take vacations or to have a beautiful home (and do mundane things like paying the bills associated with the home), we have to make money. So we become focused on career and making money. Sometimes we need more education for our career, so we become more focused on education. We slave day and night towards certain end goals, not realizing they are slipping further away because we forgot the most important thing of all – Nourishing the relationships which are an integral part of our goals.

This happens whether you are focused on money, career, education, or even being at home with children attending to their needs. In the end, the person we love the most can often feel neglected and begin to question all means to every end. This can create a life of hopelessness, chaos and the feeling that there is an empty “need” inside which must be filled. Even worse, some people turn to other people or other unhealthy habits to fill the emptiness.

The only thing that will fill the emptiness is to focus, again, on the relationships that made you want to begin this natural life spiral that is the foundation of human existence. We are tribal beings. In forming our tribe, we create a safe space; A haven of existential tranquility where we can create, build, raise children, survive, be loved, accepted and needed.

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The Normal Progression of Romantic Love

For some people, this tribal familial need is more intense. Even as infants, we begin to seek those who affirm our boundaries, mirror our value and worth and prove our existence is meaningful. Psychological experts refer to these infantile qualities as “proximity-seeking”. We seek the comfort of our caregivers, our mothers, our fathers, our guardians. When the needs of a child at this age are not met, it can lead to lifelong attachment disorders. A neglected child is inadvertently told that their needs are not worthy or valuable.

Children of a very young age who are not given appropriate caregiving measures may develop a negative psychological pattern that they have no worth. As a result, a lifelong struggle will ensue with this individual floating through life desperately trying to please others, to prove their value to themselves and to others, and to experience rejections by others on a trajectory that may seem to wound them to the very soul where for those who had a normal, healthy childhood would have such rejections just graze across the surface as a shallow scratch. Some may consider these people “mentally tough”, but in reality, they likely either had a normal childhood where their needs were met or one where their needs were overly met so they became dismissive and callous. There are extremes to everything.

For those experiencing attachment issues resulting from childhood, new possibility will be awakened when they are old enough to discover romantic love.

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Constructs of Love and the flaws that end it

By most psychological models of love, it begins with sexual attraction. Relationships are  desired to stave off the ache of loneliness. New love brings fresh promises and is full of all the novelties that come with exploring the world of a new human being. Everything about love is exciting. We are launched into someone else’s world, meeting their friends and family, experiencing new music, movies, experiences, and things we’ve never known before. Some become addicted to the high of this “new-ness” and end up feeling disappointed, bored, lonely, frustrated and hostile when the feelings begin to fade. The more thrill-seeking the personality, the more potential that when the person falls out of love, it will happen with a crash.

Psychologist Robert J. Sternberg developed a very comprehensible model of love that condenses love into three distinct foundational blocks:

Passion is the sexual attraction, the physical chemistry that compels gratification in closeness.

Intimacy embodies the emotional feelings of warmth, sharing and communication.

Commitment is defined as our willingness to protect the relationship.

Consummate love is the defining term that embodies all three.

Inevitable of all relationships, passion and sexual attraction will wane. That does not mean it will completely disappear, but sexuality never encompasses the true core of a steady relationship. In times of stress, preoccupation or periods of disenchantment, it will sometimes be one of the first things to go.

Interestingly, the sexual relationship is sometimes marketed as being one of the most important factors in a marriage. Many a lingerie store has used advertising aimed at “spicing up” a tired marriage. However, it is only part of a whole. It can be argued whether or not it is the least important factor for lasting love considering it’s so purely physical. In time, these physical responses are dulled and become less important to aging couples. Yet, marriages still end all the time over sexual issues.

Intimacy also comes and goes to a degree, but should never vanish completely. It is important that communication remain open and that couples set aside time to communicate, even when it is the last thing they feel like doing. Studies have shown that high on the list of reasons for women to divorce is lack of communication and decreased emotional intimacy. Much social commentary would have you believe men are not very communicative individuals. The truth is, men and women communicate very differently. Generally, social matters and relationships are valued more by women than by men. Men who communicate regularly with their wives will generally have longer-lasting relationships. Wives who communicate kindly, gently and in soothing tones will have more successful marriages. When conflict is managed gently, both parties benefit.

Commitment. The saddest thing of all is when someone realizes that they are not committed to a relationship. They decide they no longer feel that there is something there to protect, defend and to fight for. They no longer feel that their spouse is worth this commitment. Whatever once made them think their relationship was special now makes them feel like they are holding a handful of valueless coins they just want to drop.

