Hi, I’m Kale! Today I want to talk about why I stopped using the relationship status feature on Facebook.
When you practice non-traditional relationships, it’s not unusual to notice how the world around you is focused on the almighty Couple. You constantly bump in to social structures that reinforce that two is the magic number.
From innocuous seeming things like
package vacation deals for two or
invitations extended to you and plus one,
all the way to huge, life affecting things like not being able to bring your Important People to meet your family
or put them on your work benefits.
Growing up in a couple-centric culture, I’d assumed that there was nothing I could do. But lately I’ve been learning to stand up in small ways.
I started questioning those norms, looking at where they exist, asking what they mean in my life.
I started challenging the the defaults, the assumptions, the structures.
I examined the places where hierarchies are socially imposed.
I am still doing it. When I bump into something, I see if there are changes I can make. If there aren’t, I talk to the people around me about how it makes me feel.
Can we dismantle heteronormative stereotypes in one night? No. Can we unlink our OKC profiles so it doesn’t position one relationship above another? Yes.
It’s very much an ongoing process, I can’t imagine ever being finished.
That brings me to a challenging space : Facebook. One thing about Facebook that has put me off for a long time is the Relationship Status setting.
What flows from that status is a whole lot of assumptions made by people who see it.
Those assumptions pop up frequently, in the comments, shared memories, in celebrated anniversaries. All things that reinforced the magic number two.
Of course now you can have Open Relationship, and I’m sure soon, if not already, you’ll be able to link more than one profile.
Another option is to say Open Relationship and leave the other name blank, which could say ‘I am in relationships with an unspecified number of people.’ That is what I did for a while.
Then I began asking what statement does that make? Is the point to make it seem like at least I’m not single? Being single is awesome, it shouldn’t matter if people think I’m single or not.
Does it let my internet friends know that I have Important People? If they know me, they know that already.
For me, regardless of what changes Facebook makes, the relationship status is clinging to a monogamous norm that I don’t want to be a part of any more.
No matter what you set your status as, someone will always be left out. Who do you include?
Person A is the one I’m currently connecting with deeply on an emotional level, but Person B is who I am spending the most time with. Then there is Person C, who I am crazy about, but we don’t sleep together.
Since I don’t subscribe to the idea that sex makes one relationship more important than another one, that doesn’t influence who my Important People are. On top of that, the relationships in my life are always shifting, and what they mean to me is also shifting.
If I link someone to my profile, then a few months later realize I’m not seeing them very often, do I take them off?
Even if I linked five, twenty, fifty people, someone could feel left out. Where does it stop? As soon as I link anyone, I am separating them from everyone else.
Where I landed on all this: I am done with relationship statuses all together. I don’t care if the people in Facebook land know anything about my relationships, about who is important to me.
I care that my Important People know what they mean to me, and I have much better ways of showing them how much I love them than by linking our profiles.
I would love to know how you feel at all this, please post a comment down below or join our Facebook discussion group. And subscribe to my channel and follow my Twitter to get future videos. Thanks for watching, bye!