By Valerie Luu
City on a Hill Press Editor

In our Web 2.0 world and Facebook-obsessed young adult lives, technology is developing and defining our relationships.

For example, think about the flirtatious wall posts and playful “pokes” you might leave on your love interest’s Facebook. Next come the photo albums of your first dates hanging out at Natural Bridges or at the Boardwalk. Along with going steady comes updating your relationship status to show that you are “In a Relationship” with that certain someone — the modern-day version of giving someone a class ring and making the relationship public.

Things might be fine for two months or two years, but eventually there comes the breakup. When my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, the first thing I did was de-friend him on Facebook. As I was bursting into sobs, with tears streaked down my face, I logged onto the social online hub for college students and took him off my friends list.

Before I made it final, a window appeared. “Remove Friend?” it read. As some sort of precaution, it asked if I was sure about my separation, explained that it cannot be undone, and that he wouldn’t be notified of my actions. It was as if Facebook a supportive girlfriend, warning me about what I was getting into. Very well aware and heartbroken, I clicked the blue “Remove Friend” button because I didn’t want him to know the real and virtual narratives of my life. Our relationship was over in every sense.

Time passed and we both moved on. Our new lives appeared on our profiles with recently taken pictures, acquired friends, and memories posted post-breakup. I de-friended him not only because I didn’t want him having access to my life, but also because I didn’t want to see his. Receiving news feed updates of any new relationships with other people and seeing pictures of him would hurt me more than help.

Not too long ago, people kept shoeboxes filled with letters, pictures and mementos from their past relationships, privately stored away atop closet shelves and underneath the beds. Nowadays they’re all digitally and publicly filed on Facebook. The virtual represents reality: social ties developed in real life are made and broken — sometimes in real time — on Facebook.

When defining and portraying relationships in the digital arena, it is important to act with sensitivity, maturity, and respect. Breaking up with someone on Facebook before you do it in real life? Not cool. Blasting your ex on your status? Save the drama. One of those crazy couples that break up every other day? Probably better not to commit on Facebook so you don’t litter everyone’s news feed with stories of instability in your relationship.

As for my ex-boyfriend, he was banned from my life and Facebook for about 10 months. Recently, I’ve opened the door to potentially develop a friendship. After having a few conversations online and over some coffee, he asked if we could be Facebook friends again. Taking things slow and cautiously letting him into my life, maybe soon enough we will be.