How many times has someone asked you why you’re single when you tell them you’re relationship status? If we could make a dollar for every time, we’d probably have at least a couple racks in the bank. These days, when someone tells you they’re single, know and understand that, that could mean a spectrum of different things. “Single” is no longer black or white (or was it ever?). It exists on a spectrum. The devil is in the details, and the categories are full of loopholes and clauses that come in more flavors than Baskin Robins.

Here are the categories. Let’s begin.

Single and Searching
– Not tied to anyone
– Strongly desires to be in a relationship
– Actively searching for a partner

Temporarily Single
– Wants a relationship … almost needs a relationship
– Doesn’t stay single for long

Recently Divorced/ Widowed or Newly Single
– Recovering from a recent loss or breakup
– Not ready to get back in the dating scene

The Discouraged Single
– Wants a relationship
– Not able to find a suitable partner and is on the verge of giving up

Single But Not Looking
– Apathetic about dating
– Not looking for a relationship, but not avoiding one either
– Will explore it if the right situation presents itself, but otherwise pretty much just doing them

Single But Not Available
– Technically single but selectively available
– Still getting over or waiting on someone specific

– Focusing on career, entrepreneurship, dreams, scholastics or parenting
– Doesn’t have the time and/or desire to be in a relationship, or hasn’t found someone understanding of their schedule
– Occupied and not wishing to make time or space

Single By Choice
– Doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now
– Enjoying their singleness

Serial Dater
– Actively playing the field and not looking for commitment
– Just having fun, totally single, and ready to mingle


Which category closest resembles your situation and outlook?

Simply asking, “Are you single,” doesn’t cut it anymore. You basically have to interview them, make them fill out a questionnaire, and spell out definitions to make sure you both have the same understanding of the terms. Are you available? Are you prepared for a relationship? Is anyone else claiming you? Just because you say you’re single, it doesn’t mean that someone else is not claiming you or believes that you two are together. What type of relationship are you looking for?

There’s an entire spectrum of possibilities nowadays, so you have to ask the right questions. Everyone likes to talk about how communication is the key, but the gag is, no one likes to ask or answer the necessary questions. We tend to assume it goes without saying or are just scared to ask, which is why someone ends up getting their feelings hurt in the end when ish hits the fan.

There are just too many definitions to assume someone wants the same things as you. You need to know whether they believe in titles, if they date with the intent to marry, and if they believe in monogamy. The game has changed and the rules are not universal or recognizable anymore. Leave no stone unturned.

Written By: Johnny Brownlee II
Instagram: @slin_k_polymath



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