What Is Relationship Status

Men's Dating

Understanding Relationship Status: What It Means & Why It Matters

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Jon McCallister

Jon McCallister

Jon came to DatingAdvice in 2016 with more than 15 years of editorial experience behind him. He has experience editing, writing, and designing at numerous publications, including the Gainesville Sun. Jon enjoys researching emerging trends and seeking out the companies, organizations, and individuals making an impact in the modern world of dating. He excels at working closely with writers and editors to improve the quality of online content.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

What is a relationship status? It’s simply where you’re at in terms of romance. When asked if you’re single or seeing someone, your response defines the relationship status. There are multiple answers you can give, and it may not be crystal clear what to say (sometimes it really is complicated).

A relationship status sets the tone for you and your partner. Imagine you’re at a social function and someone refers to you and your casual date as “a cute couple” — and then there’s an awkward silence because y’all haven’t had that conversation. It makes things so much easier when you’re on the same page. 

Define the relationship for your own sake, not for societal norms or family expectations. There is nothing wrong with labels. Be calm in the process as there is no sense in placing a title on your partnership before you’re ready.

Types | Influencing Factors | Impact

Types of Relationship Statuses

First, let’s list the common relationship statuses that individuals and couples use when defining their dating activities. These labels help outsiders understand your situation and also make communication between you and your partner much clearer. 


Being single is where we all start in terms of relationship status. The status of single gives a green light to potential suitors and secret admirers.


The single life allows the freedom to flirt without inhibitions because you are not romantically attached to anyone.

There are many benefits to being single. You can book as many casual dates as you like. You can explore your local area for exciting outings with people. You can do you.

Single people have diverse dating options and don’t have to worry about being accountable for a significant other‘s feelings. 

In a Relationship 

The status “in a relationship ” is common for people in their 30s and up. The desire to settle down and stop riding solo gets stronger as we get older.

When a Facebook profile status says “in a relationship,” it means that a person has a boyfriend or girlfriend and is therefore off the market. This is a clear relationship status taken up by two people who are romantically involved.    

In a relationship

When you communicate that you’re in a relationship, you are expressing to the world that you’re exclusively dating a partner. This exclusivity typically includes one-on-one dates, intimate communication, and the intertwining of friends and family members. 

When you’re in a committed relationship, you are serious about staying together and potentially making a long-term commitment that could lead to marriage. 

A polyamorous person may be in an open relationship and keep actively dating. Ethical non-monogamy is a practice where relationship status isn’t a dealbreaker for dating someone new.

Couples could be in polyamorous relationships where they are romantically engaged with different partners. So always remember not to judge a book by its relationship status.


The engaged relationship status shows a deep level of commitment and a promise for the future. When you hear someone assert, “I’m engaged,” they’re planning to get married. 


Engaged couples are beyond casual dating or even serious dating. They’re committing for the long haul. To be engaged means planning a wedding and taking the first steps toward marriage. They are working to bring their two separate lives into one unit.  

It should be a joyful transition from dating to engagement.

Usually, when you hear someone say they’re engaged, your first response is, “Congrats!” 

This is a pretty short-lived relationship status as it’s more of a stepping stone than a final destination. On social media, you are likely to see a newly engaged couple on your Instagram feed. 


Marriage is a serious relationship status (or, more accurately, marital status) that indicates true love and longevity between two people.  


The married status is on the decline for current 20-somethings who are still clinging to their single status in large numbers.

To be married means that you and your partner have taken your relationship past the engagement stage and into a legally binding, spiritually charged status.

In the U.S., marriage comes with distinctive rights and responsibilities. A married couple might open shared bank accounts, file taxes jointly, or share custody of children. 

Certain shared benefits and burdens come with marriage, particularly concerning your partner’s health, wealth, and work-life balance.

It’s Complicated

One of the most notorious relationship statuses started with Facebook. “It’s complicated” means a person does not know exactly where they stand.

This status is the epitome of the gray area in the dating world. There is no clear answer or label for what’s going on romantically. And as Avril Lavigne can tell you, it can get pretty frustrating.

It's complicated

You could be on a break, or maybe you are friends with benefits. Perhaps you just started talking with a new person and don’t know what the rules are yet. Whatever the case may be, your relationship or situationship is complicated to explain.

You have to navigate some ambiguity and uncertainty with the “it’s complicated” relationship status. Be prepared for the awkward inquiries, and remember to only share what you’re comfortable sharing with others. It’s your business at the end of the day. 

If you want to make things more official and less dramatic, a conversation will need to be had with your partner about where the relationship is going and how you both want things to progress.

Factors Influencing Relationship Status

Many life circumstances can impact relationship statuses. No one is in complete control of their love story, and sometimes outside influences can determine the relationship status.


Your values and goals can impact the trajectory of your romantic relationship. Some cultural or religious beliefs can influence relationship statuses. 

Core values

For some people, religion can make or break an emotional connection because having the same views is important for maintaining the relationship dynamic.

Outside Influences

Family and friends are also big influences on your relationship. At the end of the day, we all seek our community for advice. A friend or family member’s opinions about your romantic partner can have a big impact on the relationship dynamics. 

Commitment Issues

Sometimes we’re not ready to commit to a long-term relationship. Maybe you’ve experienced heartbreak in the past, or maybe you’ve just never seen yourself as the settling-down type.

Fear of commitment

Commitment issues are common roadblocks for relationships. If you know that you’re not in it for the long haul, make sure that your partner understands that. 

The Significance of Knowing Where You Stand

Gaining clarity on your relationship status will make the dating process much easier. A stable, healthy relationship comes with mental wellness benefits. And a toxic relationship is just plain bad for your mental health.

You can get lost in your feelings when you’re uncertain where you stand in your romance. You may start to overthink what the rules are, what your romantic partner wants, and how to respond to their every text message. Defining the relationship (DTR) alleviates so much anxiety and mental strain.

Define the relationship

Take the time to understand how you want your dating life to progress. Reflect on who you are and who you’re dating. Are you emotionally invested, or just in it for fun?

It’s important to discuss how you are feeling, and you’d like to move forward. Include your partner in the decision-making process. 

When you date someone, it opens new possibilities for growing close and merging social circles. 

Growing as a couple is a beautiful experience. And it’s worth having The Talk if you’re seeing someone you like and want to progress the relationship.

Define the Relationship & Get Clarity

A key part of the dating process is creating intimacy with your partner and knowing what you want. Your relationship status will be defined by how you approach your dating life. 

Relationship statuses are necessary for you and your partner to understand where you are and where you’re going.

Titles don’t matter, but knowing your relationship status can give you peace of mind. Healthy communication is important for you to know where you stand. 

Talk with your partner and have transparent communication about what you want out of your relationship. Create the dating experience you want by discussing what your relationship status is.