Many relationships end, but for some it’s cut short because one spouse passes away. Not many people experience such a tragedy in their 20s, 30s or 40s. For those that do, the future is nothing like they expected. Unfortunately, social media can be a reminder of that.
Widows and widowers find that things aren’t always so simple on Facebook. They have a new identity that may not fit so well with the one they had on Facebook for years. There are several common issues that widows and widowers run into on Facebook that can make moving forward more challenging.
Status Updates That Can Be Upsetting
Announcing a death on social media is hard enough. When a widow or widower is finally ready to move forward with a new relationship or begin dating again, updating a Facebook account status can be equally upsetting. It’s not just a matter of stirring up emotions about the death. Seeing the status change from ‘widow’ or ‘married’ to ‘single’ or ‘in a relationship’ can make the reality of the situation that much more real and final.
Many widows and widowers also get upset when they realize the past relationship status of being married disappears when the account is updated. Currently, Facebook allows for only one relationship status at a time. So there’s no way to have a status that is ‘single, formerly married’ or ‘single, widow’ to accurately describe your situation.
Memorial Page Dilemma
There’s an odd quirk with the Facebook system. If the surviving spouse updates their Facebook profile to single or dating someone else, it will remove any mentions of them being married to their spouse on a memorial page. It’s as if you were never married on the memorial page that is available to friends and family.
This is understandably upsetting for the surviving spouse that wants to move on but doesn’t want to erase the past. At the moment there’s no way around this issue. When you have a Facebook account you can only have one relationship status and past relationships aren’t recorded or saved, even on the accounts of the deceased spouse.
Another issue arises in creating the memorial page. Facebook requires a fair amount of personal information in order to set up a memorial page. You’ll need to provide a:
- Death certificate
- Birth certificate
- Additional documentation proving the death
Some people aren’t comfortable sharing so much personal information with a social media platform that’s been called out in the past for not protecting user data.
RELATED READING: Memorializing a Loved One on Instagram
No Legacy Contact
Did you know you can assign someone as a “legacy contact” and that person can manage your Facebook account after you die? However, many people in their 20s, 30s and 40s don’t have dying at the forefront of their mind. Very few people in this age range plan ahead and name a legacy contact.
If a legacy contact isn’t named then the surviving spouse won’t be able to manage the Facebook page and update its status. It will be forever locked in place unless the surviving spouse requests that the Facebook page be removed.
Being a widow or a widower comes with many difficult challenges, and unfortunately, social media can add another layer of complexity. If you’re dealing with the death of a spouse, Direct Cremate can help simplify funeral services so that you can focus on all the other details that have to be handled. You can call or text our team 24 hours a day for assistance.