What Your Relationship Status Says About You

As categorized by Facebook relationship status options.

Single — Worrisome and self-loathing gait into a bar, desperate for some form of love — however fleeting, shallow, and carnal; just some affirmation — the childlike look of fear and wonderment peaking through the emotional armor slowly rusting around a beaten, still beating heart; the coming home alone and coming alone, that clammy orgasm pulled, pushed, or flicked into a room, perhaps a door considerately closed to spare a roommate from the restrained sounds of one’s auto-erotic saddening arrival; the New Yorker reading train ride downtown for the therein reviewed movie with a friend, or friends, some contraption of standing souls, for the mercy of other people’s eyes.

In a relationship — Regular sexual intercourse two or three times a week, usually Thursday nights after The Office and on the weekend; Saturday “date night” dinner at ethnic fusion restaurant whose assimilation of Southeast-Asian or Latin flavors one earnestly abridges with “wow”; brunch on Sunday morning in casual outer-wear waiting in line with other people also in relationships, the competitive visible peck on the cheek, an occasional unhappy dog on a leash tied to a poll; argument last night over the pill, he in favor, she weary, based on sensory and commitment implications, respectively; skiing or boating trips during long weekends for which items from REI and L.L. Bean are finally worn.

Engaged — Weekly trips to Crate & Barrel and Pier 1 Imports to decide what to include in the wedding gift registry, the man slowly ambling behind the woman’s consumerist empowered gait as she “drives in the point” that their future will be centered around the conquest of appliances, lavender scented things, and seat cushions; the man’s friends warning him in bars with mocking yet sympathetic pats on the back “dude it’s over,” in reference to any further pollination of his genes, our eunuch conceding with a bowed head into his last whiskeys he will drink without getting into an argument; a still warm kiss on the cheek when the higher-income earner comes home hoping the other made dinner.

Married — Vaguely more content yet depleted version of a single person trapped inside 18 – 20 lbs. of soft pinkish body fat, like over-cooked noodles left in broth overnight; the metallic drone of the television and its manic and vulgar commercials; the silent weight of the mortgage bill buried under expired coupons and glib Hallmark cards from in-laws; the lost keys, the freezer-burnt lasagna, the sporing mold on the bathroom ceiling which slowly becomes a black Sistine Chapel over time; the porn depleted limp dick choking on the humid menstrual air of its supposed target; the hand holding on a beach at sunset on their anniversary as two naked baby animals, blind, tend to grasp for each other.

It’s complicated — Problems with infidelity and lack-of-communication euphemized under it being “complicated,” usually enabled and sustained by people suffering from borderline personality disorder, MFAs, and narcissism; 1:00 a.m. drunk complicatee at bus stop screaming at complicator over the latter’s making out at a party with tween girl tumblrer deeply influenced by Lolita, guy smashing Banana Republic ad in, almost breaking his hand, but the next morning half a dozen texts make it alright, until next weekend’s “threesome issue,” the issue being the implicit emotional politics behind the penis to vagina ratio. The bruised hand a romantic purple flower in the mind of complicatee. It’s complicated.

In an open relationship — Sluts, hippies, and incest survivors wearing loose clothing in the grassiest area of decrepit yet gentrified district of edgy city, often barefoot, eyes closed, swaying themselves to a song featuring a ukulele; progressive over-educated Socialist-y people who don’t subscribe to petty and provincial notions of monogamy, using words like “polyamorous” to describe an STD; the cranberry juice used for urinary tract infections and with vodka for a cocktail whose name they don’t remember — all the names they don’t remember, from bar to car to mattress to car to bar, repeat, the lineage of humanity as accidentally passed through the cervix, that unlucky baby.

Widowed — Sitting on dock by a lake with gin n’ tonic in hand, wisps of graying hair incurred by partner’s death fluttering across the forehead as some attempt at cursive, some signature on a death certificate that meant something once; the calm waters in the estuary of one’s chest, the warm murmur behind the sternum, the loss and grief losing its contour and contrast to the world as a thunderstorm that eventually dissipates, as if God gave up on hell and simply went to sleep; the sole ice cube from finished drink barely melting in the freezing cold.

Separated — 6-month “trial period” before legal divorce, at times used prosaically by married couples who break up without going to lawyers or court, somewhat cordial, but mostly out of fiscal modesty, a kind of concession towards each other, as children grow old, splintering off into their own fragmented selves; a sweet sentiment lingering in the kitchen, perhaps from a spice rack left behind by the more cooperative one who moved out; the memory of dinner rendered together, once happy.

