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The True Meaning Behind Facebook Relationship Status Updates

Jeannie has been writing online for over eight years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

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Changing Your Relationship Status

In the world of dating, the internet has helped improve dating in some ways. After all, many couples found each other using websites like OKCupid or Plenty of Fish. However, in some ways, the internet has only caused complications for couples. One major complication is Facebook. Not only can you find the person you are dating on Facebook, you can stare at photos, look at all that person's friends, see what the ex wrote on the Facebook profile in 2009, and basically become a total obsessed stalker. Another complication that involves Facebook and dating, is the relationship status update.

Wow, this is a tough one. So many questions revolve around the infamous relationship status on Facebook. When is it the right time to change it? What should that change be? Will people comment when you switch it from In A Relationship to Single ? Will people judge you? What embarrassing comments will people post if you change it from Single to In A Relationship ? Did you already let everyone know you are engaged or are some people learning it for the first time when you switch the status to Engaged ? So many questions and so little time! Didn't there used to be a Swinger option? Wouldn't that just confuse people and get everyone out of your business once and for all, or was that only an option on MySpace?

At any rate, there is often a lot of thought and debate that goes into a relationship status switch on Facebook. Honestly, there is probably too much thought and debate put into it, but that is not the point. Unless you are 12 years old, there shouldn't be so much drama behind it, but yet there is in the world of dating. So basically, what are the true meanings behind Facebook relationship status updates? Let's discuss what each relationship status actually means.

Single

Single is a very basic relationship status on Facebook. You would think it would be as easy as "I am single," but honestly, it usually isn't. What Single really means on Facebook is:

1) I am angry at my significant other and I've changed my status to Single to make him mad.

2) I am really single. Don't make a big deal over it.

3) I am dating someone, but since she is not on Facebook, I don't have to admit it and I can fool everyone.

4) I have been married for two years, but I am too lazy to change my relationship status.

In a Relationship

The In a Relationship option is actually the most complicated of all the Facebook status options. Yes, it is really more complicated than the It's Complicated status. Who knew? Some of the many real meanings behind it are:

1) I am dating a new guy and switched my relationship status to In a Relationship to see how he responds. Wish me luck!

2) I am trying to make my ex-girlfriend jealous. I am really not dating anyone.

3) I am actually dating several guys, but I won't link any names to the In a Relationship status because I don't want them to know about each other.

4) I have been talking to someone on Match.com for 2 days and I am in love!

5) I am tired of my friends that are in relationships looking down on me. I am going to have a fake relationship for a few weeks so I feel better about myself. I might even buy myself flowers.

6) I am so annoyed with guys hitting on me all the time. Maybe if I am unavailable it will stop.

Engaged

Oh, the Engaged relationship status on Facebook. Chances are, Engaged actually means you are engaged. However, there are a couple of other options:

1) I am hoping that changing my status to Engaged will encourage my boyfriend to finally propose.

2) I think this will fool my friends and family members long enough to have a peaceful holiday meal this year.

Married

Married is another one of the relationship status options on Facebook that seems pretty cut and dry. However, depending on how special your friends can be, it could have other meanings, such as:

1) I am going to pretend I am married to Edward Cullen. I seriously need to seek help.

2) I am tired of dudes hitting on me. I will pretend I am Married for a while since In a Relationship didn't seem to work.

It's Complicated

Oh, the infamous melodramatic It's Complicated Facebook relationship status. Woo-hoo! Let's break the meaning down for you:

1) 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, air my dirty laundry on Facebook. It is therapeutic for me.

2) In my head, I am in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable. In that special someone's head, a relationship really doesn't exist.

3) I am still waiting for my mail order bride to arrive.

4) I am in the middle of a love triangle. The excitement never ends in my life!

In an Open Relationship

In an Open Relationship is a pretty easy one. The two meanings behind this are:

1) I am posting In an Open Relationship as my relationship status on Facebook in the hopes that my girlfriend will go along with it. Chances are, I will be changing the status back to In a Relationship or possibly Single by tomorrow.

2) I am kind of sleazy and I don't care who knows it. Hi Grandma!

