A recent scientific study titled, The Couple Who Facebooks Together, Stays Together: Facebook Self-Presentation and Relationship Longevity Among College-Aged Dating Couples, made the claim that couples who regularly interact on Facebook are in happier and more successful relationships than those who are not.
The study hit home in particular because I’m not Facebook friends with my girlfriend of almost a year, and I hope this never changes.
While some might think this is strange or assume that I’m in a secretive or miserable relationship, the real reason is simple — we won’t friend each other because we have nothing to prove.
To be clear, I’m not calling out couples who share funny and cute links on their one another's walls from time to time. I’m talking about couples who oversaturate social media with their love, from daily PDA pictures to constant commenting on each other’s statuses.
My gut feeling every time I see this type of dynamic play out is one of suspicion. I often wonder, how happy is a person if it’s necessary for them to have their happiness constantly reaffirmed in a public sphere?
In one particular scenario, I noticed a random acquaintance post on her fiancé’s wall, “So excited to marry you in 4 months!”
My immediate reaction to this was questioning why she couldn’t send this cute note via text or rather tell him in person.
If we now have the luxury to communicate privately in so many different ways with our partners, why do we feel the need to go the cheapest and most public route? Why are we saving the most intimate words, like "I love you" and "I’m so excited to marry you” in the same place where our grandparents send us FarmVille requests?
According to the study, the answer is these aforementioned couples are more committed.
In one portion of the article, the author alleged:
The more participants listed themselves as 'in a relationship’' with their partners, shared dyadic photographs, and wrote messages on their partner's wall, the more commitment they experienced.
My theory is these couples aren’t as “committed” or ecstatic as they appear to be. There’s a thick feeling of insecurity that permeates each one of these lovey dovey posts and it’s an experience I never want to share with my girlfriend.
What oversharing translates to is the notion that you love showing off your relationship more than you love the person you’re with. While a relationship touted around on social media appears more committed on the surface, to me it appears hollow and desperate for approval.
What I want, and I hope everyone wants for themselves, is a genuine relationship that solely exists in the now. It all boils down to making special moments for myself and my partner, not for other people.
Recently my girlfriend and I took a trip to New Orleans for my birthday. What I remember most is how we ate beignets in a park right before the clouds opened up and drenched us in a warm rain.
Never once did I think about Facebook as we took refuge in a sculpture garden, or how this experience would later make for a cute status. Instead all I could feel was the shock and amazement that this was actually my life.
At age nineteen, as I lay incapacitated in my bed after coming to the realization that I was gay, I never imagined that eight years from now I’d be standing in a beautiful city next to an even more beautiful girl.
It goes without saying that I’m insanely grateful for my life. Knowing what life was in contrast to how it is now has crushed the dark desire inside me to prove that I’m loved by another person. As I become more confident in myself and my relationship, the hunger of my ego continues to fade into non-existence.
I’m only 26 years old, but I’ve suffered enough to know that my efforts are better spent living a happy life than endlessly trying to curate one.
Facebook is a fool’s game for couples. If you truly love a person, you shouldn’t need an audience.