Relationship Status: Who Cares?

The options this morning, pre lunch date with my fab blog partner in crime, were to either start a load of laundry OR blog. Need I say more?

Well, hopefully I’ll say a lot more, because, otherwise, you fine people will have no mental condundrums to dine upon. And I’ve been told an idle mind is a terrible thing to taste. (Or something like that) I stall…hey ho…but here’s the crux at the epicicenter of my daily terror and confusion I manage to get out of life each day (not that I’m complaining)…

I’m in a relationship.

Yes. I know. Gasp. Long horrified scream.You may ask even: What human would find her company tolerable long enough to enter this foray? And to that, I say, that’s not the topic up for discussion. No, the thing I want to blog about is the self-congratulatory “in a relationship” status that Facebook seems to con us all into adopting. Don’t get me wrong. I have no qualms with saying to anyone who asks me in the street (or doesn’t ask me and I end up just shouting it at them in a frenzy of post oxytocin dosing) that I’m with someone. I’m happy to be with this person, and I’m excited about the possibility of terrifying him with madness and glitter on a daily basis. But, I kind of balk when it comes to the “social media thing” and its desire to label and shame at the same time when it comes to the Relationship Status Update (RSU).

It popped up on my feed this morning from where my co-hort in RSU had changed his own status, and Facebook naturally (?) wanted me to confirm or deny these allegations. I confirmed. But also, FB wants me to post similar joining status on my own wall and “about me” section. So far, I have made no move on either front, but am digesting the larger picture that surrounds this seemingly simple action.

I’m not a big fan of labels in general. The irony after typing that right now is pretty overwhelming, because A: I do self identify as a feminist frequently and B: I’m the one who brought up changing RSU to my Boy that prompted this whole existential crisis. But, really I don’t want anyone to classify me as anything other than a woman, a human, and a writer. Pretty much all of those are apparent, although I’m sure there are days when debating the latter option may come into play. Anyways, when you get more technical on classifying people as feminists, or anarchists, or athiests, or whatever, then the stereotypes come out to go on parade. I support women’s rights and I support freedom for people to do what makes them happy so long as it does not harm others. Pushing a label onto that front does more harm many times because it takes away the element of communication about issues, reducing people to a single word, rather than a complex system of thought. It hardly ever works out like it should, I find.

Post lunch update: To me, the issue of declaring relationship status falls into the same category was changing your last name when you marry. It’s a personal decision that varies from couple to couple. If it matters to your mate that you change your name to join up with them, and you see no reason of opposition, then perhaps that’s the right decision for you. If your brand of feminism denotes that it’s important for you to hyphenate or keep your name, then that’s pretty much up to you too. Basically, when it comes to relationships, my philosophy is to do what works for you and not worry about what everyone else says. I’ve had so many friends and family give me opinions in the interest of being helpful, and they really just succeeded in messing up my already cluttered workspace of mental continuity.

Brandi says I’m overthinking things. And, as per usual, she’s absolutely right. But overthinking is what I’m good at so I’ll keep at it.

Here’s what I’m saying…I’m sure my Boy changed his status partly in deferance to my talking about said change being made, and hopefully because he’s as proud and excited as I to adventure with a fellow intellectual. If he didn’t change his status for another three months, then that would have been ok too. Because I know the score, and he knows what’s up. So, letting the known technically applicable world in on this 10% of the iceberg is harmless. (Until my dad wants to meet him!!!)

But also, this declaration is big for me and a personal accompllishment to celebrate on my own terms. Saying “I want to see one person in romantic terms on a regular basis,” is growth I’ve taken a long and hilly road to get to: littered with potholes and more construction crew work that anyone would think ¬†possible. But here we are. And I’m stoked!

Sure I’d like to see all the “likes” appear on my page from friends who approve of my behavior. But I don’t need that. And I think that’s what has aided my decision on what to do in making the declaration on my own wall.

The compromise, to keep myself honest and true to my beliefs as outlined above, is that I’m going to keep my relationship status in my “about me” section to where only I can see it. (Unless I have another great epiphany…or if Boy asks me to change it) Besides being enamoured with the idea that there’s a secret about me that “only” I can see on a medium as public as the interwebs, I hope this encourages people to talk to me if they want to know something real about my life apart from the funny pictures and sassy articles I post.

I put my RSU to where only I could see it over a year ago for several reasons, including the fact that it was a painful and unneccessary thing for me to agonize over. Also, partly because I had just gotten out of a relationship and it was hard to disconnect and admit that failure as well as explain it to others. Yet, also it has been private so long because I believe I’m entitled to privacy when it comes to that kind of thing.

I think a lot of times when there is a posting on FB of a relationship or whatnot, it can be used as a weapon to make others feel either inept and resentful towards the announcement that accentuated that they haven’t found their own RSU of satisfactory nature. And too it can encourage the societal expectation that if you don’t have a partner, then you are broken or not on the right track. I certainly don’t feel that being in a relationship or anyone not being with someone says anything about how “together” their life is. I was in a relationship for four years and it was a toxic sludge at times that said little to nothing about who I was or where I was going.

While we are talking about relationships and the ideal situation of sorts (and while Boy is reading this and wondering how to skip town and change his name with as little resistance as possible), I’ll say that couples are going to have to get on a different track of thought if we are going to work together and stay together. This applies to everything from using each other as status symbols based on our jobs or our attractiveness to keeing things from one another because of our own insecurities of losing someone who we admire and who admires us because we think they will be repelled by our humanity and its limitations.

When there is a joining of two people for short or long term purposes, and when things get “real” and two rings join, it should be the joining that unlocks the powers of this team…kinda like the Wonder Twins. And when that day comes for me I fully intend to tell all who matter to me in a way that is not designed to elicit any response, but merely to hope that humans CAN overcome our petty feelings and interface in a way that inspires wonder and beauty. But only when I am part of a power couple where that decision is acknowledged and supported because it is NOT in relation to someone’s status.

Yup…I definitely over-thunk it. So, who cares about my documented written record of thinking through a small nugget that lodged itself in my psyche? Talk amongst yourself. Class dismissed.

-Anna R. Kotopple

Update:FB does not allow anyone to see anything pertaining to your relationship status if you have made it invisible on your About Me page. Fie! Technology wins again. I’ll just go on and make the whole darn thing visible. At least you readers know my struggle. Ha ha ha

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