F#*k You Friday! Facebook Relationships

Facebook Rainbow Puke - The Anti-Social Media

Facebook relationships are serious things.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the number of people who will kill over a change in their relationship status. We may joke it’s not official until it’s “Facebook Official,” but Facebook relationships have serious consequences in the real world.

That’s why the new “LBGT Friendly” relationship options Facebook rolled out yesterday suck hard.

The new options include “In a Civil Union” and “In a Domestic Partnership.” These additions reek of politics. I can’t imagine a huge section of the LGBT community, which has been fighting for equal marriage rights, would go to Facebook and say, “Give us Civil Unions! We want everyone to know we’re technically married but can’t call it that because of political and cultural systems!”

Granted, LGBT people can still define their relationships as they want, regardless of these new options. It’s just sad Facebook is giving into these separate but not equal options.

So once again, fuck you Facebook. Fuck you and your relationship politics.

For now, I’m protesting. I’m now in a domestic partnership with my cat. Take that Zuckerberg.

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28 Responses to “F#*k You Friday! Facebook Relationships”

  1. John Morrow February 18, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    True story - when my (now) ex-wife and I split up, my stepdaughter emailed me on Facebook and demanded that I change my relationship status, which I did. Big mistake. The ex was enraged, humiliated, ticked off… I paid for that mistake with probably months of misery.

    I swore I would never use the relationship setting again, until they introduced an option for “semi-monogamous masturbator”. I’m still waiting, but increasingly hopeful.

    • Joshua S Sweeney February 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

      re 2nd paragraph: *golf clap*

    • Jay February 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

      You used to be able to say you were looking for “Random Play” and “Whatever I Can Get.” Maybe Facebook will get it’s sexy mojo back.

  2. Dori Zinn February 18, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    I can’t be mad at Facebook for realizing they have more than half a billion users and some of them would like to better define their relationship that the government can’t. I don’t think it’s falling into “separate but equal,” but rather, I think it’s showing society - government included - that if they don’t want people in ‘civil unions’ and ‘domestic partnerships’ on Facebook, don’t limit them to that in real life. I think it’s fighting fire with fire. Once the government realizes how silly Facebook is for recognizing LBGT partnerships, maybe the government will consider them equal, instead of something foreign or of a lower class. I know it’s overly optimistic, but I thought it was a smart move.

    Similarly, I’m in a domestic partnership with your mom.

    • John Morrow February 18, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      I’ve been in several uncivil unions.

    • Jay February 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

      My Mom isn’t even on Facebook.

      Still, I always wanted a second mom.

  3. Jennifer February 18, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Straight people can be in Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions too…I’d really say Mashable sucks hardest of all for politicizing those categories by calling them “LGBT Friendly” and rubbing it everyone’s face that though gay people might be “married” on facebook, they still can’t be married in real life. (Unless they live somewhere other than the red state where I live…)

    • Brianne February 18, 2011 at 11:12 am #

      Mashable exploiting that angle is definitely what struck me as political and unnecessary. But Jay is right in that if the LGBT community is trying to abolish civil unions/domestic partnerships and obtain equal marriage rights (that they should already have anyway), then this is just a step backwards instead of moving forward.

      Also agree with Lori down below though about the usability of the “domestic partnership” category. Considering my views on marriage and the religious implications, I don’t see myself taking that step and domestic partnership would be a logical classification for a future long-term situation.

      Right now, though, I’m in a very loving relationship with my dog and my Macbook. It’s “not complicated.”

      • Jay February 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

        My relationship is complicated with my cat, but that’s because she’s a cat.

    • Jay February 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      Its not just Mashable. LGBT organizations like GLAAD are applauding Facebook for the option.

  4. Lori February 18, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    I TOTALLY agree about the “civil union” bullshit. Married is married and thankfully Facebook doesn’t require documentation or government approval for people who consider themselves married to call themselves that. I don’t see why anyone would ever use that option. But I feel the same way about “it’s complicated.”

    Now, I DO love the “domestic partnership” category. This allows for the level between (or among…) ‘in a relationship’ and ‘engaged/married.’ As someone who was formerly in a domestic partnership (albeit, a heterosexual one), I definitely think there is something to be said for properly naming THAT step in a relationship.

    • Jay February 18, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      Based on what you’ve said, I;m now sure the domestic partnership was right for me and my non-sexual, non-binding relationship with my cat.

  5. Chris Ferdinandi February 18, 2011 at 11:06 am #


    I’m not gay, so I can’t relate to these on the same level that you can. BUT… aren’t they just more reflective of reality?

    If you live in a state where gay people can get married, you have the option of saying you’re married (you always, in fact, whether or not it was actually true). But for many gay couples, Domestic Partnership/Civil Union is what they’ve got. Isn’t having the option to show that a good thing?

    For people who can’t legally get married in their ass-backwards, redneck states (including my home state of RI), but DO have a Civil Union, isn’t saying “In a relationship” trivializing to what they have?

    Recognizing nuance is a good thing, I believe. But again, this doesn’t personally affect me to the same degree it does you, so it’s a bit arrogant of me to come here and say, “This is good for you!”

    Cheers on the rant!

