Couple Profiles Online? No Thanks!
This might not be a popular point of view, and will surely merit calls of sour grapes, but I can't stand it when two individuals form a merged couple identity online. It makes my skin crawl. You can imagine, then, that the new Facebook couples page -- one that automatically curates a highlights page chronicling the union of two people listed 'in a relationship' -- has me squirming.
Coupledom does not automatically confer some merged superidentity to its participants. I get that when your parents first got their dialup connection in 1998, and created their first account (BarbandMike@serviceprovider.com) it seemed unlikely that email would loom so large in our daily communication. But I'll be damned if over the years it hasn't gnawed at me that I can't privately email Mike to ask what Barb wants for her birthday.
Come on, folks! Join us in the next millennium, where email addresses are free and bountiful! I will show you how to set up your gmail, and I promise it will be only one tenth as patronizing and time consuming as when I taught you how to program your VCR.
But I still find this more forgivable than the transgressions of the younger generations, the ones whose individual identities have been subsumed by coupledom, whose social media profiles are punctuated by a a steady stream of couple-y thumbnails and extreme closeup connubial selfies.
You may identify strongly as a couple, share tastes and worldview. For all I know, you might never want to socialize independent of one another. But regardless of how fiery your passion and how staunch your devotion, you have not merged as a being. Your friends don't want that. And neither do you.
Don't make me dredge up dire divorce rates to advise you that it is always a good thing to maintain a separate and vibrant identity.
I was slightly horrified to log into Facebook this week and discover that by adding the /us appendage to my profile URL, I would see an automatically curated relationship profile page for me and my guy. Every time we've mentioned each other on our walls, every event invitation we've accepted together, our 117 overlapping friends.... It's all there, aggregated in one page, depicting some lopsided version of our union. It's just kind of creepy. And I am relieved to have my discomfort validated by an almost universal "dislike" by critics in the media.
I am too old to be a trendsetter, too young to be a cranky old person, but as someone who's been riding this social media roller coaster for the past 12 years, I have this to say to my friends in couples: Celebrate anniversaries, engagements, the occasional genuine shout-out to your awesome loved ones. But your online identity - it's you! It will grow with you, it will reflect your job changes, your community, your potential progeny, your political views, some (tastefully, we hope) edited snaps of you socializing and on vacation. And yes, your online history will also reflect the ups and downs of your relationships. So celebrate your love -- by all means! -- but please, don't forget keep the 'self' in your selfie.