What do Your Facebook Status Updates Say About Your Relationship?

August 20th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

I love to share photos of Travis and I on my facebook (and virtually all other social media accounts.)

Last week I ragged on Travis for not ever talking about us online. I know we are both grown ass adults, but I saw a friend of mine refer to his ‘beautiful’ and ‘lovely’ wife a few times when he shared photos of them together and it made me both Awwww and Hmmmm (why doesn’t Travis do that?)

I already knew the answer before I brought it up. He doesn’t update his account very often so when he does it’s usually when something awesome just happened (like his first day of flying last month or winning 1st place in his age group at the 5k!) so pictures of us just sitting in bed watching movies on a Sunday don’t usually make the cut.
2014-07-27 13.52.12-2Does this mean anything about the state of our relationship? Am I reading into things?

Yes and Yes.

Research has found that couples in a ‘facebook official’ relationship are more satisfied than those who chose not to broadcast their relationship. Satisfied couples are also more likely to use a photo of themselves as their profile picture, and to post couple photos and affectionate comments on their own and their partners timelines. Those least satisfied in their relationships are more likely to keep their relationships private.

Wah wah.

2014-07-06 10.29.20-1I sent the article to Travis ans his response was “what are you trying to tell me?” I know it’s silly, but I do think it’s super sweet when he says anything about us online. It shows me that he’s proud of us, and that he’s as excited as I am to show off what we have. Not all personalities are the same though and I don’t think his lack of cutsey couple photos means he’s not as into me as I am. He’s just not that kind of guy.

But, he’s still my kind of guy.
2014-07-20 14.37.37-2

Do you agree with the research findings?
Are you more public, or private, about your relationship on facebook?

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59 Responses

  • Okay maybe I’m in the minority as a female but a guy who posts sappy stuff online would be a turnoff for me! My husband isn’t on fb much and I would cringe if he posted a “romantic” status or picture. We are both sort of private people (okay before my blog I guess) but I’m not into being all romantic on the internet. Don’t big Travis, he probably feels the same way :)

    • Erica House says:

      I think having this blog for a few years has forced me to become far more open. I was always a ‘tell all’ type of person but now that I shared 95% of my life online I can sometimes forget that other people have zero desire to do the same.

  • Larisa says:

    I’m not completely on terms what to think about this, but I do lean slightly on Travis’ side. When I started dating my boyfriend I didn’t post anything on Facebook because in those first tender months of our relationship I wasn’t quite sure if we’ll make it or not. As time passed I did add a photo or two and changed my relationship status but now that we’re 4 years firmly in this relationship, I haven’t really changed my policy about not adding cheesy photos on Facebook. I mean, don’t get me wrong, from time to time I like to snoop around my facebook friends’ profiles cause curiosity gets the better of me and I don’t mind seeing THEIR cheesy photos (or dozen of them), but I really like to keep my boyfriend and our relationship to myself. If you were to meet us in public you’d hear us cooing and talking sweet sweet sugary insuling spiking things to each other, but putting it on the internet… I don’t know, it kinda makes me uncomfortable for some reason. He on the other hand has no such problems, he’s a photographer and puts my photos up all the time, you can’t really miss my face on his wall.
    In the meantime, don’t stress about it, trust me when I tell you I love my boyfriend no less just because I get troubled whether I should promote us more in the social media or not. :) the same goes for Travis! We’re just that kind of people :)
    Oh and Erica, I LOVE your blog!

    • Erica House says:

      I love the blog compliments – thank you :)

      I am SUCH an open person that I can forget others don’t feel the same openness with their lives that I do. When I’m happy I’m ‘shout it from the rooftops’ happy, and in this age that means a Facebook or twitter updates.

  • SuzLyfe says:

    I hope that people don’t judge Alex’s and my relationship based on social media. Otherwise, they might guess that I am single….

    • Erica House says:

      Lol – is that a conscious decision? Or does it just not occur to you to talk about Alex?

