Highly requested add
What Facebook's new civil union status really says
The social networking behemoth that brought Defining The Relationship to a new level of public has extended its relationship status options to include “in a domestic partnership,” and “in a civil union.” (Sorry MySpace veterans— “swinger” is still not a choice.)
The company merely reacted to what its clients demanded. Facebook’s public policy communications manager Andrew Noyes told the Huffington Post, "This has been a highly requested feature from users. We want to provide options for people to genuinely and authentically reflect their relationships on Facebook."
Before these new options Facebook users in countries that don’t allow same-sex marriage had to pick between “single,” “in a relationship,” “married,” “engaged,” “it's complicated,” “in an open relationship,” “widowed,” “separated” and “divorced.”
The site implemented the changes after consulting with Facebook’s Network for Support, a group that emphasizes the importance of supportive online interaction and discourages online bullying, especially in regards to hate directed toward the LGBT community. Dan Savage, creator of the “It Gets Better” campaign has certainly made his mark.
Whether some straight Facebook users are offended by the option of civil unions seems irrelevant as the change was not made for them nor should it affect them. Although technically apolitical, Facebook employs the same argument I’ve been making for years: Don’t like gay marriage or civil unions? Then don’t get one!
Then again, Facebook could also be seen to be allowing its users to express their current legal relationships.
In countries where gay marriage is legal, “civil union” is not an option since, legally speaking, it does not exist.
Still, the social networking site has never been a stickler for legality. Same-sex couples can list themselves as “married” even if their state of residence doesn’t allow it. Hell, your alter egos can wed your friend’s cat on Facebook (well assuming your alter ego and friend’s cat have Facebook accounts, which mine do).
Ultimately Facebook wants to give people accurate ways to describe their relationships. More options are never a bad thing, though I got a migraine trying to figure out if I’m a domestic partner to my male roommate of more than three years. (I think the answer is “no” or at least that was his response to my relationship request.)
Although I fully support Facebook’s response to the Network for Support, in the spirit of more accurate relationship descriptions I propose the following options as additions:
People can usually find out who you’re sleeping with anyway, especially if it’s a regular thing. Why not take it to the public sphere and let people know that, hey, just because you’re free of serious commitment doesn’t mean you’re not getting exclusive action. Maybe you'll get engaged to be engaged!
“Engaged to be engaged”
This is what roughly 94 percent of all women consider their current relationship status anyway. Why not cut to the chase and let him know how you feel? Although it might scare off a few cold feet, at least your nuptial intentions could be out in the open.
It can be difficult to figure out if someone hates his or her ex. Even if you figure out that much, it can still be difficult to identify the ex considering how often people eradicate cyberspace evidence of past relationships. The “totally hates” option would allow new friends to gain pivotal knowledge regarding whom they should never to mention and it’d make it clear to your ex that you don’t care if he paid your shared rent for two months; you’re still pissed about that salad spinner.