January 12, 2012 catherinetownsend

Don’t Poke Me: Why I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Fiancé

America's most violent small town

People are always shocked when I tell them that I’m not Facebook friends with my fiancé. Especially since he’s a music industry executive with more than 1,500 female ‘connections’. I’m possibly the only women in L.A. who’s NOT linked to his page. But I don’t want to post sweet nothings on his wall. I don’t want to read messages from scantily-clad women named Bambi who want to ‘hit him up’ for drinks.  

I don’t want virtual flowers, and I don’t want to ‘poke’ him—at least, not online.It’s not that I’m insecure. I trust my man, and frankly even if he wanted to cheat he travels so much that virtual stalking would hardly be an effective deterrent.

But if I start clicking on Bambi’s profile, what’s next? Will I click on those Cabo bikini pics and start comparing her breasts to mine?   Suddenly a digital relationship is making my real one suffer. This is why I wasn’t surprised when I saw recent statistics in both the US and UK citing Facebook in an increasing number of divorces.

Facebook is like crack, and one click is never enough. And even when a relationship is going swimmingly, over sharing is a killer. So these days I treat Facebook like an online separate bathroom, where we each leave the door closed.  If my man knew how I spent every moment of my day, what would be left to talk about at night?

It wasn’t always this way. Five years ago, I was in a passionate but volatile relationship with ‘Paul’. It was love at first sight, and we were ‘in a relationship’, both on and offline, within 24 hours.

Back then, I believed in sharing everything. Looking back, my Facebook updates were car crash in slow motion, peppered with cheesy sentiments about how ‘blissed out in love’ I was, with someone whose last name I didn’t know. All of my friends wished us well, and seeing the giant heart on the Facebook page made it official. I was In. A. Relationship. Two months later, after he told me that he wasn’t sure he could ‘do’ commitment, I turned to Facebook for comfort. I couldn’t find an It’s Not You, It’s Me status, so I went for the next best thing: It’s Complicated.

This was a mistake. The next day, my in-box was full of concerned messages from people I hadn’t seen since high school saying things like: “There are other fish in the sea,” which would have come in handy if I owned a boat.

Meanwhile, it took me longer to end our virtual relationship than our real one. I had to individually delete every one of our happy, smiling vacation photos, and every  ‘Are you sure?’ was another knife through my heart. It was my own fault for over sharing, but even after removing my status I still hadn’t learned my lesson. After we broke up, I started scrolling through his female friends, trying to guess who he would date next.  Sophie was definitely pretty, but her last status update said she was in Chile. Helena was ‘in the mood for fun’…wait, was that a euphemism?

Eventually I de-friended him, stopped the madness and realized that Facebook was feeding my insecurities. These days I put much less emphasis on Facebook status than reality. For me at least, the happiest relationships are the ones that don’t need frequent updates.

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