Recently, I separated from my girlfriend of a year-and-a-half. I sent emails to my family and best friend shortly thereafter.
Two days later, though, it was time to make things official: it was time to change the Facebook relationship status.
I logged in to my account, and then went to edit my profile. Beneath the spot where it said who I was in a relationship with was a little blue link saying, somewhat coldly, "cancel relationship."
I looked at the word "cancel." Couldn't they have chosen something more human-sounding? "Change relationship status" seems much less harsh. Maybe "end relationship" is more accurate. Maybe they could have offered something encouraging, like, "It's for the best." Or something a little more commanding, like, "Move on with your life."
I clicked the link, and my relationship was canceled.
Sort of. I hadn't saved yet. I was now offered the choice, "Don't cancel relationship."
Maybe I don't really want to cancel, I thought. Perhaps if I didn't acknowledge it on Facebook, the breakup didn't actually happen.
I clicked the link, and was greeted again with "Cancel relationship." I clicked back and forth several times. But no, thoughts of Facebook's power to save my heart were foolish.
I clicked "cancel" and then "save," and moved on with my life.
The news then traveled instantly to the other side of the world, where my friends saw it as a simple little note buried amongst other information. "_____ went from being 'in a relationship' to 'single,'" said the Internet. It paired the sentence with a little heart icon.
Responses followed, some private by email, others publicly for all to see.
The Internet has made it harder for us to be alone, to deal with life's issues alone. I hope it's for the best.