“IT’S COMPLICATED.” Isn’t that the most curious relationship status on Facebook? It can mean a lot of things, but they all basically boil down to something along the lines of “I’m seeing someone special, but it’s not exclusive, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you’re interested.” The point of posting a relationship status, any relationship status, on Facebook, after all, is to let people know if you’re available. (Or, I guess, to brag.)
There is, for some, a special allure to “it’s complicated” in that it is a two-way signal from the person posting and to a potential playmate: Both people can reasonably expect there to be no strings attached, no obligations, neither one being a traditionalist in that department; and that is a big plus for some people.
I am not a traditionalist in that department either, but I choose not to announce it with an “it’s complicated,” I guess because I wouldn’t want to confuse or scare off anyone who might be looking for a more—what is the right word? serious? committed? connected? intimate?—relationship. Because that could be nice. And it really is complicated only inasmuch as it requires some explanation. Complicated can in fact be quite refreshingly uncomplicated.
I also want to steer clear of attracting the wrong type of person (not that I’ve ever found a date via Facebook, mind you…but you never know. It could happen). Perhaps it’s an unfair stereotype, but in my experience, non-traditional and complicated often correlate with unemotional, distant, non-involved, superficial, afraid of intimacy.
Not always, mind you. Some of my very favorite people are complicated that way, and they are among the most loving souls I know.
What is most complicated about “it’s complicated” is trying to figure out what it means, especially if you are seeing someone who decides to make that their status. Are you part of the complicating? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Of course, there is a simple solution to this: if you want to know, ask.
Because it can mean many things. And complicated isn’t even necessarily one of them; it’s just the best choice Facebook offers on its limited menu of relationship status options. What would be great is if you were allowed to describe your relationship status in your own words. Like gender, relationship status should have a custom option. What would I say? It might get really complicated.