How to change your relationship status on Facebook without everyone knowing

September 8 |
This is an instance where knowing how to hide your relationship status would've been helpful. Courtesy of Lamebook.com

If you're on Facebook at all, you've seen it happen: two friends end their marriage or long-term relationship, Facebook informs you that [FRIEND] and [FRIEND] are "no longer in a relationship." Or, on the flip side — two secretive friends get engaged, change their respective statuses, and then BOOM! Every single person they know on Facebook wants an invite to the wedding. Both of these situations (and many in between) beg the question: just how do you change your relationship status on Facebook while keeping your news feed followers in the dark?

I get that this is a very twenty-first century only-for-people-who-are-online-a-lot problem, and perhaps a silly one at that. Why, when you're thinking about a change to your long-term relationship, would your mind wander to your Facebook relationship status? I can't tell you, I just know that for many people it does, and the creepy-crawly, upside-down-stomach feeling that goes along with those thoughts isn't the best thing ever.

Last year my best friend ended a relationship, and I noticed that she successfully kept the ending of this relationship from becoming Facebook's news — a few "friends" didn't even realize her previous relationship had been over for nearly a year when she started dating her now-boyfriend. So she's obviously a bit of a digital genius, and I recently had her sit down and show me how to make this happen:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click "Edit Profile"
  3. Select "Friends and Family" from the menu on the left
  4. Click the arrow next to "Relationship Status"
  5. Change this to "Only me"

Voila! Now your relationship status will be visible ONLY to you — not even your (maybe) partner can see it. It simply disappears! It's a pretty easy fix (assuming Facebook doesn't change the way you do it in a week), and painless at that. Win-win.

  1. I did something similar with changing mine but instead I changed the status, went to my profile page and clicked the x next to where it said"kat went from being engaged to single" and clicked hide post. This way I'm not hiding anything on my page but at the same time it is not put on the news feed

    79 agree
    • See, that's what i think is useful. Don't hide the status, but hide the update.

      47 agree
      • I agree, it's the update on the news feed that gets all the attention.

        20 agree
  2. Also really nice to know is that you can have the information in your profile but have the change removed from your news feed. This is nice when you want the information known but don't want a ton of questions/comments/likes. Change it, look at your own wall, hover over the "blah blah blah now I'm single" line, and click the x that appears on the right side. That removes it from your news feed but not your profile.

    5 agree
    • Haha, Kat's comment beat mine by a minute!

      2 agree
  3. Don't forget, you can also select "custom" from that same menu, then type in the names of the people you DO want seeing your changed status (like your S.O. or your parents or your whatever). Then they can see it, but no one else :)
    You can even create a "friends list" of those people you want knowing the more intimate details of your life, and set the "customization" to that friend list, so you don't have to type in all those names every time you want to limit a status update to those folks. Do keep an eye on this though; a few times I've had FB change my "default" to a "custom" list, and I've had to change it back to "friends."
    "Custom" can be a pain in the butt to use, but boy is it useful when you don't want everyone to see all your posts (personally, I use it primarily for gaming; I have a list of my friends that play each of the games I'm playing, and I lock all my game posts so only those friends can see them, to minimize the wall-spamming of my non-gamer friends).

    13 agree
  4. Yeah, but what I love best is when months will go by, and all of the "Congrats on your engagement!" messages have slunk off my wall… and then someone meanders over, happens to notice I'm engaged, says, "OMG YOU'RE ENGAGED?!? CONGRATS!!!" and then it starts a whole new slew of comments from people who didn't notice it the previous (10) times. LOL.

    15 agree
  5. If you're not going to show it to anyone, why bother putting up a relationship status at all? You don't have to answer all of the questions :p

    20 agree
    • I didn't want to hide mine forever, but just for a week or so. We got engaged and told our folks by phone, but since I was going back home in a week I thought I would just tell everyone in person. My fiance was very excited to put it up on Facebook, but I thought that was a crappy way for my family members to find out. So we changed it, I hid it, then told my important people in person. Then after that was done, I unhid it and let the congradulation posts fly!

      5 agree
  6. I did this just yesterday! to be sure you've done it right, log off and log back in. then check your own wall to be sure there isnt a note like "you just went from engaged to married"
    Great tip guys!!