    • Jay February 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Hmm, good points. See, I’d likely just go ahead and say “Married” if I was in a Civil Union.

      But that’s because I don’t like to mince words and use crappy politically correct terms like Civil Union.

      • Claire Wagner February 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

        Jay, I have gay friends who are married legally and not legally. Most say they are married on Facebook even if it’s not legal. It’s possible that FB received requests or pressure from the LGBT community to add more options but frankly, I think that should just be “fill in the blank” - forget the categories. Same for gender. I also have transgender friends. Let them just write in whatever they want, too. We need to stop denying that so many of the ways we identify ourselves don’t fit into neat categories. Just about everything is a spectrum. (And why the hell does the word ‘transgender” have a red line under it like it’s misspelled? WordPress? Hello? Are you in the 21st century?)

        • Jay February 21, 2011 at 7:42 am #

          Apparently my WordPress installation didn’t take as many Women’s Studies classes in college as I did.

          So true about spectrums. Sometimes I only see in black and white and red though.

  6. Cindy February 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    My boyfriend refuses to use Facebook, so I keep my relationship status as “single.” I told him I’d change it if he created an account. I know he will never do it, so I’ll always remain single in FB land - not that it matters, anyway - the people who need to know, know.

    • Jay February 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      It must be nice to know one adult who isn’t on Facebook.

  7. Bridget Fahrland February 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm #


    I often agree with you but this time I could not disagree more.

    As someone who is in a domestic partnership, I felt the categories for relationship status on FB were insufficient. And yes, it mattered to me. As much as legalizing marriage or repealing DADT? No. But it was not exactly trivial, either.

    Why would I say I am married when I am not? Why should I or Facebook pretend there is equality where there isn’t? And why is it more “political” to list all options than to only list a few?

    Yes it sucks that we have to be happy about these little recognition moments, like when American Express advertises to us or the gay kid in Glee, Kurt, gets a Golden Globe. But yesterday, I was happy to be able to change my Facebook relationship status because it felt like a recognition of reality. Even if that reality is “complicated.”


    • Jay February 21, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      Bridget - Best comment on this post. Sometimes I let my rage get the better of me.

      I’m keeping my cat as my domestic partner though. I get less creepy ads that way.

  8. Kathleen February 20, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I’m sick of being categorized by these options. Leave a fill-in-the-blank box and let people write in what they want. WTF? Does FB not trust us to write in whatever we want in the relationship box? Ooooh, the horror! FB would rather make this an issue where they get patted on the back by LGBT and GLAAD for “finally” embracing” these options. I think it would be much more entertaining to read what my friends write in the box.

    • Jay February 21, 2011 at 7:37 am #

      Facebook doesn’t trust us not to fill in a gender. The only thing we’re allowed to do is fill in interests, so Facebook can find out more about what people like and use that to market to us.

  9. Chris Ferdinandi February 21, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    It’s amazing how quickly so many readers of this post jumped on the “Facebook doesn’t trust us” bandwagon.

    You know why you can’t write in your sexual orientation? Because back in the day, Facebook was an open network within your school. You can see everything for anyone who went to the same college as you. It was partly a hookup tool, so if you wanted to find, say, a single woman looking for a relationship, it was easier to pull those things down from a drop-down menu (on Facebook’s then more advanced search section) than type in a bunch of random words and hope you got it right.

    Facebook’s changed a lot since then, but the categories still hold true to their legacy style. That will probably change eventually, but really… Facebook hates you? Get over it.

    • Kathleen February 21, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      I see your point, the categorization mode is legacy from Facebook’s college days. But, I think Jay is more on target here in that Facebook still has drop-down boxes rather than fill-in-the blanks because it allows Facebook to more easily data mine and market, which is where it’s making its money.

      • Chris Ferdinandi February 21, 2011 at 11:53 am #

        I don’t disagree. But I also think that at the end of the day, Facebook is a FREE platform we use to connect with our friends and family. They’re not evil. They’re a business that we pay nothing to use except our time and some information.

        Don’t like? Go elsewhere. I’m far more concerned with their frequent changes in data and privacy (often with short or no notice) than with whether I can choose my relationship status from a list or write it in myself.

        • Kathleen February 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

          What? Facebook is FREE?

        • Kathleen February 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

          Sorry, little snarky, but my point is that Facebook isn’t free. We all agree to trade our personal information for the convenience of using the FB interface, some with more knowledge about how that information is being used to market to us than others. I agree with you about the Facebook privacy settings. But it seems there is not much we can do about it except complain, loudly. Though it doesn’t seem like that does much to change their practices.

          • Chris Ferdinandi February 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

            But Kathleen,

            The amount of information you’re REQUIRED to share is insanely small. Everything else you freely give away because it enhances your experience as a user.

            Does Facebook turn around and sell that data? Yep. That’s their business model. Like any business, they want to make money, and storing all your info, photos and videos takes up a lot of storage space.

            I don’t think Facebook is perfect. I liked them better before they tried to do the whole “rule the universe” thing. But no one forces you to use Facebook. And as noted earlier, you don’t have to pay them a dime to use their robust service offerings.

            Complaining isn’t your only option. You could also stop using them if you’re really that pissed off.

            - Chris