Certain types of people only find value in a relationship when there is novelty and excitement. They are easily bored people. Nothing their partner did has necessarily been wrong – They just don’t value human commitment in the same way. They will continue to move from person to person and likely regret this decision as their virility fades, their looks disappear and they become less attractive to potential suitors. They haven’t found contentment in familiarity and can’t let down their wall enough to be securely attached in a caring relationship with another human being. The novelty is gone. The thrill is gone. They turn their attention elsewhere, feeling unfulfilled. Twenty relationships down the road, they’ll still feel empty.

If you are with someone like this, there is not much you can do but count your losses. The painful thing about relationships is that even people who seemed to have the same goals in mind as you as far as building a long-lasting relationship will say absolutely anything in the beginning of a relationship to perpetuate the “high” of new love. It is only after a period of years where familiarity sets in, that they will admit a true long-lasting commitment is not what they wanted after all. They just wanted the adrenaline rush and thrill of new love. When it’s gone, so are they… And sometimes, they don’t even realize this about themselves yet and will attribute the normal watering down of excitement to your faults, making you feel unworthy of true love. So many people get bored and fail to  grasp the reality of inevitable relationship decline when it happens.

Relationships can end for so many reasons, including outside pressures (friends, family, etc.), irreconcilable differences in these areas, financial and economic hard times or when thrust into toxic environments which are unfriendly to relationships.

What makes love last

After ‘New Love’ fades., those who have success in marriage are cognizant of a lot of important things:

  1. They understand everyone is a little stupid in the first three years of a relationship – Blinded by new love, guided by sexual attraction, the thrill of not being lonely, the novelties of romance. It’s probably the worst time to make promises, yet it’s the time when most promises are made. Love has been found to have similar effects on the brain as cocaine.
  2. They get that relationship platitudes are unrealistic. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, “Never go to bed angry”, etc. don’t really mean much but they sound nice coming out. You always hear these on news stories when couples celebrating crazy high anniversaries are blindsided by reporters with questions.
  3. They know their partner may not be perfect, but neither are they. They are humble and thankful that their partner puts up with all their bad qualities. When you put yourself in the other person’s shoes and look at yourself – Maybe you snore, chew too loudly and listen to music your partner hates, too.
  4. They know the stages of love and aren’t depressed that love changes because they realize new love is replaced by a more permanent love based on companionship, their ability to be themselves and that someone is real enough with them to annoy them by the loudness of their own reality.
  5. They are faithful and quickly cut down anything in their lives that may be a threat to their relationship and avoid toxic people, toxic environments, etc. that would most certainly lead to the demise of their relationship. They avoid the overly flirtatious women and men, are open and honest about their lives so their partners have nothing to question and stay out of environments and away from people that encourage cheating or disrespect to their spouse. If they have chosen a life with this person, they also know sometimes that means cutting out family members who intervene.
  6. They are financially honorable and are aware that economic downturns happen and aware of the stress they can cause to family life. They do not take stresses from finances out against their spouse. They spend responsibly and conscientiously in regards to the needs of the family.
  7. They refuse to let their job stress affect their relationship. While their job may stress them out, they do not lash out at their spouses or give them the silent treatment. They learn to respectfully explain why they are disgruntled in a way that allows their spouse to know that they do not own a share of the hostility.
  8. They communicate. They talk about the big issues that destroy relationships and aren’t afraid. They aren’t the type to chronically sweep problems under a rug and hope they go away. They would rather discuss things in the open with their spouse, talk solutions and act on solutions rather than hide problems away until they become too problematic to be ignored.
  9. They understand the value of a romantic gesture. They do understand the importance of reassurances and checks and balances. They do not just tell their partner “I love you” – They show it in any means necessary. They add color to their partner’s life in little romantic ways and understand the need for surprise and how to replace the waning excitement of ‘new love’ with the surprises of established love.
  10. They have a sense of humor about life, their faults, your faults and are not condescending or rude. They do not gaslight, blame, keep records of wrongs or scorecards. They treat every day with you as a fresh slate.
  11. They are honest and trustworthy. When someone is trustworthy, they build a reputation with you based on truths. Every time they keep their word, your faith in them increases. When they do not, your trust decreases. Those in long-lasting relationships know it’s better to be honest than facetious.

And here is the catch – Not one, but BOTH partners must abide by the above. This is why long-lasting relationships are so rare and beautiful to witness.

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