In “Why I will never (again) put my relationship status on Facebook” at XO Jane, Sofia Barrett-Ibarria recounts that colleagues and friends would approach her following a a break-up and subsequent status change: “Thanks to Facebook, everyone I knew knew about the breakup.This was my nightmare.” In the essay, and among those I talk to, there's a real sense that a social media airing of a break-up actually makes it worse.Even the phrase "relationship status" has become a meme to mock your own singledom, rather than a serious phrase about your commitment to someone: Marking the slow decline of the relationship statuses are various desperate attempts by Facebook to bring it back to life.
As Samuel Axon wrote for Mashable in 2010 in an article titled "5 Ways Facebook Changed Dating (For the Worse)": "Changing Facebook relationship status has, for better or worse, joined first date, first kiss, first night together, exclusivity talk, and first "I love you" on the list of important relationship milestones." ran a reader poll and concluded: “No One Wants To Admit They’re In A Relationship On Facebook Anymore”.
Perhaps twenty-somethings just aren't keen to stamp Facebook-endorsed "commitment" all over their dating lives.
But it could also be that we're moving away from relationship statuses because we've realised there's a type of online sharing that can be damaging in its honesty.
As such, relationship statuses are a communication of status, not a creation of one.
They were never meant as a milestone for the couples themselves: they're to satisfy the sort of people who bark "BUT IS SHE ACTUALLY YOUR GIRLFRIEND? Maybe we've just decided that our online presence should benefit us, not those who want a two-click rundown of our personal lives.