Widowed

Widowed is the saddest of all the Facebook relationship status options. Widowed can only pretty much have two meanings:

1) I am sincerely widowed. Stop asking me about it.

2) I am so angry at my husband, I will be widowed by tomorrow. Beware!

Separated

The dreaded Separated Facebook status update rears its ugly head! This could also technically go under It's Complicated in my opinion, but it does have its own status. So basically, the meanings for Separated are:

1) I finally dumped that no-good loser of a husband!

2) I want to dump my wife, but this is my passive-aggressive way of letting her know!

3) I am legally separated, but didn't feel like telling any of you on my friend list. Don't ask!

Divorced

Of course, Divorced typically just means you are divorced. I can't really think of anything exciting to go along with this one other than you might just get invited to an awesome divorce party if you read this on one of your friend's Facebook profiles.

In a Civil Union

In a Civil Union is a recent addition to Facebook's relationship status options. Basically, this only has two meanings:

1) I am gay and decided to use the In a Civil Union status since I can't legally get married in my state.

2) I am an insensitive idiot who is not gay, but thought it would be funny to change my relationship status to In a Civil Union. I wonder why my friend list is going down in numbers?

In a Domestic Partnership

In a Domestic Partnership is another recent addition by Facebook. This also has only two meanings:

1) I am gay and felt more comfortable using the In a Domestic Partnership option rather than the In a Relationship option.

2) I am an insensitive idiot who is not gay, but thought it would be funny to change my relationship status to In a Domestic Partnership. Why do my friends keep unfriending me?

Comments

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on May 07, 2015:

Thanks so much! I am glad you liked it.

temptor94 on May 07, 2015:

Awesome hub! Some of the options are really funny... I had a good laugh today :) Voted up!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on October 04, 2012:

Hahaha... I am sure plenty of people. :-)

beamup on October 04, 2012:

So how many of us are just normal people in normal relationships with a Facebook status that reflects that and doesn't have some alternate meaning?

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on October 04, 2012:

You are so right. I never thought about it before, but yes, I tend to change my status to single as soon as I break up with a real jerk. I don't change it that quickly otherwise. Thanks for your comment.

Hezekiah from Japan on October 04, 2012:

Very interesting. I have noticed that many people who change their status to single in when they have left a bitter relationship behind.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on October 02, 2012:

Thanks so much! I appreciate your comment!

vibesites from United States on October 02, 2012:

A great and humorous hub, well-written all around. :)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 27, 2012:

I seriously don't understand what is wrong with men. It sounds like he really wants a girlfriend. Your sister might be right... he might be trying to get a green card. I would be careful with him. My friend was in a similar situation once and he just wanted a green card. He might have changed his status to "single" just to get a reaction out of you. Men are so confusing!

mimi23 on September 26, 2012:

ok I have a question hopefully you can answer it or give advice I have been friend's with a man from india for like 6 month's and out of the blue meaning recently he ask's me if i can be his girlfriend I'm comfused then I ask y he says ,it don't have to be a reason then he tell's me he just want me to be his, then he post's on facebook status single idk what to do or say because my sister say he's probly tryna get a green card but he's alway's telling me, he will never leave his india he seem's passionate about his country so i'm confused any advice about y he's asking me this question?

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 12, 2012:

Thanks for checking out my hub!

Nancy McGill from United States on August 11, 2012:

Hahahahahaha :)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 08, 2012:

Thanks so much! I am glad you enjoyed it.

Bijit Sharma from Tinsukia, India on August 08, 2012:

great words....loved it

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on July 21, 2012:

EuroNinila - Yes, it is very overrated. When I am dating someone now, people will ask, "Have you changed your status on Facebook yet?" Ummm... no. I remember when people used to just ask if you are "serious" about that person. Oh well. That is technology for you. Thanks for checking out my hub!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on July 21, 2012:

josh3418 - Thanks so much! I am happy you enjoyed the hub!

mythicalstorm273 - Thanks for pointing that out. I would have never thought of a domestic partnership as a straight couple, but you are right. Any couple can be a in a domestic partnership. It is rare to find a straight couple that calls it that though. I actually think the term is a little weird, too. I would think "in a relationship" would be good enough to cover your relationship and gay couples. It is kind of nosy of Facebook to push the issue past that, but I guess it likes to give people plenty of options. Seems like single or relationship should be enough for anyone. Thanks for the comment!

