Single, not divorced

I’m filing out a lot of forms these days and every single one of them asks for my marital status. It’s a Check One category, not a Check All That Apply.

Divorced, and Single

I am divorced, but I am also single. Which one do I select? The form-reading computer brains would probably explode if I checked both, or at least shoot ugly exclamation marks and refuse to let me continue until I decide what I am.

Who really needs to know I’m divorced? I’m single, and I intend to remain single until struck by a lightening bolt and turned into a phenomenon. Plus, the IRS doesn’t have a divorced category for filing: you are single, married, or widowed. They seem to be the end-all be-all of Who Not to Lie To, and if I’m single to them…ok, I’m stretching.

Everyone gives a shit whether I’ve succeeded at the social institution, failed at the social institution, or haven’t yet attempted the social institution. Who fucking cares? I probably care because I’m divorced and that sucks elephant penis no matter how much I wanted it.

Who should know I’m divorced?

  • The US Census Bureau should know. This is important information for an accurate study.
  • My doctor should know. It’s why I have a bottle of alprazolam on my dresser at home.
  • My ex-husband should know. Duh.
  • Anyone else?

Single, and Divorced

Few forms offer explanations as to how to select your marital status. This is, apparently, a common sense question that only I struggle with.

At the core, though, there are really only two options: married, not married.

Adding disclaimers and sub-categories is part of the Politically Correct Movement, and has become another way to satisfy our unending need to fit people into stereotypes and categories in order to discern exactly who they are without bothering for a conversation.

Also, The Married are uncomfortable with the Not Married. We are non-conformist rebels with an anarchist bent on destroying the very fabric of society.  We cannot be trusted, but to what level is determined by the Not Married categories: Failed (divorced); Failing (separated); Fired (widowed); or Foreign (gay marriage).

The real question, I think, is can you be trusted? Married equals yes and Not Married equals no. I can’t tell you which makes me look more responsible. Single, images of youth and drunkards; or Divorced, absolute failure at the simplest of acts?

Single, not divorced

I’ve selected single as my status; I’d rather be a fun-loving hippie than a Wall Street drop-out. I’m a bit proud of single and a bit ashamed of divorced.

It’s easy to get married. Married people are always ready and willing to pair the unmarried in order to beef up their ranks against the Zombie Apocalypse of the Not Married. It’s hard to get divorced. It leaves you wounded, and society dumps truck loads of salt on it to make you feel better. It’s hard to be single. It leaves you wounded and society wants to lock you up and throw away the key.


  1. Some of these stupid forms also include “separated.” When I was separated from my husband for approximately 3 years, I wanted to check the “married” box because I was not yet divorced and “divorce” DOES connote failure. I don’t care why they collect the data. Screw data collection. Often it’s to know how to “properly” empty the coffers of some government agency to the rightful and pre-designated benefactors. Bunch of BS. I think EVERYONE should select single because each of us are, after all, singular. Aren’t we? 🙂

    1. Somebody somewhere got their feelings hurt and now we have too many choices. We are each only held responsible for our own life, words, and actions. Sounds single to me. 🙂

  2. I wrote about this too as it was driving me nuts. At one point, I felt like I needed to type up a brief synopsis of my status (divorced, but that doesn’t define me, legally single but in a committed relationship that doesn’t need a piece of paper) and attach it to the various forms. How about just call me Ms. and ask me for an emergency contact. Let me decide the relationship. 🙂

    1. What is the title of your post about this? I’d like to read it.
      You’re right, ask for the emergency contacts and leave my bedroom to me.

      1. Here’s the link: It was a quick get-it-off-my-chest rant:)

  3. Love love love this post!!!! I swear I cringe every time I have to check that stupid box. They might as well call it Single, Married, or Failure. Seriously? I was single. Then I was married. Can’t I just go back to single? There’s only one here. A single. I guess it’s like cancer. Even after you beat it, you are still labelled with it. You aren’t just a person, you are a Cancer Survivor. which sounds stronger. That’s what I want it to say. I’M A MARRIAGE SURVIVOR!!!!

    1. Ha! I love it: Marriage Survivor. I’m going to start using that. 🙂

  4. I echo the sentiments of all those who commented above. This is absolutely one of those “who the *&^^&* cares and why is it any of your beeswax?” kind of questions that gets to me every now and then. I think we should combine our power and from here on out hand write in another box….All of the above…..and check it off. That will show them…..maybe….I think….ummm…..errr…..

    1. All of the Above. lol! Wouldn’t that set their heads spinning.

  5. It was a huge revelation for me, when I was filling out some form to just go ahead and check ‘single’ and not the ‘divorced’ box. I’m an adult and I decide what I am, and it’s not the business of some HR drone to know. It really should not have been such a big ‘revelation’ either, I suppose I had been just blindly completing forms like that as instructed up until then. Probably goes back to conformity that was drummed into my class in grade school.

    1. I am so glad I’m not the only one. Selecting “divorced” means I have to admit I was married, and I’d rather pretend he never happened (which means the babies were magic).

  6. Thank you for sharing. Not to many people in your position are so gracious. Your article was very poignant and understandable. It helped me to understand very clearly. Thank you for your help.

  7. I always put down single. Nosy so and so’s.

    Plus, being on the other side of marriage –> even though mine was a train wreck, I still don’t see what makes it a grail. There are advantages and disadvantages to anything.

    1. Single seems to be the popular choice. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  8. […] I would have done something about that by now. I’ve tried for over a year to figure this out, again and again and again and again and again. And here I am, once again, trying to figure out where it […]

  9. […] Lately, there is one item on the “what to do after divorce” checklist that has had me wavering from one end of the spectrum to the other – listing my relationship status on social media. It doesn’t really bother me…well, except for every other day when certain social network sites pop up that “what is your relationship status?” question on my profile page reminding me that there are certain parts of my profile I have neglected to clarify. Oh, and when I get at least four or five “suggested posts” that invariably have to do with some dating site. Sigh. I came across a blog that I think pretty well sums up how I feel, but I’m an oversharer, so of course I will expound. But here’s the link to the original blog: Single, not divorced. […]

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