Relationship Status Changed: Breaking Up In The Facebook Culture

So, if you follow me on Facebook there has been a change in the About Me section of my profile. My ex and I recently decided to call it quits. Now, before we get any preconceived notions about this post, I have no bad things to say about her. Yeah, there are things that bother me about how everything went down, but as a whole the relationship was mostly a time filled with fond memories. This post is all about how people in our society perceive breakups. Everyone knows about your relationships now and they are all seen with such intimacy on sites like Facebook.

Breakups are very personal things. Everyone takes them differently. In the social media heavy culture that we live in, these very personal moments are broadcasted for all to see. Now, that might not be a bad thing because there can be positives, as well as negatives created by making your relationship public domain. There are three groups involved in these breakups now. Where it used to be an intimate and private moment between two people, Facebook has allowed a new person into the mix: the public.

WTF?! :-/ HUH? OMG!

The problem with the public is that everyone has the chance to weigh in on whatever things happen in your life. This can be a time where people can try to pick someone up in a time where most people are down. Most of them are well intentioned and usually have a positive reinforcement behind them like, “That’s no good” or “Hold your head up!” and the ever hilarious teenager shriek “Call MEEEEE!”.

These conversations and condolences are historically done by close friends and people that can connect with you in order to try and pick you up in hard times. Also, these conversations were usually done in private, now you can read people giving you lazy condolences via Facebook while you sit alone in front of your computer.

The bad side about this though is that whatever people post on Facebook is public for all to see. That means you and the other person involved in the breakup. All too often, I see people post things like “Good for you!” and other types of encouraging things on Facebook and I think to myself that the other end of that relationship probably feels great about that. Up to this point, there as not been a single person comment or “like” my changed relationship status and I couldn’t be happier about it.

For future reference friends and people reading this, I don’t like that. It’s disrespectful to the other people involved. It isn’t your place to come out in public and tell the whole world that you are happy that other person is gone in your life.

I recently experienced this myself. In true Facebook fashion, exactly when you don’t want to see something, your News Feed becomes populated with only that thing. I saw all the likes and comments from people that my ex was involved with. And of course, since her friends weren’t my friends first, they are going to take her side.

I get that. If I thought any other way, I should be institutionalized. That is the problem with Facebook relationship statuses. They are so impersonal. Those private conversations that friends used to have among friends are now public to see at any time. People are so surrounded by new information about old people in their lives. It is almost harder to break up with someone nowadays because you have to be constantly surrounded by their lives. You get to see what people really thought about you. Sadly, the person who liked my exes newly single status never met me. This leads to a whole new can of Facbook worms: restraint.

Like I said earlier, I have no problem with my ex. But to prove a point I have to use personal experiences.

This is where Facebook can make a bad thing go horribly wrong. There were times where I wanted to just get on my exes comment section and just plead my case. I wanted people to know that I wasn’t a bad person and there were many things to prove my point.  I don’t like people to celebrate other people’s troubles. Too many times, I see this restraint not working for other people. It is too easy to pick a fight anymore. There are always status updates and people that go at each other on Facebook without restraint. I didn’t want to be that. I just sat back and hoped that I get treated with respect and not given an undeserved bad name.

This is where Facebook starts to really shape how relationships are dealt with. In times like these, people have a hard time dealing with emotions and want someone to make it okay for them and they want to get out every feeling that they have inside them. It used to be that you had to confront the person and tell them how you felt, but now you can underhandedly state a point about someone through status updates and other Facebook features. This invited others to comment and it can end pretty badly.

It is hard to get rid of someone if they keep popping up in your news feed. Luckily, you can unsubscribe to these updates if they are too frequent. Back in the day, once you deleted a person from your phone, they had pretty much disappeared from your life. Now, at any point during the day, you can open up Facebook and be reminded that either this person still cares about your feelings or they go on like nothing happened.

This is where culture has been changed and it is interesting to see the changes firsthand. You see the way that people truly are. Most of the time they are inconsiderate of others and don’t think about other people in times like this. Again, I am lucky to be part of a mostly considerate situation.

It sucks to see a culture so prevalent with people that are so out of touch with other people. We are so connected on every level that sometimes we forget that things like Facebook are public domain. Word gets around faster and fresh wounds can be poked at too soon. People assume too quickly that they know everything about certain situations since they follow a person’s Facebook page. Despite these virtual connections, it is still the personal ones that make all the difference and are the ones that matter.

To people who comment on breakups, please stop. It is disrespectful. If you really need to console a person, do it personally. Facebook is not a place for people to connect on personal topics, it is a place for passers by to lend their mostly unpersonalized and shallow comments on a life they know nothing about. We need to ditch these patterns of human compassion. If you really want to comment about a status to someone, message them or make it something that no one else can see. That is a private time, and you aren’t helping by publicly professing your views on something you weren’t a part of.

I think that this era of Facebook relationships has a lot to learn and even more to understand about the people they are “friends” with. It is hard to be anonymous when you want to be by yourself, but we also need to sympathize with everyone involved before we go crazy with the breakup comments.

Here are my final steps to breaking up in Facebook Culture:

1. Change Status for all prospective suitors to see

2. Take a day or two off from Facebook, as hard as that may seem.

3. Delete (if you can) or Unsubscribe (if you can’t delete) to your ex

4. Delete or Unsubscribe to their friends, they will usually just piss you off or hit on her/him as soon as they break up with you

5. Resist leaving scathing comments

6. Move forward and play some Farmville/Mafia Wars to make Facebook fun again!



To clarify, I have no problems with my ex. She was a wonderful person and I have nothing but good things to say about her and her family. I am a better person by experiencing our time together and there are no hard feelings personally. I knew it was an uphill battle going in so I can’t be too angry. Things just didn’t work. Anyone who has something ignorant to say will not be encouraged to talk about her to me. I just hope that I get that same respect for the man I was, and I’m sure that I will. But for now, it is time to move forward in this world of Facebook relationships. There will be someone new in the future for both of us and I’m sure that the News Feed will alert us both immediately after that happens.

Remember, if something doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, at least learn something from it.

That being said…Wait…that girl is newly single? I’m sure that she would love to hear some encouraging comments!!

Damnit…better launch FarmVille, have some eggplants to harvest!


3 comments on “Relationship Status Changed: Breaking Up In The Facebook Culture

  1. M. Chloe says:

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