August 8th, 2014


The great Facebook marriage experiment, part 2 - or, "It's complicated"

We have already established that it's possible to have a same sex marriage on Facebook. And also that being married seems to affect what ads you are shown. So far so good. But questions started arising about what other forms of relationship are acknowledged by Facebook - what about poly relationships for example?

So the first thing my new wife and I did was find out if you can marry your sister. Turns out you can, but she stops being your sister if you do. If you divorce her, she becomes your sister again. Then I tried to add another name to my list of spouses, and it wouldn't let me. It also refused to acknowledge my current spouse with my new spouse's name added on the end - it would say I'm married, but not who to. I don't think you can be married to someone who's not on Facebook either. So, while you can have 'an open relationship' or be 'it's complicated', you can't actually have a poly relationship. Which is dumb, because not every poly relationship is open. In fact, most probably aren't. Unless you subscribe to the somewhat normative view that there has to be a central 'primary' relationship which is your Facebook-acknowledged one, and any others are 'secondary' and therefore your relationship is open, if only to these sub-spouses.

Moving right along, my wife quickly became dissatisfied with our marriage and divorced me. Within seconds, Facebook had decided that I have Mummy Tummy and need to have that shit tucked, pronto. To test my hypothesis, I re-proposed to my now-sister. While she faffed about finding out if she could have an 'it's complicated' with her actual sister (she couldn't, because Sister is already in a relationship with someone else), or marry her actual husband (she couldn't do that either because I had first proposal dibs apparently), I was busy checking my Facebook ads. And sure enough, if I'm married but not to a particular person, Facebook assumes my spouse is a man and shows me ads for Mummy Tummy and kids' clothes. If I name my spouse of the same sex, my tummy tuck ads turn into eyelid reduction ones (because I'm over 40 and therefore OLD and WRINKLY but also married and I need to stay pretty to keep my wife, amirite?).

Apparently only hetero marriages have kids, yo. But everyone over 40 wants plastic surgery.

We then tried to extricate ourselves from this situation. I persuaded tieke to remarry me, on the condition that we would then see if we could both be widows. Except I had to go to Greer's Class Of Agonising Pain, and by the time I got back my wife had killed me off and I had somehow become her grandmother (pending). On checking my own status, I am still married and tieke is my sister (pending).

And I moved to Antarctica. This has so far not dissuaded Facebook from showing me ads for eyelid surgery or endometriosis support groups. I haven't seen the cat one for a while though.

So anyway, it seems that for us, 'it's complicated' means that I am my ex-wife's deceased grandmother, and my sister is also my widow.

But it won't recognise poly relationships. WTF Facebook?

Also, I am tempted to start haunting people in my Dead Grandmother guise.