It finally happened. Sometime last night between eight and nine, I began a new a relationship. My heart opened up like a bolt among the clouds, and a boyfriend appeared.
It was, in a word, miraculous.
Except that’s not what happened.
This is what happened: Last night, shortly after eight, I got home early from my geology lab and did what all good college students do–I opened Facebook. I checked my notifications and then my one message–and it was from Harel! And he sent it two minutes ago,
So I quickly replied, hoping he was still on, but I understood he’s been busy with a new job lately and hasn’t been able to stay on as much.
And then he wrote back.
And I was elated!
So we talked a while (I love when we do this), and it came up in conversation the possibility of changing our relationship status on Facebook, something we first spoke about a couple weeks ago. We’ve shared a profile picture since November, but we had decided to leave it at that for time being.
Now we decided, yes, let’s do it.
And we made it Facebook official.
To quote Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst.
Everything started all exciting and whatnot, the update garnering over 60 likes in under 24 hours–unprecedented on my page–but then I started getting comments like this one: “I can’t believe you guys waited this long to make it public/official/whatever changed!”
The intentions were good, and I didn’t at all take offense to it, but its subtle implications were frustrating: I can’t believe you waited this long to make it official.
As if there’s something wrong with waiting.
As it it only matters when it’s official.
As if it’s only official when it’s Facebook official.
The truth is, this irks me. Who gave society the right to invalidate my relationship–which has been strong for upwards of four months–just because it wasn’t on Facebook? It felt official to me. The love I feel for him certainly wasn’t unofficial or private–we just didn’t have it spelled out on Facebook. Because, seriously, what would that change?
We got a lot of congrats, but him and me? Nothing’s different.
That also annoys me: I was standing with one friend today when another appeared out of nowhere (literally, I have no idea where she came from) and told me congrats. I looked confused, so she clarified: “You have a boyfriend now.”
Ignoring the fact that we aren’t calling each other boyfriend beyond its convenience in conversation, the subtle implication here is perhaps worse than the one before: He’s only your boyfriend if others know about it.
Therefore: a clandestine relationship is not a relationship, love letters passed in private aren’t love letters, and the gentle weight of his hand in mine is nothing without a witness.
Society has no right to invalidate people so haphazardly. The fact that only a few people, and for a time no one, knew about our relationship outside of ourselves means nothing–both of us knew, and that’s all that mattered. In fact that’s all that ever will matter: what we share with each other.
After all, that is the foundation of our relationship.
Some might even say that’s the pinnacle of our relationship.
But whatever it is, I know it hurts when well-intentioned sentiments invalidate the best four months of my life.