    2 agree
  7. Hiding your relationship status has the great advantage of stopping the "targeted" adverts. I hid my relationship status shortly after my fiancé passed away because the targeted advertising on Facebook saw "Relationship status = engaged" and kept on trying to offer me wedding photography packages and suchlike. (for anyone who remembers me posting for a few short months on OBT, that's why I disappeared!)

    4 agree
    • I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope that you are doing well.

      31 agree
  8. I had a friend just get married and so it posted the status "___'s now married to His Name". Her father helpfully commented "So, who's His Name?".

    3 agree
    • Thats is as bad as my sister… she didn't change the status, just her last name… and that is how we found out she was married. 4 months later.

      4 agree
  9. the thing i loathe is people that "like" your change of relationship status from serious relationship to single. oh so you like that my heart has been shattered into a million pieces? what a great friend you are!

    19 agree
    • Maybe they think you were the one to break it off and they're trying to say "You go, girl!"?

      Not that they should jump to that, or any other, conclusion, but maybe they're not being as mean as you think.

      10 agree
    • On the flip side, I really get annoyed when people flood the status with "OMG what happened? I'm so sorry!" comments.

      17 agree
  10. Just did this a few weeks ago, and I combined the two strategies: hid my status, changed it, and then put the privacy back to "friends". Now I show as being single, but no one ever saw an update, which makes me feel better.

    16 agree
  11. This kinda just hides your relationship status… to actually change it (so that everyone could see if they bothered to actually check out your full page but not announce it as an update) you would have to do this – change it- and then undo it, changed on the profile but no annoying announcement/update.

    4 agree
    • Oh just click the little x by the announcement, as others have mentioned! Much faster.

      2 agree
  12. When my ex broke up with me it took me forever to work up the nerve to change my status to single. First I just deleted my relationship status from my profile. Then, when I put it back a few weeks later as "single," I just did what the person in the first comment did and did hide post or remove from feed or whatever. That way it didn't show up on everyone's wall.

    4 agree
  13. When my fiance proposed I called and texted every single person who I really cared about first, and only after I got down to the high school acquaintances I didn't really speak to did I change my status. By then, it was old news to anyone who really mattered.
    Though this reminds me that I should probably do a clean and start deleting those old high school people.

    4 agree
  14. Isn't it easier just not to have the relationship status appear at all in the profile? The entire time the boy and I have been dating, neither one of us had a relationship status available. Well, the entire time I have been on Facebook, I have not had one. Now that we're married, we were like do we make it official (on Facebook). Then we got distracted by something else and it just was never a priority.

    And even if you did change those things, you'll eventually get tagged in photos after the wedding. You could of course change your photo settings there but the beans will definitely be spilled then.

    4 agree
  15. Oh man, remember the days before "stalker-feed"? Now if there could be a way to turn off Facebook announcing my birthday to a hundred people who don't give a shit 364 days a year. I like my birthday. I share a birthday with some pretty badass people, so I want to show it off, but getting a "Happy Birthday" from Jill Shmill who threw sanitary napkins at me in high school leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. God forbid the day I get engaged.

    12 agree
    • THIS is actually a big "thing" with me. I actually deactivate my facebook a couple days before and after my birthday in order to avoid that. I highly recommend it.

      11 agree
    • There is a way to turn it off. The same way as to hide relationships. Nobody sees my birthday at all because it's a dead easy way for people to steal your identity.

      6 agree
  16. I love this. Two of my friends were dating and they broke up recently – one of them left the "break up status" up on facebook and like, 15 people commented on it telling her "you go girl" and similar comments. She left it up there for everyone to see – I've lost a lot of respect for her because it seemed like such an unnecessarily cruel and inappropriate thing to do. If you ever cared about someone, you shouldn't allow all your friends to comment publicly on the demise of your relationship. It's just classless.

    7 agree
  17. I think it's great to be able to hide changes to your relationship status/not even put it up at all (which is what I always did until a few months ago), but I think there are some cases where putting up this sort of information for can be pretty useful. As a student and a young graduate living in different cities, my boyfriend and I meet a lot of new people and I find it extremely annoying when people assume I'm single just because I'm young/not constantly accompanied by my partner. The relationship status has definitely saved a lot of awkward 'Before you go any further, you should know I'm in a relationship…'-type conversations!

