Whether we like it or not, our relationship status plays an important role in our lives. It has become a way for people to perceive us within a social context. The internet is no exception. Social networks are but another place to ask us the infamous question: Are you single or married? But do these “relationship” labels define who we are?
As a 25-year-old career-minded woman, it’s near impossible to escape a conversation where the topic of relationship statuses comes up. Maybe there’s a hidden rule that sets an automatic red flag if we reach a certain age and are still single. Or at the very least, it gives some just the right amount of leeway they need to tell us how almost scandalizing it is to be single at our age. We can divide these people into three groups: the parental, the couples and the singles.
The first, is of course, made up of parents wanting to push us to take the giant step towards marriage and family. For the most part, our parents are harmless so we can generally tolerate the countless questions they throw at us. But this isn’t always easy when you’re dealing with a nosy neighbor or stranger. You know the ones who feel like it’s their responsibility to give you some life advice. Yes, we could simply be downright honest and say it’s none of their business, but let’s face it. We don’t want the added stress. But wouldn’t it be easier to just tape a “Here’s my relationship status” sign on our foreheads?
Next is the well-wishing couples who want you to join the “we’re married” club. Now, not every couple has a secret plan to hitch you off as soon as possible. It’s just those few who seem to have an million people on their list they think would be a great match for you. Forget about telling them we’re actually ok being single. We might as well be speaking in another language. But let’s be fair, they do mean well. Who knows, maybe we’ll be them in a couple of years as we try to lure another single to the married life.
Finally we get to the singles. Individuals like us who’ve carefully navigated the above groups as best as possible. It’s hard not to share some sort of kinship with them. We’re all on the same boat—trying to stay clear of the blind dates, the disproving looks and the unpleasant questions over our dating lives.
Is it so much to ask that our relationship status not be become an indicator of who we are? Social networks and the Internet seem to make it out that way. Facebook is a prime example of how much emphasis is played on the idea of someone being single, married or in a complicated relationship. How many times have we received a notification that a friend has changed their status? Tons! But the question is, has this drastically changed the particular friend? Unless they happen to be engaged or married, they’re usually the same person we met back in college or high school. Granted, it’s big news, but not necessarily a clear definition of who they are.
The truth is that whether we’re single, married or in a complicated relationship, our relationship status is just that…a status. It holds as much power as we want to give it. No more. No less.