Dear Black People: Facebook Doesn’t Make Your Relationship Real

Dear Black People: Facebook Doesn’t Make Your Relationship Real

These days, it seems like nothing is real unless it's on social media. One of our relationship writers shares how dead wrong this show-and-tell theory is.

Dear Black People: Facebook Doesn’t Make Your Relationship Real

“A relationship with no trust is like a cell phone with no service, all you can do is play games.” – Unknown

About two weeks ago, I got into a super heated argument with a woman online who just wasn’t feeling my take on privacy regarding love. “You have pictures up of your friends, but you’re ashamed of me?! Either share everything about your personal life or nothing at all.” That was her take on it. She literally compared images of drinks with the homies to her relationship with her man.



 Our exchange got so heated to the point where I was accused of being a cheater, a manipulator, someone who was ashamed of my significant other or insecure– all because I choose to keep my relationship off of social media. Luckily I have thick skin.

It seems like we’re obligated to share everything. From what we’ve been eating, to gym check-ins to our vacations and hell, even doctors’ appointments. In fact, the doctors’ appointment or I.V. selfies are classic and prove just how strong the, “it ain’t real unless it’s on Facebook” movement is.

At one point, sharing your relationship status on social media was optional. But now it seems as if it’s no longer up for debate. Either you declare to the Internets that you’re taken and by whom, or you’re the gahdamn scum of the Earth.

Here’s the deal. Facebook does not validate your romantic relationship. It’s a social media and marketing platform. That’s it! You CHOOSE what to share and with whom.

But somehow people have managed to give it power over our love lives.

If you’re a woman or man with a social media profile, no matter what you post, no matter how you look, no matter what you are about, chances are you’ve had a thirst bucket or five attempt to get at you. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or taken. Why? Because, for some, it doesn’t matter if you’re single or taken in real life. They’ll “like” pictures of you and your significant other and DM you a nude pic at the same damn time. Honestly, the most recent inbox intrusion I received was from someone who was very much married on Facebook and IRL.

Rather than being a way of validating your love status, I would argue that mandating Facebook coupledom is a form of insecurity and a troubling symptom of controlling behavior. There is a huge difference between declaring your love for someone to the world because you want to and feeling obligated to do so.

Think about it. You don’t want to be that annoying couple who constantly breaks up and gets back together via Facebook, do you? It’s dramatic, excessive and just plain exhausting.

A Facebook declaration will not stop a true dirtbag from cheating and it certainly won’t stop those who are willing to cheat with them. So simply update your “status” to being secure in yourself and keep it moving.  Trust, we’ll believe you and bae had dinner without a check-in, seven emoticons and 10 “usies” intent on proving your everlasting love. 

Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for EBONY.com and JETMAG.com. Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of, "Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self."

 





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