Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Remember when Facebook relationship statuses were a crucial component of defining your love life? More importantly, remember the infamous “it’s complicated” option? Many of us may have selected the status ironically (or passive-aggressively), but the reality is, that simple phrase perfectly describes the modern day dating landscape. The
relationship statuses that describe your life are no longer simple by any means — because these days, there are far more gray areas and intricacies to consider. You could be dating someone, but not with the understanding that you’re exclusive, for example. Or, you could be exclusive in terms of your sex life, but not into using labels. And just because you agreed to be hookup buddies doesn’t mean you aren’t secretly hoping for something more.
The truth is, relationships have always been complicated — even before social media, mobile devices, and shifting societal norms came into play. The difference is that now, we’ve embraced these complexities. Whereas when our parents (and their parents) were dating, the typical trajectory was to pursue one person and nurture that relationship for life, it's now more common to accept and explore other options. You may choose to pursue a connection with one person because they
fulfill your sexual needs, and still be drawn into another relationship because they provide emotional support.
The bottom line is, "single" or "in a relationship" probably isn’t going to cut it for describing your love life these days. So, without further ado, here are just a few super specific statuses that may ring a bell.
So, you’ve had “the talk” — no, not the one where you define exactly what’s going on here, but the one where you establish that at least
you’re only sleeping with each other. Phew. Now, when the object of your affection takes a while to text you back, you don’t go into full panic mode and become paranoid that they’re hooking up with someone else.
As for labels, however, those don’t apply here — not yet at least. Admittedly, it’s a little awk when you accidentally almost refer to them as your girlfriend or boyfriend when talking to your besties. But sometimes relationships require baby steps, right?
It seemed like a genius idea at the time: sex whenever you want it with no strings attached and with a trusted pal, no less. There’s just one little snag — you’re
starting to catch some feels.
For now, you’re keeping them to yourself. Maybe they’ll go away, you think optimistically (though you know full well that they’ll probably only grow stronger with every occurrence of spectacular sex). You’re starting to think that those post-romp snuggles were a risky move. But alas, it’s too late now. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll have to speak your truth — and hope that your FWB feels the same way, of course.
Long-Term Partners In Crime With No Marriage Plans
Honest to god, if Aunt Linda asks you one more time when you’re getting engaged, you’re gonna have a meltdown. The truth is, you and boo are
in no rush to get married. Maybe you’ve touched on the topic once or twice, but you’re not sure you believe in it. You’re in a happy, healthy relationship, and TBH, that’s enough for you. Maybe it’s not enough for everyone else, but they’ll just have to deal. Because as far as you and bae are concerned, your attitude is: screw social norms.
Single But Stuck On Someone
Your sister is desperately trying to set you up with her fiancé's cousin. Your BFF is pressuring you to re-download your dating apps and start swiping away. But TBH, you’re just not ready to get back out there. Why? Because you’re
still hung up on your ex. Perhaps you’ve started to convince yourself that your last SO will forever be “the one who got away.” Perhaps you’re suspecting that you broke things off too hastily. Regardless, there’s an undeniable sense of regret, and it’s holding you back from opening up your heart to new people.
You're kinda sorta technically single. But at the same time, you're not able to date anyone. That's because you and bae
decided to take a break. According to the terms you set, seeing other people is a no-no. But at the same time, you're not totally sure that the relationship you put on hold is ultimately going to resume. Hopefully, you and your boo established some ground rules for how you'll handle checking in and communication overall, and ideally, you set an endpoint for the break. Still, it's a confusing time. For now, you're just doing some soul-searching to figure out whether you want to try and make things work or go your separate ways.
On-Again, Off-Again Chaos
If you had to sum up your relationship in one word, it would be turbulent. One minute, you and bae are as blissful as ever, gazing longingly into each other’s eyes and calling each other pet names as you plan your romantic summer getaway. The next minute, a stupid misunderstanding spirals into a blowout. A provoking comment is made or a passive-aggressive text is sent, and just like that, you’ve called it quits again. Rinse and repeat.
The on-again, off-again relationship is nothing if not
confusing and exhausting. You still have a lot of love for each other, which is what keeps you hanging on. You live for the highs and dread those devastating lows. Meanwhile, your friends may be a little concerned about how stormy your relationship is. But you find reassurance in telling yourself that they simply can’t understand the depth of your love.
Long-Distance But Kinda Over It, TBH
At first, doing long distance was kind of exciting. You counted down the hours until your monthly visits, and you eagerly awaited those nightly FaceTime seshes. But to be honest,
it’s getting old.
You’re starting to wish you could see each other face to face more often. Sure, it’s nice to hear bae’s voice at the end of the day, but that certainly can’t match feeling their arms around you. Plus, you have a feeling you’d have far fewer misunderstandings if you could chat about your relationship in person. And it’s a total bummer that you don’t have a date to company parties and casual shindigs with your squad. For now, you’re not ready to call it quits. But if you’re being honest, you’re not sure how much longer you can do the LDR thing.
The LTR That's Lost Its Luster
The best way to describe your current relationship conditions is this: You love your partner very much, but you don’t feel
in love RN. You’re comfortable and content, there’s no doubt about that. But everything from the sex to your conversations feels routine. You’re pretty sure it’s possible to re-ignite that spark, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ll surprise your boo when they get home from work tonight by cooking them dinner naked — you’re pretty sure you read about that in an article once about how to spice things up. Or, you could just curl up and watch the episode you DVR'd of The Handmaid’s Tale together like you usually do on a Friday night (tempting, to say the least).
You’ve only been dating for a couple of months or so, and you’ve been
keeping this budding relationship under wraps. That could be because you already know your besties wouldn’t approve, and you can’t bear the thought of the look on their face when you tell them who you’re dating. Alternatively, you might be hiding your bae because you’re scared that your family or friends will scare them off. Or, you may be nervous about acknowledging your relationship to others before you feel super secure in it. What if things suddenly end, and then you have to break the news to your inner circle?
So, when your mom asks what you’re doing on Friday night, you say you’re having dinner with a friend. It’s not a total lie, after all. You’re not sure how long you can keep this up, however — last week you almost thoughtlessly posted an Instagram at the beach with your boo, until you realized that would blow your cover. It’s only a matter of time before you slip up and get a group text from your besties saying, “Um, who is that?!”
If only it were as simple as summing up your love life with one word — single or taken — right? But here's the thing. There's nothing wrong with having convoluted romantic circumstances. It means you're welcoming the unpredictable nature of dating with open arms. Best of all, it means you're emotionally aware — because you accept that love is messy, and sometimes, it's downright complicated.