THE BLOG
02/24/2011 03:13 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

E-Relationships

Is changing your Facebook status to "in a relationship" a new step in a couple's evolution?

I'm ancient, and Facebook wasn't around when Jim and I met. We had the "Are we exclusive?" and the "Am I your girlfriend/boyfriend?" and the "Do you ever want to get married?" discussions when we were dating. We never had to broach the topic of how we'd announce ourselves technologically. It makes me nervous to think about in hindsight. What if Jim said he wasn't ready to have my heart-shaped emoticon next to his name, for all his friends to see? I would have tweeted my sorrow to all my followers. Actually, there was no Twitter back then, either, was there? I guess I could have updated my rarely-touched MySpace page (if I remembered my user name and password, that is).

It does bring me joy when I see friends change their relationship status, indicating more love in their lives. I always feel a little ray of sunshine when I read such a thing. On the flip side of the coin, I get terribly uncomfortable when people adjust their status to single. I never know how to respond if I haven't seen or spoken to them in person for a long while. It's especially awkward if there is no explanation on their wall. Did he cheat? Did he die? Who left whom?

I am usually so paralyzed by indecision on how to react that I'll ignore it, or I'll send a private message asking if everything's OK. Breaking up can be so painful and life-altering that a simple adjustment on a Facebook wall makes it feel less important. Less weighty. And commenting on a wall post about a breakup doesn't seem caring enough. I don't understand the etiquette required.

My inability to transfer matters of the heart to the computer screen is probably an indication of my age/stodginess. Maybe I should work on becoming a little more cyborg when it comes to love.

Let's all spread the love -- in person or online.