Fotinoula Gypsyy from NYC BABY on July 20, 2012:

Facebook is so overrated... I love the girls who are like you know it's real when it's on Facebook....cracks me up! Funny hub!

mythicalstorm273 on July 20, 2012:

This was hilarious! The only one that I kind of didn't like was the domestic partnership. My status says I am in a relationship because I am not yet engaged and honestly I probably wouldn't put domestic partnership because that is a strange term to me, but legally I am in a domestic partnership. My boyfriend's health insurance covers me and we have been together for long enough now (not like so many of the people out there who are 'in love' after 2 days) that we state that we are domestic partners. Although this was supposed to be light and funny and for the most part was, civil unions and domestic partnerships do exist outside of the gay community. Some people just never get married to their significant other. Personally I do not even like the terms and what they imply but I had to get that off my chest because I can't be covered under my boyfriends insurance if it wasn't for the fact that we are in a domestic partnership. So back to this amazing hub... I really loved this! The relationship status thing on facebook is so funny and such a joke! I see so many reminders for people to update their facebook status because it isn't official until it is facebook official! Well done :-)

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 20, 2012:

Jeannie,

HAHAHA, Awesome hub, and fantastic descriptions for each one of the relationship statuses! I had a good laugh! :)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on July 05, 2012:

Thanks so much. I am happy you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for sharing and for the vote up.

Ashish Joshi from India on July 05, 2012:

Wow...voted up and much, and shared right away!!

Such an awesome n interesting hub...especially a 'love triangle' complicating the situation!!

Great hub...

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 28, 2012:

Thanks so much! I basically came up with this just by reading the constant relationship status changes my friends were always making. It was so ridiculous I had to write about it. Thanks for the vote up!

mattdigiulio from Los Angeles on June 26, 2012:

Now this is a clever hub. How did you come up with this? Brilliant. Voting up. Matt

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 10, 2012:

sarahmoose - Unfortunately, it is true. People do some weird things on Facebook.

naimishika - That is good news! You won't ever have to be one of those people that changes the status all the time.

Thank you both for the comments!

Venugopaal from India on June 10, 2012:

Thanks god. I have never changed my status. Still I am married.

Sarah Chewings from Nottingham, England on June 09, 2012:

Love this, its so true!!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 01, 2012:

I am happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading my hub.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on June 01, 2012:

uhummm what can i say..i don't have a facebook acoount..but it's really interesting to read this hub :)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on June 01, 2012:

Yes, I don't believe most of what I see on Facebook. Hehe. Thanks for the comment!

Grace Whites from Manalapan, New Jersey, USA on June 01, 2012:

I strongly agree with your ideas here. You know when it is about the status, you cannot determine the truth unless you will prove it in the church. LOL. Thanks for sharing.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on May 29, 2012:

sholland10 - Oh, I get so frustrated when I learn about major events through Facebook! Your daughter should have told you first. Personally, I find the relationship status situation frustrating, but maybe it is because no guy ever switches their status to "in a relationship" for me. Hmmm... Thanks for the votes and thanks for sharing!

RealHousewife - Yes, it sounds like you have such a jealous husband! Hahaha. You are lucky. Not sure about cashing in on that alimony just yet though. :-) Thanks for the comment!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on May 28, 2012:

Jeannie - you got that right! Lol.

I was told to see if my husband was really jealous and to change my profile to "single" to see if he noticed. He didn't - I had to tell him. Then he laughed. Yeah he's jealous! Lol. I told him I know deep down he is burning with anger and jealousy! It's just covert!" he just laughed and I don't think he is playing because I am still single according to FB. Wonder if I should make him pay alimony now?