      • SuzLyfe says:

        I wouldn’t say it doesn’t occur to me. I think it is just a representation of the unfortunate reality of how much time we get to spend together. And then when we are together, it’s pretty much just about us

  • briwifruit says:

    Didn’t that paper also say that those who posted frequently about their relationship on FB were also more insecure? My bf and I never do (save for an anniversary or birthday) because our relationship is really nobody else’s business. If I have something nice or sappy to say I tell him in person, not broadcast it… same way I call my best friends to say happy birthday instead of writing it on their wall. It’s more personal. So don’t feel bad about that, Erica!

    • Erica House says:

      Research Methods Teacher Fail: I didn’t read the original article! I’ll have to look for it to find what it said (I took the excerpt from a Psychology Today nwes post this week.)

  • Carla says:

    hmmmm and I never mention my husband?! :-)

  • Mary says:

    Would you question how Travis feels about you in pre-Facebook or twitter age? Social media does not always have to mimic real life.

    Keep in mind, Travis has an important job in the military. He is constantly evaluated professionally so I think it is perfectly okay if he chooses to keep his private life private.

    • Erica House says:

      As someone who has been using social media since high school, and therefor during every relationship I’ve ever had, it can be difficult to remember what life was like pre-social media! I certainly don’t expect Travis to share anything about his life on his private facebook that he isn’t comfortable with.

  • Em says:

    I’ve actually read opposite studies that show people who post incessantly on social media outlets about their relationship are insecure. So I don’t particularly agree with you! I hope I never feel the need for Facebook to validate my relationship. In fact I feel like many people I know would say the same, as I have seen many weddings happen of people who rarely posted anything of their relationship at all. Happiness in a relationship should be measured by your level of satisfaction between you and them and ONLY them – when you post things onto social media, it is now not only between you and that person but everyone else that can see that particular post. I’m all for posting a couple of good pictures to capture significant moments, because after all that is what social media is for, but there are many things that should be kept private, or at least not broadcasted onto the internet.

    • Erica House says:

      One thing I love/hate about research is that there is always a study to back up whatever opinion you have! I think the study I referenced didn’t look at how often the couples posted. They found that the most satisfied couples shared photos of themselves as a couple on facebook, perhaps not taking into account at all how OFTEN they shared. So, there could be a correlation between higher sharing and insecurity. I don’t feel the need for Facebook to validate my relationship either, but I can’t deny my heart gets happy whenever I see Travis share something about us.

  • Lindsay says:

    So…I haven’t had Facebook since 2007. I’d like to just throw that out there. With that disclaimed, do you think that his lack of updates on his life in general (not just you as a part of his life) speaks more to his military background? I know a few people in three branches of the military and, for the most part, they leave personal stuff off of the interwebs.

    It could also be that he like to keep special moments to himself – maybe that’s what makes them special to him. Sometimes, when you share small moments with the masses, it dulls the shine.

    I wouldn’t worry. There are only two people really in a relationship, afterall.

    • Erica House says:

      I think my post may have made it seem like I’m more worried about this then I actually am. I’ve rarely thought about it, but when I came across this new study I thought it would make an interesting blog topic and I could put my personal spin on it. I know Travis did make his profile private and extremely limit what goes on there after joining.

  • OMG! this is funny…lol…ok so I have been in a relationship for nearly a year and rarely ever talk about him on social media, much less in the blog (like at all). Is not because I don’t want to but because he doesn’t really do it either so I feel like “Oh well, why should I broadcast this if he doesn’t?”. A couple of times he did post albums from outings we had together and tagged me in all the pictures but didn’t really referred to me as “my love” or “my girlfriend” which I thought would bother me but I brushed it off and was just “happy” with him posting pictures of us on facebook. Anyways, I am not sure where I am going with this but that article gave me chills. I wonder if that is true or not.

    Sometimes I feel like telling him to change our status to “In a relationship” on facebook but then I back out because I wonder what if I ever have to change it back– that would suck. But it also sucks to live life for “whats going to happen” rather than just enjoying the here and now and whats going on today. It is something I am certainly working on. Anyways, great post. I am sure many of us can relate and it made me feel better that your man sounds very similar to mine in terms of keeping relationships to himself (at least for now). As long as they show they love us offline. We shouldn’t put too much focus on what happens online. As you said, everyone is different and hey– one day we may be pleasantly surprised. :)

    • Erica House says:

      I think a negative experience I had in the past has tainted the way I view the relationship between facebook & couple updates. I was dating a guy for almost a year who refused to change his facebook to ‘in a relationship.’ Eventually he did, but he didn’t specifically say me. Well, come to find out after he was cheating on me (with multiple women.) So, I’m sure that is a huge part of why I love to see Travis brag about us!

