On a knot board I frequent a girl started a poll where one of the questions was "are you planning on doing any special while you are still single?". One of the girls replied no, because she hasn't been single in a really long time. I presume that she meant since she's been with her fiance she considers herself no longer single.
I agree with her but it seems like the rest of the world doesn't. I went to the a doctor last month and had to fill out the customary paperwork. Under marital status it said: Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced. I thought this was odd. There was no partnered or in a committed relationship. Not only did not know what to select, what about gay couples? I felt it was a civil rights issue so I wrote in engaged and went to the front desk to complain. Yes, I complained.
The receptionist looked at me funny and told me to select single. I argued that that wasn't true and she said unless I could provide a marriage license, a divorce decree or a dead husband, I should check single.
I complained to the nurse, who I hoped would listen more. The nurse laughed at me. Especially since I wrote in engaged and circled it. I pointed out that it was discriminatory to gays as well. She chuckled and circled single. What a backwards bunch of people.
On a side note, this was a specialist I had to see and not my regular doc. My regular doc had a space for partnered relationships. And when I told them I was engaged, they made a note in my chart.
It seems like before, maybe around the time my parents got married, that there was that definite line. You were either married or not. Now it seems to me that line has gotten blurred. Some people live together for years before they get married. Some people are married but live separately. Some married people act more single that unmarried people. To me, it's less about the paper commitment and more about the actions.
Many men and women won't fully commit to someone until they sign the dotted line. Some people are committed from the moment they meet. My aunt had a "boyfriend" for 30 years. He took care of her, helped her financially, but never lived with her. They were in a committed relationship. To my knowledge neither of them strayed. Yes, her boyfriend was straight and probably would have married my aunt except she didn't want to.
We all know men and women that stray from their marriages. There are people who don't take their vows of marriage seriously. There are people who never commit to the marriage for whatever reason.
Wow, I'm beginning to get a little preachy. I guess there is the literally interpretation of single and then the common interpretation. I know I didn't want to put Single on that form and I rather check Partnered. I know what that girl meant in her poll (are you doing anything wild and crazy before you get hitched?) and I went with it. I guess I just let it go in some places and stand firm in others.