Divorced — Being thrown into the horrifying world of being single, trying to “get out there,” only you’re older, hence more depleted and cynical, without the youthful incentive of [ever] wanting to get married [again]; a semi-threatening email from “the ex” flagged in your inbox for the lawyer, just in case; wedding band somewhere in the coin jar, or oddly stashed away in the orphaned sock/ condom drawer; the nightly naked scrutiny in front of the mirror to assess the “used goods” with which you might attempt to attract another human being again, perhaps one just as worn and spit out as you.

In a civil union — Homosexuals not allowed to marry because heterosexual legislators need to get a f-cking life; probably very clean and more well-adjusted than straight couples; patient, nurturing, accepting of others, their commitment strengthened by the morally vigorous terrain of being gay; beautiful (at times) people who straight people wish were also straight so the latter could do them; fans of Barbra Streisand and Ellen Degeneres; a rare orchid properly cared for on the kitchen table.

In a domestic partnership — Neither married nor in a civil union, these “chronic daters” seem to express “I’ve given up” by the wearing of gray sweatpants (or for the insane, the Snuggie), eating of scrambled eggs on one’s chest while tv supine, and other zombie-like co-habitation rituals practiced by married couples; having dated for 8 – 9 years, the domestic partnership is a kind of compromise between the woman’s ultimatum for marriage and the man’s need to secure a sexual partner; a half-finished bowl of chili in the kitchen sink, a vague halo of suds around it, the cranium exploding constant drip from the faucet above, the one that should be but isn’t fixed. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • SBG

    So what does it say about you when you opt not to answer and not list a relationship status on FB? I have my own theories, but I think you could have the most fun defining that one!

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      i don’t disclose any personal info on my facebook besides the city i live in (so ppl. know via <~5 mi. vicinity when they can 'chill' with me); i consider myself a facebook minimalist, per the blank .jpegs which act as my surrogate face

      • Kelly

        I think that commenter meant what would you say about someone who didn’t post a relationship status on Facebook. I would be interested to know as well!

      • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

        oh, srry i read that from a self-involved POV, duh; ok, i understand now. thanks kelly

  • macgyver51

    I figure the gay community would probably be pretty upset that you just up and define all of them as perfect pictures of society. That can tend to be a pretty hard expectation to live up to. They’re human too. Also, not everyone is as depressed as you.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      the gay community is the only group of people herein that i didn’t ‘shit talk,’ out of an admittingly quasi/passive-progressive sense of ‘social responsibility,’ that is, not using any homophobic rhetoric, which would have been easier (and more fun, frankly) which would be met way worse, i feel

      • macgyver51

        In other words, regardless of your societal feelings on the subject, you decided to treat them as something other than human. Didn’t say less or more, just the fact that its not equal.

      • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

         had i employed consistent rhetoric, and made homophobic remarks or allusions (and i have many; they please me), i would expect you to be right here as well, saying the same thing from a symmetrical angle

    • http://topologyoftheimpossible.com M. Kitchell

      jimmy chen does not define ‘the gay community’ herein, he defines ‘homosexuals who define themselves as “in a civil union,”‘ which is an Entirely Different Thing.  

  • guest

    I do not like the tone and obvious stereotypes of this piece. Also, typos? Don’t you guys have copyeditors? 

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      then you have not acclimated to jimmy chen’s tone. jimmy chen’s tone is of unflinching satire, abstruse ontological and/or aesthetic quandaries, verily empathetic to the deep pathos of modern lyfe

    • Guest2

      This was so over your head it’s crazy. I hope you’re still in school or something.

    • guesty testy

      You can’t handle Jimmy Chen’s ass-hair!

  • Merav

    this isn’t about facebook

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539592740 Viktoriya Gaponski

    Mr. Chen is abviously in a civil union

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      Mrs. Gaponski is abviously spell-check immune, and probably polish

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539592740 Viktoriya Gaponski

        I rarely use the word, hence I don’t encounter many obvious things such as the message in your article

  • guest.

    worst article ever or WORST article ever.

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      i like how you put a period after your anon-name, like the period you probably had after your comment

      • Anonymous


  • AnnieGirl

    … just … awful?

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      have you … read any … louis-ferdinand céline … he does that too … a lot?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    was this inspired by the last ‘new girls’ episode

  • Rickh39


  • Anonymous

    Yikes…this was really….depressing. I get that its supposed to be “inspired by facebook relationship options” or something along those lines but…geez…try to be a little more “glass half full” every once and a while. Not everyone who uses facebook’s relationship settings are this boring/sad/empty/confused, etc. I’m a little overwhelmed by the cynicism. Sheesh.

