The New Way to Break Up: Changing Facebook Relationship Status

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Prince Harry is now single.

The Associated Press is reporting that Britain's News of the World tabloid says Chelsy Davy, who has been dating the heir to the British throne for five years, announced the end of her relationship with him by changing her status on Facebook to: "Relationship: Not in One."


More than one person on Facebook has announced a new relationship, or the change in status of a relationship, to friends by specifying that one is in a relationship with so-and-so, or that one is married (always fun when someone who's actually been married for years finally sets that up on Facebook). Conversely, more than one person has been surprised when they downgrade their relationship and suddenly are treated to an outpouring of sympathy from their friends.

(Facebook also has two other categories -- "in an open relationship," though it doesn't allow people to set up multiple relationships," and my favorite, "It's complicated.")

But while setting up a relationship with someone else on Facebook, or even noting that one is now engaged or married, requires confirmation by the other person, ending a relationship -- which Facebook calls "canceling" a relationship -- does not, and it's likely that as time goes on, more and more people are going to find out their relationship is over through their Facebook status.

Thing is, some people don't take that sort of news well. Also in England, a man ended up killing his estranged wife when she changed her Facebook status to "single." Edward Richardson, 41, of Mayfield Road, Biddulph, was found guilty of stabbing 26-year-old hairdresser Sarah Richardson to death last May.

Fiona Cortese, of the Crown Prosecution Service, reportedly said: "Richardson became enraged when Sarah changed her marital status on Facebook to single and decided to go and see her as she was not responding to his messages."

Perhaps Chelsy Davy should have been more careful.

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