The Facebook Relationship Status Dilemma

How changing your social media status can cause real damage

It takes just a few seconds, but changing your relationship status on Facebook says a lot and can have damaging effects. Sure, when a break up happens you’ll want to alter your profile to reflect your true status – but if you change your status without first informing your significant other, or out of spite, it can create real problems. Before you change your Facebook relationship status, ask yourself a few questions. Have you officially ended the relationship in private? What are your motives? Do you already plan on changing it back within a few days?

facebook in relationshipsTalk About It First

A Facebook status change goes public instantaneously; even if you delete the status change story, there is always a chance that someone saw it before you removed it. Plus, visitors to your profile are apt to notice the difference. Bottom line – if you alter your Facebook status to say “Single,” people might start talking about it. For this reason, it’s important to have a private conversation with your significant other to end things before you make it public on Facebook. No one wants to find out that a relationship is over because a boyfriend or girlfriend has suddenly become “Facebook Single.” Even if the relationship stays over, you may thwart any chance of a platonic friendship if they feel disrespected.

Think About Your Motives

Changing your Facebook status in the middle of an argument is never a good idea. If you are only changing the status to hurt someone’s feelings, you are almost certain to regret it later. Don’t go from “In a Relationship” to “Single” until you know that you are doing it for the right reasons – because the relationship is truly over and you want your Facebook profile to be accurate. Be conscious of your feelings; if you are angry at your partner, log off Facebook altogether so you’re not tempted to change your status or post something public about wanting to break up. Chances are, you’ll thank yourself later.

Will It Stick?

If you are aware even as you navigate to the “Settings” screen to change your relationship status that you’ll probably be back to “In a Relationship” within a matter of hours or days – hold off on the change. When you are conscious of the fact that you’re not really serious about the status change, it’s probably a sign that you are only changing it out of hurt feelings or to make your significant other feel bad.

Like it or not, Facebook relationship status changes can have big implications. If you want to salvage any sort of relationship with your former flame – romantic or otherwise – really think about how you handle this simple task. Having a short conversation about how you’re going to change your status, and that you’re not doing it to hurt his or her feelings, might make a world of difference.

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Jennine Estes

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA.

Reader Interactions


  1. I see so many people getting deeply hurt by things posted on Facebook. Lots of drama when people change their status, post comments about their relationship and so on. It may be better to just keep relationship matters out of the online arena.