  • Caroline says:

    I think this is a really interesting post. My fiancé is exactly the same as Travis, he very rarely uses social media and when he does its normal to share something awesome he’s read online. I use it more, but having been burnt from over sharing in my previous relationship I am conscious about what I share about my relationship. We haven’t announced our engagement on social media, and all my friends think I am weird! If people want to share go for it, I’ve just learnt from previous mistakes to be a bit more careful! Love your blog, particularly your updates about Salem, he is such a rock star!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you for the blog compliment! I’m convinced many people read it just for Salem :)

      I’ve also been burned by over-sharing in the past. It REALLY sucks to have to make the status change back to ‘single’ especially when you’ve only been posting the good parts of your relationship so then suddenly everyone wants to know what went wrong.

  • We’re a forces couple too and because of that we both keep a lot of things away from social media. But aside from that, we don’t feel the need to broadcast how much we love eachother a million times a day via facebook- we live in the same house, we tell eachother personally. The fact that we have been happily married for almost 13 years and have three beautiful children speaks volumes more about our relationship than facebook ever could.

    • Erica House says:

      Travis and I are still in the new-relationship (and long distance!) stage so I get overly giddy when I see him post anything, especially when it’s about us!

  • Jenny says:

    My hubs is anti-social media so I’ve never had to think about this. But I’m sure i would over analyze it if he was. :-)

    To the other side– plenty of folks post like everything is perfect and beautiful and then end up divorced. So I wouldn’t focus on it too much. <3

    • Erica House says:

      Haha, yes, I know many couples personally who fakebook that they are happy & perfect but fight constantly! Or friends who broadcast their ‘perfect’ marriage only to announce divorce ‘out of nowhere.’

  • My BF and I both work in social media and we aren’t “Facebook Official”. I honestly don’t think we’ve ever thought about it. We’re both on each others’ Instas so people know haha. Plus, if anything ever happens, it would break my heart to change my status!

    • Erica House says:

      Yeah…the change back to single always stings a bit! I think the only reason I thought about it at all was because of a situation with a prior bf (he refused to say he was in a relationship on fb and I found out after it was because he was cheating!)

  • This is so funny to me because when Josh and I started dating he said he didn’t want to put in a relationship on FB. He just didn’t list his relationship status at all on FB. I was like, WHAT?! What does this mean about us, blah blah blah. When I asked him about why (calmly, not freaking out like I was in my head, haha) he said it was because he had a horrible experience with saying he was in a relationship previously on FB and this crazy ex that photoshopped pictures and just ridiculousness. This led to him being completely turned off by Facebook and rarely ever using it.

    In today’s day and age a lot of things don’t seem official until they’re “facebook official”. Once we talked I had to decide if it was a big deal to me and it wasn’t. He treats me better than any other guy ever has and we have zero trust issues. So I decided to be fine with it, just changed my status to in a relationship, and moved on. Two years later when we got engaged he turned to me and said, “Let’s make it FB official!” He logged onto FB for the first time in forever, changed his relationship status to engaged to me, and updated his profile picture to one of the two of us. Now we’re married and he basically logs in to wish me happy birthday publicly and that’s about it.

    I totally understand being like what the heck, why doesn’t he want to broadcast this, but to some people it truly isn’t a big deal. I think since we blog we’re used to sharing everything, but everyone’s different, and it definitely doesn’t make them any less of a good partner.

    Great discussion btw!!

