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What Relationship Statuses Really Mean on Social Media

Suryasarathi Bhattacharya
Today, social media has taken over all the domains of a human's existence. Be it at home or at office, in a meeting or a vacation, the social media lingers along everywhere.
And amid all this fuss, there's the 'Relationship Status'. As they say, "you can love it, hate it, but cannot ignore it". Much to our dismay, the count of relationship statuses is on an ever-increasing spree. But do we even know, what these statuses actually mean?
"I'm Single! Complete bliss"..."I'm seeing someone. We met yesterday."..." Guys! I'm Engaged"..."It didn't work out. We Separated"..."Actually, we think we could give it a try again"..."Naaah! She's not that into me"..."No. Actually I don't want commitment"..."Leave it.. It's way too Complicated!".
Doesn't it sound as if someone is constantly flipping channels on a TV? With the fast growing and constantly changing technology, we too have become highly capricious.
That's definitely evident by our equally volatile relationship statuses on social media. What we write, what we want, and what we get are all incoherent. Following are some connotations of the different relationship statuses that people get into (or claim to).
Single is one of the most visible statuses on social media. Although it is a small six letter word, but the implications can be many.
  • I am single. What's the fuss all about?
  • I am really pissed off at my partner and I've changed my status to 'Single'. Gives me peace.
  • I am seeing someone (who is not active on social media). I don't have to tell everyone and I can have some fun.
  • I have been married for three years, but changing my relationship status seems a bit of an ordeal. In short, I'm too lazy to do that.
As rosy and romantic the status may sound, it is laden with a bag full of confused and diverse meanings. Some of them can be:
  • I am in a relationship with someone, and I want the world to know it.
  • I am dating this new guy for whom I've fallen head over heels. So, I changed my relationship status to 'In a Relationship' to see how he responds.
  • I am trying to make my ex jealous. Actually, I'm still single and ready to mingle.
  • I am actually dating several people, and I don't want them to know about each other.
  • I am so done with my friends, that are in relationships, giving me a complex every now and then. I am going to have a fake relationship for a few weeks so I feel good.
  • I can't stand guys/ gals hitting on me all the time anymore. If I am unavailable, it might stop.
Being Engaged on social media can have many engaging and interesting facets like:
  • I am engaged. Book your calendar for the wedding day.
  • I am hoping that changing my status to 'Engaged' will motivate my partner to finally propose.
  • I am happy being alone and don't want to be in a committed relationship right now. I think this will fool my friends and family members long enough, who otherwise thought that either I am a flirt or a homosexual.
Married is another relationship status that can have pretty amusing meanings, some being:
  • I am happily married. Life's never been this good!
  • I am going to pretend I am married to Christian Grey/ Princess Leia. I am a psycho!
  • I am left with no other option. Tired of guys/gals hitting on me, I will pretend I am 'Married' for a while, since 'In a Relationship' didn't seem to work.
It's Complicated because it is complicated.! All the confused souls resort to this status for some temporary sanity and relief. Some of the scenarios can be as complicated as:
  • I've broken up with my boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc., several times this year. I've actually lost count. I need counseling, but instead, venting the frustration on social media. It is therapeutic for me.
  • I am in love with someone who doesn't know my feelings. I'm too naive and too shy to approach and share my feelings.
  • I am in the middle of a love triangle. The excitement never ends in my life!
  • I was straight, at least the last time I checked. Quite recently, I've developed interest in same sex as well. It's really complicated.
In an Open Relationship is pretty much the most sincere relationship status. It doesn't hang in the middle like others. The possible meanings can be:
  • I am a commitment phobic person, and I want my significant other to know that.
  • I am a commitment phobic person, and I am looking for someone with similar feelings.
  • I am gay/lesbian but I don't want the world to know it that soon. Yeah, I am a bit apprehensive, but at least I am not confused.
Widowed can only pretty much have two meanings, with all heartfelt condolences:
  • I am sincerely widowed. Would you mind not talking about it, please?
  • I am so mad at my husband, I will be widowed by tomorrow. Beware! (The terminologists of social media must soon come up with a similar relationship status for men. Let's be fair to them as well.)
The most shocking and dreadful relationship status on social media. Though sometimes, it does go along the lines of It's Complicated, it has a more stern side to it. The most suggestive meanings of it are:
  • I am just done with that no-good loser of a husband! (For guys: I can't live with that no brains-nagger of a wife. Hence, separated.)
  • I want to dump my partner, but this is my passive-aggressive way of telling them.
  • I am legally separated. I don't want to make it a headline. Let's not discuss the details.
Pretty much straight cut way of telling others that one is divorced. Until and unless one wants to search for a prospective partner who is also divorced, it really doesn't qualify to be a social media relationship status.
It is comparatively a newer member in the list of all the relationship statuses that exist, which can possibly mean:
  • I am a homosexual and decided to use the 'In a Civil Union' status since I can't legally get married in my state.
  • I am an insensitive idiot who is not homosexual, but thought it would be quite funny to change my relationship status to 'In a Civil Union'. I wonder why people don't accept my friend request.
It is another recent addition to the list. This also has only two meanings:
  • I am homosexual and felt more comfortable using the 'In a Domestic Partnership' option rather than the 'In a Relationship' option.
  • I am an insensitive idiot who is not homosexual, but thought it would be pretty amusing to change my relationship status to 'In a Domestic Partnership'. Every time I check my number of friends, there's a decrease. God knows why!
The last (until now) and the only option left for people who couldn't decide on the above.

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Phew! I am pretty much exhausted writing on these statuses. I wonder, what happens to those who actually have to deal and live with them. Hats off!