The Relationship Status: A guide to interpreting those online romantic ambiguities


Have you been Facebook stalking your latest beau-to-be? Although the ‘Relationship Status’ bar on the website may be intended to clear up any niggling doubts about whether a person is seeing someone or not, the various meanings behind each status update can often cause more confusion than anything else. Here, The Saint examines the most popular interpretations to end your woes:

In A Relationship

Prepare yourself for a slew of albums recounting vomitously twee trips to Paris and photographic evidence of them attempting to eat each other’s faces on West Sands. Matching profile pictures can be disorientating, so make sure you do not end up making a move on someone’s boyfriend when you are really after the girl. The ‘<3’ heart symbol will pepper their posts to each other and when the condition is serious, you are at risk of seeing entire wall posts consisting of the dreaded little symbol. The best thing you can do is close your browser and run, run as fast you can before you become part of the love fest.

It’s Complicated

This is the ‘Berlin, 1945’ of status updates, especially if it has recently changed from ‘in a relationship with…’ to this. It’s clear the combatants are valiantly struggling on and flogging that dead horse within an inch of its life. This is the recently departed couple going through that bargaining stage. If you are interested in one of the parties, you may want to take this time to pounce, like a tiger on a particularly insecure and upset forest creature.


…and looking! In the olden days, people had to take out slightly dodgy ads in the back of newspapers when they wanted to advertise their crippling loneliness and need for validation. Facebook has since revolutionised the search for The One. A simple click can now say ‘come one, come all’ and the furtive, slightly flirtatious messaging on Facebook chat, punctuated by the sticky-out-tongue symbol, can begin in earnest. Thank God for technology.

In an Open Relationship

When you see this, please take the liberty of organising a wake for the male partner’s single life. The open relationship inevitably follows the set pattern of hooking up, a conversation in which both parties insist they do not want it to be exclusive, the girl then weeping in the toilets at the Bop and then both parties falling comfortably into the cosy couplehood that they had originally set out to avoid.


Usually betrothed to their best same-sex friend, the parties have usually given up on ever achieving one of the higher echelons of Facebook status described above. Why go through documenting every heartbreak when you can quietly go about your life, with a fiancé to boot? This way, you can concentrate on other more pressing concerns, like nurturing your bromance or preparing sufficiently for middle age as a cat lady. If your prospective partner has this status, you are in luck – this is probably the only relationship it won’t be morally wrong to break up.

Melissa Steel


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