When is it time to be online official in a relationship?

It’s been six months and things are going well. You’ve had the conversations and things are official, you’re exclusive and happy. On a date night you take a great selfie snap and realise that there’s nothing stopping you sharing it online with your friends and family. So, what’s stopping you?

This was the sort of thing I asked Twitter recently, asking how soon in a relationship people felt comfortable sharing photos of them and their new partners online together. The responses were very interesting, and seemed to fall into two very distinct camps.

The first, and most vocal, camp believed that “never” was the right time to do such a thing, and even then that might be too soon. They felt that the rest of the world had no need nor right to know your relationship status, and that those who needed to know would know anyway. One responder shared beautiful french phrase which seemed to sum things up perfectly for this group:

Pour vivre heureux, vivons caché.

Translated it means “To live happy, live hidden”, which although it sounds like the motto of the International Ninja Association is actually a lifestyle many ascribe to. The impression I got was that involving others brings pressures that need not be introduced.

There was also the fear that, should things go wrong longer term, a break up would lead to more online pain as memories were brought up which might better be left buried and forgotten. Changing relationship status from being with someone to being single can be painful, so better to leave that whole can of worms firmly untouched.

The other group, however, were a lot more open about things and saw the benefits a little sharing could bring. With variations on specific language, the general consensus from that group was that once things were definitely official and you’d had the talk about it, after then would be a fine time to share things. Either little photos of each other on a date, or perhaps at the next big event you both attended such as a wedding or party.

The whole discussion was triggered by a little Facebook scrolling I was doing one morning, where I noticed an unusually high number of anniversary photos and date photos being shared by my friends. As the summer is in full swing we are, of course, in both wedding season and in dating season, so it’s natural that people are sharing these sorts of shots. I wondered whether I, too, would ever share those sorts of things again and feel comfortable doing it.

My own experience of this is restricted exclusively to my marriage, which was around long before even the earliest of the social media platforms that dominate today were dreamed up. We used to share photos and tag each other all the time because we had no reason not to – we were in love and didn’t mind at all if the world knew it.

In the years since then, however, I’ve not yet felt anywhere near ready to share a photo of me with someone I’ve been in a relationship with. I may have shared photos of the bands we’ve gone to see, the sporting event we attended, the wine, the food, the sights; but never the other person.

I guess there really is no single right or wrong answer to this as each individual is so very different, as are the relationships formed when two (or more) get together. Whilst I know it will be a watershed moment for me, the moment when I feel fully comfortable with someone and believe that we are solid and likely to last, for some it will always be something to keep private and special between just the two of you.

The photo of me and my future love attending a wedding together may be a dream at the moment, but one day I’ll have the photo that I want to share; until then I won’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll do it.

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