  • http://twitter.com/Erikhaspresence Erik Stinson

    ethnic fusion

  • Anonymous

    i love this post. i think you guys need to chill on the
    taking-this-article personally thing; obviously it’s more about the
    author than it is any one group of people — the obvious impossibility
    of the premise of the article, that any one person could objectively and
    accurately sum up what a relationship status says about you, the
    reader, is very obviously a sarcastic (if not depressing/ cynical, in
    this case) play on the overused template itself, which i think does well to serve the aesthetic/ message/ beauty of the piece. the fact that this experiment is depressing is simply that; art does not have to be joyous for it to be life-affirming, there are no requirements at all, but please consider that depressing art can have the power to make lonely people feel less alone.  

    • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

      i feel like mr. miyagi just hopped over the fence and kicked some skeleton-suited asses, bro love

    • Anonymous

      bsg over here breakin the fourth wall

    • macgyver51

      and the award for maybe the saddest and most self centered thing ever written goes to the line…. ”
      please consider that depressing art can have the power to make lonely people feel less alone.”


      • Anonymous

        i think you are writing off an absurdly large amount of art/ public perception if your message is that “saddest” = “that depressing or melancholy art is valued by anyone is despicable because depressing or melancholy art is of less value” and “self-centered” = “irrelevant to anyone but the commenter,” which makes me feel like your comment is concretely, significantly inaccurate; i apologize if i’ve interpreted it incorrectly

      • macgyver51

        I have no argument with the fact that sad art can be beautiful. The self centered part is when that art is high-jacked because someone else wants to feel better at the sake of others instead of being happy in the fact that some couples are in fact happy and allowing that to collectively bring others to the surface. Instead we denounce it as false and wallow in self-pity. Its borderline sadistic.

      • http://jimmychenchen.com/ Jimmy Chen

        the entire conceit of the piece rests in its “sad” — or specifically, cynical, ungenerous, and condescending — tone; when rhetoric is valued as didacticism people often get offended or defensive. this piece is less satirical than a dry formal expression of tone, a particular vision of the world consistent with my self-effacing sensibilities, as i’m obviously (i feel) invoking all of my own insecurities herein

      • GVEST

        how is that self centered fuck you

    • Anonymous

      As a person who criticized this piece for its content and tone, I’ll say this–what you said makes perfect sense, I understand your explanation and the attempted point of this piece, however, its my personal opinion that the author didn’t pull it off. Not that its “the worst piece I’ve ever read” or anything like that, but I don’t think the author did what he set out to do, or at least he didn’t do it very well. This piece just didn’t resonate for me in the way that I’m sure the author intended it to.

      Thats all. Nothing personal!

  • http://stephentullydierks.tumblr.com/ Stephen Tully Dierks


  • Guest

    Some people actually ENJOY being single *gasp*

  • Oni Ishtar

    you forgot hidden!

  • Alex

    Jimmy Chen: arguably one of the most entertaining writers on Thought Catalog.

  • http://twitter.com/scruzz Shawn

    Jimmy Chen is a very sensitive fellow.

  • http://newhandsweepstakes.com/contributors/brian-mcelmurry/ Brian M

    My love for JC grows everyday I read his articles while I depressingly make copies and do scans in a windowless room in the core of a high-rise.

  • http://twitter.com/straponheart Evan Hatch

    This alone redeems Thought Catalog. Thank you.

    • GVEST

      lol so funny how people presume to be able to say this on every article as if they alone are the arbiters of what constitutes worthwhile content on this website

  • Jacqueline

    You have a very twisted idea of what an open relationship is. Geez.

  • tcp

    Jeez, aren’t you just a giant bundle of sunshine and rainbows…

  • Ralphy

    What a ‘widowed’ status says to Jimmy Chen:  ‘Check out my disaffected Don Draper Goes To Cape Cod aesthetic pose.’

    What a ‘widowed’ status says to people who actually know what it’s about: “Life can be nasty, hard, dull, poor, and stupid”

  • http://twitter.com/RonanConway Christopher Conway

    nothin wrong with open relationships, g.

    alright I’m a slutty gentrifier I admit it

  • mDrew

    I don’t have a relationship status. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME?

  • guest

    this incest survivor in an open relationship doesn’t think it’s funny…

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