    • Erica House says:

      I think prior experience with broadcasting relationships on facebook play a huge role in how we interpret them now. I had a guy I was dating refuse to acknowledge our coupleness online because he was cheating on me. So, I think that’s why I was overly sensitive with it with Travis (and why Josh didn’t want any crazy ex drama with his!) I agree that actions speak WAY louder than what’s shown on facebook and Travis is excelling in that area :)

  • Erin says:

    Interesting topic, I was JUST discussing this with a friend the other day. I actually have found, in my person experience with couples i know in real life, the opposite. It seems like those couples that are always posting cutsey things to eachother on facebook, are the ones that have the most tumultuous relationships offline. I know of a specific instance where a woman wrote a very nice anniversary post dedicated to her husband (really over the top, too intimate for FB, kind of post in my opinion), and when asked if he gets cards/gifts from his wife saying similar things for special occasions, he said- not once. I think it falls in to the whole “highlight reel” aspect of social media. Everyone has to show how HAPPY they are all the time. I’ve been in a very happy relationship for 4 years, and we are not facebook official, we are in eachothers profile pictures, and often tagged in eachothers posts. I dont think there is a right or wrong answer here, i just think it goes both ways. I understand wanting to show off your happy relationship, and when you are open on social media about everything, why you would share relationship details- but the really intimate special stuff, i think should be kept offline, espicially if online is the only place it exits.

    • Erica House says:

      I was really surprised by the results of the study as I would have assumed it would be an even split between couples showcasing on FB because their genuinely happy, and those showcasing a fake front because their relationships suck. Another commenter pointed out that she had read studies that found the opposite (more photos = less happy) so I’m sure there is a lot of conflicting research on this topic.

  • My husband is the same way. He rarely checks Facebook much less posts on the site. When he does, it is usually when he is feeling particularly clever. His profile photo is 6 months old and most of his other photos are only there because I tagged him. I don’t really care (too much). I only get bothered when he complains he doesn’t know something and it’s because he didn’t check Facebook.

  • If only my husband were on Facebook (or used social media or even bothered to ever look at his phone to respond to text messages or voice mails… ;) )

  • Oh my goodness, I agree with you on this one. I have asked my boyfriend numerous times why he doesn’t post pictures of us, and it truly just doesn’t cross his mind to (I have learned over a year, haha). I read way too far into things! It used to bother me a lot more than it does now; I’ve learned there are more important things to focus on. But it would still make me happy to see him change his profile picture to us or something. Really interesting topic!

    • Erica House says:

      I don’t know if it’s something in particular about Travis, or the fact that I’m 30 and have been dating for 14 years, but I’m finally realizing that men and women think VERY differently about things. Stuff that bothers me would never even cross his mind and vice versa.

  • Haha my bf and I have had this SAME conversation. I would love it for him to gush about us or me of social media but alas that is just not him.

  • Alma says:

    I’ve had to contend with this myself. I used to be way more open about my relationships. I often blogged about them–not really in terms of specifics, but more like relationship-related topics I personally grappled with. At the time, I was involved with someone who was an aspiring writer who had a really big MySpace following that was largely based on his looks and flirting with random women. To me, and in private, he was totally not that guy–but he had built up this brand and didn’t want to jeopardize his following. So, he asked me not to mention him by name. I ended up referring to him as the OOMA (object of my affection) for the entirety of our relationship whenever I was talking about him online. We weren’t out on FB. But we were out to close friends and family. Some more astute friends noticed our interactions and guessed we were together.

    At first, I didn’t care. I was okay with being private. I’m usually a private person when it comes to relationships. But then, when we were actually living together, and he went on a talk show pretending to be single–the whole thing started wearing on me. Like–would we have to be secret forever? We were talking marriage, after all, and I couldn’t imagine it wouldn’t come out. And I found it icky that he was leading this double life. It was all very controlling. I still have friends who never knew we even dated. Needless to say, this relationship didn’t last. It didn’t end because of this–but part of what didn’t work was that we had different needs and a hard time talking about things that didn’t align–long-term.

    Oddly, after that, I learned the hard way that balance is probably a better thing. I had an ex who would passive aggressively retaliate against me on Twitter after big fights. Everyone knew our business, and it actually stopped us from being friends after the break-up. I guess now I lean toward some degree of privacy, but if I’m in a relationship with someone, I want it to be known. They don’t have to gush about me all the time, but on special occasions, it is nice to see. I also have a personal no public talk policy when it comes to arguments–with anyone.

    I do think this sort of conversation is important to have. It probably would have stopped a lot of heartache and doubt on my end.

