Love

11 Totally Valid Reasons To Keep Your Relationship A Secret

Photo: Dean Drobot, pixabay via Canva
woman keeps relationship a secret

Do you know that euphoria that fills you up when you first start dating someone? That fun and excitement of entering a new relationship that makes us want to shout it from the rooftops for all to hear?

That feels really good.

But sometimes, sharing the news widely isn't a good idea. Sometimes, we should keep the rooftop shouting only within the range of our closest friends and family members before we broadcast it our relationship status on social media platforms.

Dating coach and relationship consultant Stacie Ikka advised that there are times when it's smart to hold off on announcing who you are dating — or if you are involved with someone at all — in your online circles.

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The valid reasons to keep your relationship status secret:

1. You receive a lot of unwanted attention

Some people see a "single" status on Facebook as an invitation to be in contact, overtly flirt or even harass someone. If you are getting invitations that make you uncomfortable, consider leaving your relationship status blank.

"If you are single and not necessarily looking to use Facebook as a dating site and simply selected that status because you thought that all fields in your profile needed to be filled out ... beware," Ikka said.

Sometimes other singles, and even people who are in relationships already, prey on women who announce that they are on the market.

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2. You won't want other people to interfere with your relationships

"For a relationship to develop between two people in a way that leads to a healthy future, it is often best that the details and status of that relationship be contained among the two people involved—and the select few they choose to confide in,” Ikka said. 

This also goes for those who are entering a new relationship.

“Moving from a casual to a committed relationship can often be tricky," Ikka said, "and opening up that relationship to an online audience, which is presumably broader than one’s immediate social circle, opens the relationship up to commentary—some of which could be damaging, especially if the relationship is new.”

Consider keeping your status quiet for a certain amount of time or until the two of you feel secure in this new arrangement. You may also want to consider updating your status at that point without sharing it widely through your news feed.

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3. You want to ease some pressure

“If the couple has not discussed how or whether they are going to ‘announce’ their union on Facebook, and one party goes ahead and changes their status, it might make the other party feel uncomfortable or put unnecessary pressure on that person,” Ikka said.

“Even if it was a joint decision, it exposes the relationship to scrutiny, observations, and involvement that is not necessarily appropriate during the early phases of a relationship, where the focus should really be on whether attraction, compatibility, common values, and shared interests will survive the long-term.”

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4. You want an easier breakup

Splitting up can be more complicated if hundreds of your Facebook friends can see your status.

“Breakups are painful in the best of times," said Ikka. And changing a status from "in a relationship" to "single" or even "it's complicated" can draw attention right in the middle of that pain.

"Even if that attention comes in the form of support and sympathy to an already difficult, personal, and emotional experience," Ikka said.

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5. You're tired of people judging your love life

Facebook is not your diary or a private conversation with your best friend. It's a loudspeaker to every one of your coworkers, high-school frenemies, mom's friends, and siblings you are connected with on the social network.

Not all of them may get the situation, or you.

“If you are the type of Facebook user who updates your relationship status on a regular basis and that status is changing with a frequency that others may deem abnormal, you are opening yourself up to judgment, ridicule, and the potential for losing credibility amongst your Facebook network," Ikka said.

"So, if you are sensitive to other people’s opinions, think carefully before changing your relationship status and ask yourself why you’re doing it.”

6. You are susceptible to peer pressure

In many relationships, Ikka said, one person is more guarded about their personal life and details. The other person may be more forthcoming and therefore have no issue with listing their relationship status online.

“It’s not uncommon in these circumstances for the more private individual to feel pressure to change their status for fear of not appearing loyal or committed to their partner or the relationship," Ikka said.

Resentment can build, she said, and the private person may let that spill over into real-life interactions with their partner. "It's usually a sign of bigger problems," expained Ikka.

Avoid the conflict between privacy and transparency in a relationship by discussing what works best for both of you, even if that means the more open person lists a status and is understanding if the more private partner doesn't.

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7. You don't want to antagonize an ex

Want to nix any opportunity for your ex to get back in touch, troll around your profile or hunt for more information about your new relationship? Then consider keeping your status set at a lower volume.

Showing you’re in a relationship can be an invitation for exes to peer into your current love life, Ikka said.

“Although nosy exes always have their offline ways of determining your relationship status, putting your relationship status on Facebook — especially if you are naming the person you’re in the relationship with — only encourages 'stalker'-type behavior and may prompt them to attempt to sabotage or disrupt your new relationship," Ikka said.

Those who are in the process of divorcing may also want to avoid displaying their relationship status, especially if they’ve begun seeing someone new.

“If you are in the process of a separation or a divorce," Ikka said, "it might not be a good idea to draw attention to your relationship status for the benefit of any children involved, especially if they are on Facebook, and to protect yourself throughout any court proceedings.”

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8. Your parents are overbearing

Have parents who are anxious for you to get married or just be partnered up?

Stating that you are in a relationship could give your “parents false hope, further fodder for offline marital pressure, and render them an even greater annoyance as well as promote unnecessary involvement in your personal life,” Ikka said. Keep in mind, “even if they’re not on Facebook, they will find out … and fast.”

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9. You'd rather not explain complicated circumstances

Although it might be tempting to select the "it’s complicated" relationship status, Ikka advises against it.

“You are professing to the Facebook world that you are in a relationship that is not completely fulfilling you and that you are settling,” she said. “We all know you deserve better than that — even if you don’t believe it yourself."

"Again, you are opening yourself up to unnecessary judgment, loss of credibility, perhaps pity, and vulnerability."

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10. You don't believe open relationships should be an open book

“While in this day and age, society may be more accepting of alternate forms of relationships, this is another category that leaves you wide open to judgment,” Ikka said.

“People will naturally jump to conclusions. For example, they may believe you have commitment issues or that you are promiscuous or whatever else this status conjures up in their imaginative minds.”

You don't have to be responsible for other people's concerns, criticisms, or even assumptions. But if you have a tendency to get wrapped up in them or if you would rather put your kind of relationship up for public scrutiny, then consider educating and informing others about it in ways outside of social networks.

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11. Your social media profiles are for professional use

Facebook and Instagram, for many folks, are professional networking tools, avenues for job-hunting, or a way to stay in touch with clients. Many companies also use social media to check up on their employees or to survey someone's social presence before a job interview.

"If you are using social media for business purposes or suspect your personal information could get back to your employers or associates," Ikka said, "then you may want to keep your page purely professional, this includes keeping your relationship status hidden."

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Kelly Rouba is an writer, accomplished journalist and public speaker. She is also the author of Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide

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