In a relationship for 7 years, but still single?

21st February 2017

Tyrone have been in a relationship for over 7 years, but apparently we are both still single.

Yes. Allow me to explain.

I don’t know if it’s the same in other countries but in the UK you sometimes have to declare your relationship status on forms. The options are usually (like 99% of the time) as follows:

  • Single
  • Married
  • Separated
  • Widowed
  • Divorced

So, if you are in a relationship, or engaged to be married, you are classed as being “single”.

On the very rare occasion there will be the option of “co-habiting” and I much prefer being given this option, but the vast majority of the time it’s not there.

And you know what? I feel like a part of me dies inside when ever I have to tick that “single” box.

It’s not because I have a problem with single people. Far from it. But it makes me feel like my relationship isn’t serious or doesn’t stand for anything because we haven’t exchanged vows or signed a piece of paper.

But it is a serious relationship. It’s over 7 years of dedication and love to one another. 7 years is a long time! I mean, some people get meet, get married, have kids and get divorced in the space of 7 years!

Although that’s not to say that if you’ve been in a relationship for less than 7 years it’s not as important. Time doesn’t matter.

We’ve been through tough times that have almost broke us, but we’ve survived. We’ve made it to the other side despite the odds being stacked against us. We’ve supported each other and stayed true to one another.

Our bond is just as strong as a couple who are married.

The things is, times have changed. In the past people married younger so that period of being “single” was a lot shorter. Nowadays it’s more common to see people getting married later in their lives such as their late twenties or their thirties. I think this is because people are prioritising other aspects of their lives such as their careers, travel and home ownership. I know I am.

There’s nothing wrong with this. At the end of the day, whether you choose to get married or not is a personal choice, and that choice should be respected regardless of external expectations.

For years I have had to deal with the question of “When are you going to get married?” which seems crazy to me as even at 23 I still feel young to get married, not to mention the fact I’ve been getting asked this questions since the age of 18 (I kid you not).

Yes, I’ve been in a relationship for 7 years, but that doesn’t mean I need to get married. I shouldn’t feel pressured into doing so. I’m happy with the way things are right now, so why change it?

(I’m certainly not going to get married just because someone in my family fancies a good old “knees-up” and an excuse to buy a nice outfit. You want a wedding so badly? Organise one for yourself!)

I’m in no rush to get married. I may choose to get married in the future, even if it’s just for tax purposes (if you think I’m joking, I’m not!), but if we do it will be when it feels right for us as a couple. And we’ll do it our way, on our own terms.

Woah! I’ve got off on a bit of a tangent! I just wanted to get that off my chest.


The point is, I feel these relationship status options are old fashioned. They’re out of date. They need to get with the times.

Perhaps there is a a good reason for forms to omit the options “In a relationship” or “Engaged”. Perhaps I’m just getting upset and passionate about nothing. I guess I just want my relationship to stand for something. I want it to be recognised. I don’t want to be given the title of “single” when I’m not.

How do you feel on this subject?

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  1. I haven’t caught up on your blog posts yet but this one I simply had to comment on. I also feel the same upset when I fill in forms that don’t have anything to signify that I am in a committed relationship. Putting down “single” seems wrong. Even at airports or authoritative places, when asked of my marital status, I still have to say “single” despite the ring on my finger, despite the fact that I am very much with someone right now. Even though I’m getting married, in previous relationships I saw marriage as not really my thing, something totally out of the question, and it was as if, wow, just because I don’t want to sign some legal document, you won’t recognise my relationship. The government is a bit funny, in all countries.

    I think it also depends on the kind of form it is. The census wants to know all your shit, so they tend to have options like “de facto relationship” (which is basically the same as your “co habiting” option). I don’t think “engaged” means anything to them because there is no document saying you are married or anything. Which is kind of sad because the world doesn’t operate like that anymore. I also hate the word “single”, it doesn’t seem like it’s correct. It should probably be “unmarried” or “never married” which I think I do remember seeing in a form once.

    Also, someone can be separated and married… they can be married right now but separated from their previous partner…?! “Tick all that apply” haha.

    I wouldn’t let these forms dictate your relationship. You know your relationship and the form just wants some stats on you. I don’t blame you for feeling so passionately about this but in the end they just want some statistical data. 😆

    • Holly

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way!

      It’s funny because the form I was filling in when I got the idea to write this post really had nothing to do with my relationship status anyway. I should have just omitted the question.

  2. Elisa

    that’s a really funny…form custom. in indonesia, as far as i remember, whenever i fill up a form, the options are mostly marital status, like whether you’re married or not. it’s just those two. i don’t remember there’s an option for “divorced” but i might be wrong since i very rarely fill any serious form like this. anyway, if i were you and i have to tick “single” because i’m not married yet, it’s gonna be really weird for me too because the truth is, i’m not single. i’m in a relationship and ticking the box “single” makes me feel… odd and just blah in general. i can’t explain why in words though.

    i agree with you. 7 years of relationship, 10 years 20 years whatever years… who cares about that? why do people have to be so nosy and insist other couples to marry fast? being born into an asian family and in indonesia, the typical culture is how women or couples who have been together for a long time are expected to marry fast. imo, that’s just really nosy and ridiculous because it’s not like marriage is cheap! holy guacamole, so many nosy human beings in this world! it’s the same with how, once you marry, people will start asking, “when are you going to have kids?” blergh. seriously. a lot of people need to learn the quote “you don’t mind, i don’t matter.”

    i agree with what georgie said though. these forms are only something to gather statistics, for data so as much as the relationship options feel weird and odd, let’s not allow such things to dictate our relationship 😉

    • Holly

      Maybe it’s because a lot of people get divorced in the UK, haha! 😂

      So true. Getting married can be expensive. It’s why it’s never been a priority for me. I’d rather spend the money on a holiday or something!