    • Erica House says:

      WOW. That’s such an amazing story! I think the reason why I’m so touchy on the topic is because a guy I was dating for a year also refused to acknowledge me online, and often said it was because of his ‘status’ around town (not wanting me to get dragged into gossip) but after we broke up I found out it was because he was cheating on me, often. So, I’m overly sensitive to FB relationship stuff now!

      • Alma says:

        Yea…this particular guy had a lot of issues. After we broke up, I found out he actually told all his female friends that I was friendly with that I actually hated them–probably because he was trying to get with them all along. I couldn’t figure out why they were mean to me whenever I talked to them. He was a gem, that one. *eyeroll* Luckily, I’m much less naive about guys since then. It’s still hard not to react to past situations when the guys are totally different. That stuff definitely makes you question people.

  • I’m actually a fairly private person (despite having a blog, I’m not quite sure how that works), but other than the odd photo or two, I don’t feel a need to share my relationships online. I’d much rather my significant other meet my friends in person than “meet” them on Facebook. I don’t think posting or not posting on social media says anything about relationships. People are all different and so is every relationship.

    • Erica House says:

      I think the fact that Travis and I are in a long distance relationship made me focus on it more than I would have otherwise. Monday-Friday are whole relationship exists on FB & via texting!

  • I have never, and probably WILL NEVER disclose my relationship status on FB. I feel like it would jinx it! ha ha!

  • I love this post. I actually refused to change my status until we were together almost 5 months- I pretended like I forgot to accept or deny the request from Tyler, haha. We’d write little things to each other on there every so often, but now it’s mostly just anniversary or him making a snide, teasing remark about a status of mine. I tag pics and places we’re at often, but that’s just for memories. I probably wouldn’t do that if we lived near our family. It’s just easier to give them a glimpse of our life, ya know? Some people may have knocked you for your thoughts, but I can see where you’re coming from. How long have you two been together?

    • Erica House says:

      I certainly wasn’t expecting such a reaction to this post! I read the research and thought it was interesting and just threw in my personal spin on it. I really didn’t mean for it to come across like I was crying myself to sleep over it every night! Travis and I have been dating just over 3 months now. I think not seeing each other Monday-Friday makes me put more emphasis on FB and texting since that’s the only way we communicate 5 days a week.

  • Annabel says:

    Interesting! I’ve been with my fiance for nearly 8 years and we’re disgustingly happy. Neither of us posts much about the other on social media. If there’s one key to our success, it’s never comparing ourselves to others.

  • Anne says:

    I honestly wouldn´t have thought so. It always seems like the people who have the most pictures and so on of each other on Facebook are the first ones to brake up.
    It all seems so positive and after a while it gets clear that it´s often just hot air. At least that´s my opinion. It often feels like posting a lot of pictures is because people want others to believe that they´re happy and everything is going well. Kind of like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxVZYiJKl1Y
    My boyfriend and I don´t have the “in a relationship” status in Facebook but every once in a
    while do have a profile pic of the two of us.
    I´ve got to say that I love stalking the profiles of other people and enjoy looking at their pictures but do feel kind of private about my own relationship.
    But I don´t really use Facebook for a lot of commenting and status-updating either..so maybe it´s because of that.
    I did love to see pictures of Travis though, it´s always nice too have a face to a name and I´m really glad to “see” you this happy!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! I’m happy I’m happy as well :) I just realized responding to someone elses comment that 100% of the time in the past when I’ve talked about my relationship on facebook they’ve ended. So, there certainly isn’t a direct correlation between relationship longevity & FB sharing in my case!

  • This is so interesting to me! My hubby never puts anything about us on Facebook. He really never puts anything on Facebook, haha! I believe the stats you shared though, I bet they’re true.

  • Erin says:

    I’ve been in a relationship for five months now that I have kept completely secret on social media as part of a social experiment. A have made very few casual references to him along the way, but I have kept the majority of my postings about my fitness journey. I LOVE the fact that I’m happy in the relationship but no one else has to inquire about my relationship. As long as you’re happy that what matters! :)

    • Erica House says:

      The first few weeks we dated we didn’t say anything about it online either. It did feel nice to have him all to myself for a while! Congrats on the relationship :)