Tracey Thomas and Ricky Lane have been officially broken up for two weeks. But that’s in the real world. Online, specifically on Facebook, they remain an item.
But, why? The two have no intentions of reconciling. They only dated for about three months before they decided they were incompatible and completely bored by each other. Unfortunately for both of them, they had already taken the plunge and were in a Facebook relationship with each other. In order to avoid the notorious broken heart symbol and the numerous friends and acquaintances who would comment on the personal change, the two have just decided to leave themselves together online.
This story is not an isolated one. Since it’s inception, Facebook has taken the already muddy world of relationships and officially made them “It’s Complicated.” On the one hand, many people rush into being in a Facebook relationship out of excitement to show off a new significant other and to know that significant other will have officially gone off the market for others checking their profile. On the other hand, they often look before they leap, leaving them regretting having to have the world know when they go through something as awkward as a public break up.
And officially breaking up is just the tip of the ice-Zucker-berg when it comes ways Facebook has changed our social interactions. Between who we allow to see what, how we can manipulate our privacy settings, how we throw and plan and promote parties and social gatherings, how we keep in touch with people we haven’t seen in years and may never see again, how we say goodbye to loved ones, and how we tag our pets as humans are just some of the hundreds of new anxiety-building methods that we have to communicate with one another.
It’s the little broken heart that sets the break up apart from all else on Facebook, however. Both Thomas and Lane (among numerous others) agree that their hearts were not broken when they broke up with each other. They just want to avoid the numerous people who will comment on the status change. Or, even worse, send messages condoling them or writing notes about starting over and tagging them in it.
So, they stay together. And, as a result, still hang out with each other once in a while, mostly so friends can get a picture of them together, tag it, and there are no worries about whether or not their still together from well-meaning friends. The Facebook relationship, for these two, is almost like choosing to make the commitment and have a child together. Though they no longer want to be together, they must put up appearances so people don’t judge them or stick their nose in their personal lives.
Ah, the perils of the new world.