  3. I’m married and I get annoyed if someone would ask me where “my boyfriend”/”my partner” is. I don’t have a boyfriend, I have a husband and I had one for 9+ years. If I talk about my husband by saying “My husband…” , then there isn’t any point of asking about my boyfriend/partner, is there? I know it’s stupid, but it makes me angry.
    In forms I would imagine is for the “next of kin” sort of thing and they aren’t allowed to say sensitive information to non-relatives. I don’t know, it doesn’t seem right, as some can have a bad relationship with their parents, but an amazing one with their partner.

    Before getting married we used to hear the questions about getting married, even if we were still at Uni, without a job. Well, after getting married, we were asked about the first child. A friend told me, that, after her first child is asked about the second one. So, the safe bet is to get married and have 2 children, but it seems a little too much just to avoid inappropriate questions from relatives.

  4. Darnielle

    Before I actually got married, whenever I had to fill out a form without that in between single and married option, I always chose married. It wasn’t legally correct, but married was far more appropriate than single. Only two things changed when we got married: my last name, and the fact that there’s now a piece of paper issued by the government in our filing box. There are some legal things that may help somewhere down the line, but I FEEL the same about my husband as I did when he was just my boyfriend/partner/fiance, so that’s all that matters to me.

  5. Madeleine

    C and I have been together for 7 years and we’re getting married next year, this is so daft. I’m not single anymore – but forms are so outdated.

  6. My Aunt and Uncle are not married, they never had the ‘ceremony’ but they’ve been together for over 25 years now, yet they still have to tick ‘single’ on forms! It’s very strange that there’s no other option for people in long term, supportive relationships. I also think it’s very strange that separated and divorced are options, when in a relationship isn’t.
    In general though, it doesn’t bother me. If I can get away with leaving the box blank, I will because I’m not any of the options!

  7. I’ve been in a relationship for over 12 years and counting and while the “single” status doesn’t bother me too much it does bother me when people generalize us as the “couple who never got married”. It upsets me that we HAVE to be married to be taken seriously. Hell, I even find myself wishing to call him my husband simply because people don’t take ‘boyfriend’ or ‘fiance’ as serious as ‘husband’. Will we get married? Maybe some day. Neither of us is rushing into getting a piece of paper to say we’re wed. Neither of is also going anywhere and we both know it. To be honest, the only reason why I can see myself getting married any time soon is simply to get insurance through his company. It will come down to insurance or taxes. Just like you. Go ahead and preach, sister. Just because I’m not married doesn’t mean my 12 year relationship means that I am single or less than anyone else.

  8. It’s interesting to see how society puts labels on certain things and which words they choose. I worked for the census for a short period of time and now I’m wondering what options they had for relationships. I honestly hadn’t thought about this before, seeing as how I remained single for the majority of my life, haha. But if I wasn’t, I feel like checking off that box would really bother me too :/

    I think forms in general are really interesting and what people/companies choose to put on them. In Korea, for job applications, you typically include a picture of yourself and I heard some of them ask what your parents do. I found that really interesting because it’s so different from the forms in the US!

  9. I remember having to complete forms like this and having to declare I was single, it was really strange because at the time I was in a serious relationship myself. I remember having this conversation with my ex too actually and we both agreed it was a little weird 😅 It definitley should be changed and kept up with the times – because things have changed and the norms before have almost flipped!

    My parents have always asked me to get married in my 20s, at the time I thought this was the age youre supposed to get married but I’m not ready for that 😂 Definitely too young in my 20s!

  10. Kya

    Wow, I am really surprised that you are not given the option to list yourself as in a partnership or some other wording that means the same thing. It seems so odd to me and it’s something that should be an option. Many people don’t get married and shouldn’t have to select single if that is not the case, especially if you want to submit honest information. I hope it changes. :/

  11. Amy

    This annoys me so much too! I always get confused about which box to tick as I feel like I’m lying if I tick ‘single’. I think in this day and age they need to change the form. People don’t get married as much as they used to and it’s not right for everyone. It shouldn’t be the only option on a form.

  12. Liz

    This is odd! I’ve seen forms here have “Committed” boxes, but Texas has a law explaining “marriage” even if you’re not on paper. It’s rather funny, I find, because before gay marriage was legal across the country, Texas didn’t acknowledge gay marriage on paper (and it was illegal for any lawyer to help a gay couple get divorced), but they acknowledged the assumed marriage: if you love with someone for a set amount of time (I think it’s over a year), and you’re not family, it’s considered marriage. And with this, even a roommate could take you to divorce court. :/

    So for some reason I thought it would be like that everywhere else — that it was this unspoken rule I’d never heard of. 😅

    I hope they update their relationship options soon, because having to put single when you’re so obviously not is inaccurate. 😓😒