Romance in a Trivial World

This column was written by Rollo

I was with my boyfriend for an entire year before we decided to publicize our relationship on Facebook. Our relationship was stable––the potential for an embarrassing or awkward public internet breakup had almost nothing to do with our decision to delay becoming “FBO.” My cringing at the thought of having my Facebook “friends” seeing my relationship status had more to do with the nature of “like buttons” than anything else. They seem silly and trivial, and it is that trivialization of our relationships that make them so awful.

“Like buttons” let us, almost reflexively, click away without a second thought. While they’re harmless most of the time (when you’re “liking” your friend’s drunk status updates, or another “What’s your Patronus?” quiz), they are the most meaningless and even slightly offensive gestures to make about something as important as a relationship. We all know that the “like button” will never die, and if you post your relationship status on Facebook, all of your old high school friends you’ve stopped talking to will like, like, like away to their hearts’ desire.

Fortunately, I didn’t get a “relationship request” sent from my significant other: a simple choice of approval or denial. I didn’t have to explain to him why I didn’t want our business on my wall. We had a mutual understanding that our relationship needed no justification through a social media network. So, over a year later, when we did decide to become official on Facebook, we left the status up for only a few hours––a small social experiment more than anything else. And I was right. All of a sudden, people I hadn’t talked to in years and didn’t even know well in the first place were “liking” my relationship––one that they knew nothing about, having not met the other person in the relationship. And with that, I deleted my Facbeook, and haven’t had to look back since.