Does “Facebook Official” Make it Official?

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By Ally Lopez > Senior > Journalism > University of Maryland, College Park; Photo by AR > Sophomore > Graphic Design > UMBC

We’re living in a time where our lives are digitally documented, especially on Facebook. With our personal lives so open to the world, where exactly does your romantic relationship fall into the world of virtual romance? Everyone sees what’s going on in your life—the good and the bad—but solidifying a relationship online raises the question of whether Facebook has become too personal.
 

 Nick Alexander, a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, argues that being “Facebook official” holds no significance to a real, meaningful relationship, and that this public declaration of love shouldn’t affect a relationship.

“As a private person, there’s no reason to have all of my business out there on the Web,” he said. “What matters is that close friends and family know what’s going on, and that should be good enough.”
 
Is making your relationship “official” on Facebook a deal breaker or completely forgoing the exclusivity and privacy of romance? University of Delaware student Marie Giancoli says that she felt paranoid when her boyfriend refused to accept her relationship request. “It makes me think that he’s ashamed of me, and it’s honestly kind of shady because I think he wants to look single or something,” she said.
 
Facebook is as much a part of your life as you make it, and having a relationship in digital writing has an impact on feelings for some, while for others it carries no meaning at all.
 
“It just makes everything more complicated and awkward,” said Giancoli. “Prolonging a commitment on Facebook adds pressure and stress because I worry about if I’m jumping the gun and mistaking his feelings for me. Making it official just takes a huge weight off of my shoulders because then I can relax and be comfortable in my stable relationship. ”
 
In the Journal of Cyber Psychology & Behavior, a collection of research of college students’ romantic relationships on Facebook presented an interesting find. Rather than enhancing social activity and communication between two partners, the study shows that Facebook actually inhibits the relationship by causing more fights.
 
With this study in mind, it’s evident that the complications and awkwardness of a virtual relationship confirmation not only affect a relationship, but breakups, too.
 
“Having everything put out there brings about too many questions and a relationship is for those two people, not my 400+ friends,” said Alexander.
 
“That little red heart always grabs unwanted attention in a newsfeed, and I know that it’s made me look and feel worse in previous breakups,” he added.
 
 
This article is first in a week-long series of stories about online relationship etiquette. Check back tomorrow for the next addition!

College Magazine Staff

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