    5 agree
  18. When me and my boyfriend of five years broke up, what both of us did (it was a mutual break up) was comment on our own status saying, "Yes, we broke up. I don't want to air dirty laundry on Facebook, so either call, text or, god forbid, see me in person if you have any questions on concerns." All I got were a couple "You okay?"s from close friends, and nothing at all from acquaintances. That way I didn't need to deal with random messages of "You guys should come visit next summer!" or "What are the two of you doing tomorrow night?"

    3 agree
  19. Thanks! Just thought about it and it helped me a lot. I don't want to get comments from people like "when and where is your wedding?". People who are invited should only know where and when and I don't want to answer "Oh, I don't want have YOU on my wedding because it's a very intimate with just our closest friends and family. And YOU are NOT." We will only invite about 40 people because we want a very small wedding. People who are really important to us will know it and we will explain everything to them in person. For example why we didn't invite them. They shouldn't find it out via facebook.

    1 agrees
  20. Hey – just wondering if anyone knows whether me changing my relationship status from "in a relationship with X" to the blank drop-down thing (aka undeclared) will change how HIS profile appears? Will it just say nothing/undeclared for him, or will it automatically convert to "single" and start a deluge of "omg man I had no idea, what a b!%@*" comments on his wall (even if I hide it on mine). Sidenote: amicable breakup and we have LOTS of mutual friends.

    5 agree
    • It will say so n so is in a relationship. It just won't have a name until he changes it. But it wful not show in the news feed that you dropped him.

      4 agree
  21. I had a very awkward run-in with this facebook phenomenon myself. When my SO and his ex girlfriend ended their two-year relationship, they kept pretty quiet about it. They still spent time together and went places with friends, and yes,they hid their relationship status on facebook. They wanted to stay friends and not cause a big uproar about their relationship ending. They still got along and had common interests, they just were not romantically compatible and trying to force it was making them miserable, so they stopped.
    But because they kept it low-key, A LOT of their friends did not know they had split. About 7 months later, when he and I had been dating for about a month, we decided to change our facebook statuses at the same time. We did not expect what happened next. Countless friends of his ex crawled out of the woodwork to bash him, thinking that he had spontaneously dumped her or was cheating. They publicly posted obscene, insulting comments and even sent him threatening messages in private. It took the ex a few days to catch up with the situation and call off the hounds, but that amount of time was enough for my SO to lose pretty much every person who had been a mutual friend of theirs. Not to mention the whole thing made him feel terrible for having left her, even though he knew it was right thing to have done. They guilt-tripped him so badly it took him months to get over it. And these were all adults, mind you. I'm not talking about awkward teenagers, here.
    I guess the moral of the story is that you should always be cautious about how you handle these things, and even if you don't want to make a public spectacle of something like a break-up, you should probably try to keep people in the loop.

    7 agree
  22. Here's my problem: i broke up with my boyfriend because he wouldn't change his status from single to in a relationship. We were together for 2+ years then broke up in january for 2 months and we both changed status to single. We got back together 7 months ago and now we have 3 years and 2 months, and after a lot of time i finally trust him now, i saw he changed and i said ok it's time to change the status because i feel like that , and also put a picture. Even if it's not that important to me, he refused because he said he dosen't want attention bla bla etc. And i broke up with him, because after all this years, and the times i forgave him (plenty) i never cheated, at least he can do this. I don't belive the reasons he told me, i think he dosen't want the girls to know he's not single. Oh and our friends they all know we're back together and we go out with them. But it bothers me so much that he couldn't do such a small thing for me. What is he afraid the exes will find out or what? i don't know what to do..

    3 agree
    • I know exactly how this is. My boyfriend now didn't want to change his status the first time we dated [in '09] and we broke up. Now, a year and a half of being together again, I went through his old fb message [they stopped about a week after we started dating again] and he'd been talking to all these girls, saying he loved them and such.
      It caused a real big scene between me and him for a bit [because I was/am sensitive to his old habits] but he just held me until I stopped crying.
      But I can't stop the suspicions whenever he gets a text from an unknown number but he 'knows' who it is.

      4 agree

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