Monday, February 3, 2014

Facebook Relationship Statuses After Death: Part 2

Back at the end of September, I wrote a post about my Facebook relationship status. In the kind of world we live in today, how you present yourself on social media seems to be inextricably linked with who you are. Which is why after Blake died, it felt impossible for me to change my relationship status back to "single." I wasn't ready for people to see me as single and I most definitely didn't feel like my relationship with Blake was over. So, even after uncomfortable inquires about it from friends, I kept "In a relationship with Blake Norvell" on my profile.

At first when people asked me about it, I would tell them, "I don't want to change it because I'm still in a relationship with Blake," or "Blake is still my boyfriend." Although this didn't seem weird to me, I could tell that it left some people worried about my mental stability. But I told myself it was alright, they didn't have to understand. They could never really understand anyway.

But in the last month or so, I noticed that my answer to this question started to change. When asked about why it still said I was in a relationship with Blake, I explained that seeing it on my profile made me happy. Plus, it gave me a quick shortcut to click his name and go straight to his page whenever I wanted to look at old pictures or see if anyone wrote to him. "Besides", I always added, "it's not like I am dating anyone else. If I get to that point with someone, I'll change it out of respect for him. But until then, if it doesn't matter to anyone else why bother updating it?"

If you've looked on my Facebook profile in the last week, you might have noticed that I no longer have a relationship status. That's because I finally made the decision to hide it from everyone but me. When I look at my profile it says "in a relationship with Blake Norvell," but to everyone else it says nothing. Did I do this because I don't feel like Blake is my boyfriend anymore? No. Did I do it out of respect for another guy? No, again. So why did I do it?

Immediately after Blake's death, I was hit with crippling insecurity. I wanted so desperately to prove that he was the man I always thought he was and that our relationship was real, that I over compensated. I didn't want Blake to be seen as just some tragic overdose story, so I illustrated his compassion and character to anyone who would listen. And I didn't want myself to be looked at as some unfortunate, naive girl, so I detailed our love story in an effort to show everyone how real it was, despite the circumstances. I didn't want anyone to think I was embarrassed of him or our relationship. I wore our relationship with defiant pride. No one could make me believe less about him; his struggle was indisputable, but his heart was always pure. But to be completely honest, I think I was doing all of this more in an effort to prove it to myself than to anyone else.

But now, I'm at a stage where I'm internalizing my love and connection with Blake. I finally feel like I have nothing to prove to anyone- not even to myself. The last part of that sentence is even more important than the first, because I believe it is the key reason why I don't need the relationship status to validate anything. I am happy with my moments with Blake and don't need the world to know about them. Of course I'm still an open book, and sharing all of myself is part of my personality, but I do so now without the agenda of battling insecurity.


  1. Read this news story and thought about your posts!

    1. Wow, that's a totally different situation (obviously) but the way she talks about looking at his Facebook is so similar. It's seriously so special to have those posts and pictures to look back on :)

    2. Thank you so much for sending that to me. I loved reading it!