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on May 28, 2012:

Jeannie, if my husband had "single" because he was too lazy to change it, he wouldn't be my husband. LOL I found out my daughter had started dating her boyfriend because it popped up in my Newsfeed. I told her she needed to let me know before posting it. AHHHH! I love the analysis of meaning to each status. I hate it when I see someone posting a relationship status as a joke, like the immature jerks you mention. Great Hub!! Votes and shared and linked to my FB hub. :-)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on May 25, 2012:

Hahaha... you are probably right. No matter what, that It's Complicated status update is bad news. Thanks for sharing.

Michael Arida from Philippines on May 25, 2012:

No offense but this screams almost pure womans perspective so lets flip the script? (Im not a sexist or an asshole, there are women out there smarter than me blah blah blah, just being honest)

Here ya go.

It's complicated = I cheated on my boyfriend but didn't tell him so instead I set it to this and probably worried him about something unrelated. (Also probably enjoying some time with Guy #2 while setting this status)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on March 05, 2012:

I am glad you liked it. Thanks for dropping by!

Courtney L J on March 04, 2012:

haha I love your number 2 on widowed. hilarious post

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 28, 2012:

I know what you mean. People don't need to know that much information at anyone... although just once, I kind of wish I could switch to "in a relationship." That is so middle school of me!

Hally Z. from Madison, Wisconsin on February 27, 2012:

I don't use the relationship status button at all- too much info!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 23, 2012:

Facebook has really taken oversharing to a whole new level. Also, everyone watches reality shows and thinks every little thing any average person does is now exciting. It isn't. I really don't need all that information about everyone either. Some things are better left unsaid. Thanks for the comment. Now I am wondering while I am still on Facebook. :-)

jasper420 on February 22, 2012:

I have a facebook acount what gets to me isn't just that people are often fake and rude but aslo that they very into themselves posting photos of themselves and only talking about themselves on there stats great hub makes me think about what im doing on facebook.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 19, 2012:

I completely agree with you. There is a lot of oversharing on Facebook. I also think it is a little weird to hear about major events like pregnancy or engagements via Facebook instead of in person or over the phone. Oh well. This is the world we live in now. Thanks for the comment!

Sandi from Greenfield, Wisconsin on February 19, 2012:

Enjoyed your hub, Jeannie. I am on Fb but I don't have a relationship status. I think the way many people let the whole world know what they are up to and air their dirty laundry is pretty weird. I like to catch up with family and friends, see pics, etc but it seems that some stuff is better kept to yourself. Thanks for sharing.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 19, 2012:

Robin - You are so right... it is all about being amused and keeping up with gossip. I know the most ridiculous, minor details about everyone in my family and all my friends now. Thanks for the votes and thanks for sharing!

Alecia - Wow! You stopped using Facebook? That is very brave of you. I think I am just a little addicted, but don't want to admit it. I know what you mean about people validating their lives with status updates though. Sigh. What a strange world we live in now. Thanks for the comment!

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on February 18, 2012:

I definitely don't understand why people try to validate their lives by their relationship status on Facebook. I just completely removed it form my profile because those who need to know will know enough. Funny hub as always Jeannie!

Robin Oatley on February 18, 2012:

Great hub! And well, all these relationship changes at least keep us amused. Isn't everyone on Facebook to always have the latest gossip on their friends and family? Or to check up on those people who you know but aren't actually friends with (at least in real life)?

Voted up, funny and sharing!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 18, 2012:

PDXKaraokeGuy - I am glad you enjoyed the hub. I haven't read your hub yet, but I will check it out. Thanks for dropping by!

ytsenoh - I have a limited amount of friends on Facebook, too. Just being friends with the people I actually know is plenty enough for me. Thanks for reading my hub and thanks for the comment.

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on February 17, 2012:

Interesting hub. I've been on facebook for a long time, probably since I left college and my daughter left college. I'm not the type of person who states I have 923 friends, just a select group of friends, co-workers and relatives and the privacy steps are implemented according to my liking and on relationship, I click, check nothing because nobody needs to know one way or the other. It's a great venue to use for a variety of reasons, when used properly. More and more companies are becoming embroiled in social media sites for marketing and they are good places to place hubs. Thanks again for your hub!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on February 17, 2012:

Great, Jeannie. I don't know if you read my hub One Tremendous Year but I cover a lot of this material regarding how I met my wife :-) WE became facebook official before most of our friends knew :-)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 13, 2012:

Yes, all of these are on the current list of options on Facebook. Even weirder is the fact that if you change your relationship status it now automatically shows up in the feed for all your friends to see. They can then either "like" the update or even comment on it! Horrors! I've had so many friends change their relationship status lately and have people post comments like, "Oh, well glad you dumped him!" or "I never liked her anyway" or things like that. Of course, then they get back together with their exes. Awkward! I just never change mine no matter what now.

