I'll admit it, I've always been slightly bemused by the fact that you could monitor the health of other people's relationships thanks to the obsessive-compulsive way Facebook notifies everyone when a relationship status has changed.
Bemused, of course, until I was the one who had to do the changing.
After my encounter with him on Saturday afternoon -- and still very much in tears -- I opened up Facebook, trying to urge myself to change my status from "In a Relationship," which is what I had been from the day I joined Facebook.
And I couldn't do it.
I wasn't in complete denial that the relationship was over. But because we hadn't fully talked after the bombshell he dropped on me, I was kind of afraid to notify the entire world about the change in our status without being ABSOLUTELY SURE.
I have 457 Facebook friends. He has 675. Eighty-eight of those are mutual. Nearly all of them were well-familiar with the fact that we had been together for a freakin' long time.
I knew that as soon as any of those people saw that he and I had a relationship status change, they would immediately assume that it would go from "In a Relationship" to "Engaged," because that's what happens after two people have been "In a Relationship" for that long, right? Plus, I've been asked when he and I would be getting married with enough regularity to know, that's what people were expecting.
I was worried that those 88 mutual friends would immediately start picking sides, not that there were necessarily sides to be picked in this case. I was worried that in the awkwardness of it all, they'd flock to him since he has always been more social and outgoing than I. He was the one who made the friends, I was the one who got to know those friends as "the girlfriend." I didn't want to lose any of the wonderful friends I've made because of him.
Plus, I thought by changing status, I'd be opening the flood gates of a pity party, which I wasn't sure I wanted. And I wasn't really sure what to change the status to: was it simply a matter of "It's Complicated" or did I drop it all the way down to "Single"? Was there a chance that he'd call me the next day saying a demon had possessed his body, but no worries, the exorcism was a success and it was all a big misunderstanding?
After we talked for a second time on Sunday night, I was once again a wreck. I decided to go for the Band-Aid method. After he left, I looked at Facebook and, gasping to catch my breath from so much crying, immediately clicked "Cancel Relationship." And there it was. "(The Modern Gal) is now single," with a little heart beside it, damn that little heart. I thought about clearing out my personal status message, but instead threw up "(The Modern Gal) is broken," because that's exactly how I felt. I was in so much pain, I didn't care if anyone thought I was trying to be a bitch about the whole thing.
I turned away from the computer for a little while, looking for something to provide some relief. I think I smothered Lucydog for a few minutes, continuing to bawl as she looked at me with a confused stare. When I looked at the computer again, there were the e-mails and the wall posts and the text messages and everything else that had started to pop up.
And you know what? It didn't feel like a pity party. It felt somewhat relieving.
I got some of the kindest, most supportive messages -- even a few that surprised me a bit. It was as if every time I was ready to break down again completely, the universe would notice and Pop!, there would be another message. It didn't stop me from crying, but the tears weren't so painful.
I think the best part of both the Facebook breakup and blogging about it is I didn't have to go through the pain of having to tell every one of my friends, one by one, that it was over. It was hard enough telling my mother, my best friend and a few other people I've talked to since. The grapevine did most of the work for me. And any gossip that might or might not be spreading can come from the actual source.
So to everyone of my Facebook friends that's stumbled upon the blog: Thank you.