Thanks for the comment and the votes!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on February 13, 2012:

You know, I hadn't paid attention to the list of new categories. I don't know whether they're stupid, or a reflection of a self-involved society. Sheesh! Very informative hub - voted up and useful.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 06, 2012:

JayeWisdom - I don't hate Facebook, but I certainly do not like the relationship status option. I also don't like that you can link it to another person. I think the whole thing is a little too nosy. I have friends that change their relationship status all the time. It is just silly.

Eric Newland - Yes, maybe status options needs to be more specific. Or perhaps if someone changes it more than once a day, they should be blocked from changing it again for a week. That would be fun!

Thanks for the comments!

Eric Newland from Dayton, Ohio on February 06, 2012:

My favorite is when someone changes their status twice in a day. Maybe there should be a separate relationship status qualifier field with options like Preemptively, Prematurely, Hopefully, Ironically, and For Dramatic Effect.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on February 06, 2012:

I'll state upfront that I truly HATE Facebook, having witnessed people I know make total fools of themselves on FB, so I canceled my account. (Facebook still has all my data, which is another story!)

This relationship status issue is something I've seen used as a weapon EVERY time someone got mad at her boyfriend/fiancé. The status changed back to Single, all the photos came down and he was blocked. Until the next time.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 06, 2012:

homesteadbound - To be honest, I did not realize there were that many options available either until I went to write this hub. I really honestly think there used to be a Swinger option, but that must have been MySpace. Oh well. Thanks for dropping by!

Eddy - Thanks for the votes up. I am glad you enjoyed the hub.

Eiddwen from Wales on February 05, 2012:

'Wow from me as well!!!'

Great work and I have to vote up up amd away!!!

I now look forward to reading many more hubs by you.

Take care;

Eddy.

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on February 05, 2012:

I had no idea that this many options were even available. Wow! But then again, maybe they aren't and this piece was written with irony. Either way, wow!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 05, 2012:

truthfornow - I remember years ago, a women I worked with who was in her 40s told me, "It never changes. Grown adults act the same in their 40s as they did in school. It is like no one ever gets past middle school." And she was right! I can't believe what I see on Facebook. I also think too many jump to change that status to "In a Relationship" and when it doesn't work out, have to deal with the shame of changing it after one or two weeks. I always wait until I've dated a guy for longer than a month, which is why my relationship status basically always stays at single. Haha. Thanks for the votes!

Turtlewoman - Yes, I can imagine he did not find that too amusing. A prank involving being engaged is probably never a good idea.

Eric Newland - Hahaha... you might want to rethink the "open relationship" status. Good luck with that one!

Thanks to everyone for the comments!

Eric Newland from Dayton, Ohio on February 05, 2012:

Hmm, I'll think twice about status change announcements now. Especially my plans to switch to "open relationship" status.

Kim Lam from California on February 05, 2012:

Funny, yet so true. I had a friend who changed her status to "engaged" to play a prank on her boyfriend. Hmm...I doubt he thought it was funny...

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on February 05, 2012:

It amazes me how many grown up people are constantly changing their Facebook status to make others jealous. Are we all in high school again? It just makes me laugh. I never have posted anything about my relationship status because why am I worried about what a bunch of people I hardly know think and why do I want them all up in my business? Very funny article. Voted up and all.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 05, 2012:

Yes, it amazes me what people post sometimes. The relationship status updates are really interesting since people seem to change them constantly. No one can be in and out of that many relationships... at least, I hope not! Thanks for the comment!

mljdgulley354 on February 05, 2012:

I have a facebook account and it constantly amazes me what some of my friends post. Other ways it has helped to keep up with friends and family.

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