relationship status

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Part of hCard Brainstorming for post-vCard3 additions. Per the microformats process:

relationship status examples

(move to a separate page relationship-status-examples when this section gets too big to include inline)


From (must be logged in)


Relationship status has two parts, one a discrete enumerated set provided as a select pop-up menu choice:

  • (blank) - unspecified
  • single
  • in a relationship
  • engaged
  • married
  • it's complicated
  • in an open relationship
  • widowed
  • separated
  • divorced

Added 2011-048:

  • in a civil union
  • in a domestic partnership

And then for *some* of those enumerated values, there is an optional field that indicates a person

  • with person - chosen by selecting another profile (URL)


From (must be logged in)

Expressed as Singleness: by Flickr, the following mutually-exclusive radio button choices are given:

  • ( ) Single
  • ( ) Taken
  • ( ) Open
  • ( ) Rather not say



Relationship Status pop-up menu with the following choices:

  • I don't want to say
  • Single
  • In a relationship
  • Engaged
  • Married
  • It's complicated
  • In an open relationship
  • Widowed
  • In a domestic partnership
  • In a civil union



Relationship Status pop-up menu with the following choices:

  • (blank) - unspecified
  • Single
  • Divorced
  • Married
  • Taken
  • In a relationship
  • Swinger!



Relationship: pop-up menu with the following choices:

  • Not Saying
  • Single
  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Engaged
  • In Relationship
  • Complicated
  • Widowed
  • Open relationship


On signup:

  • Gender:
    • I'm female
    • I'm male
  • Orientation:
    • I'm straight
    • I'm gay
    • I'm bisexual
  • Status:
    • I'm single
    • I'm seeing someone / here for friends
    • I'm married / here for friends

relationship status formats

(move to a separate page relationship-status-formats when this section gets too big to include inline)


OpenSocial has a "relationship-status" field, plain text.


XFN - The XHTML Friends Network was not directly intended as a relationship status format, however, it's use can imply some relationship.

Specifically the following family and romantic values imply relationship status:

  • spouse - implies married
  • sweetheart - implies in a relationship (or an open relationship)

relationship status brainstorming

(move to a separate page relationship-status-brainstorming when this section gets too big to include inline)


Full set - union of above examples:

Here is a unified enumerated list of all the above relationship statuses (parenthetical text provided for turning the statuses into sentences and optional person parameter where it might apply, note that not all instances of optional with person parameter have been found in the wild, but they may be possible in UIs - indicated as "possible optional").

  • (blank - unspecified)
    • aliases: Rather not say, Not Saying
  • (is) single
  • (is in a) complicated (relationship)
  • (is in an) open (relationship optional: with person) 
  • (is in a) relationship (optional: with person)
    • aliases: Taken
  • (is) engaged (optional: to person)
  • (is) married (optional: to person)
  • (is in a) domestic partnership (optional: with person)
  • (is in a) civil union (optional: with person)
  • (is) separated (possible optional: from person - no real world examples found yet)
  • (is) divorced (possible optional: from person - no real world examples found yet)
  • (is) widowed (possible optional: from person - no real world examples found yet)

From this variety of different values for "relationship-status", here are the ones that appear on more than one of the above-mentioned examples (in frequency order, clustered)

all examples:

  • unspecified (all examples)
  • single (all examples)
  • taken (all examples)


  • open (Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Plurk)
  • married (Facebook, Socialight, Google+ Plurk)


  • divorced (Facebook, Socialight, Plurk)


  • engaged (Facebook, Plurk)
  • complicated (Facebook, Plurk)
  • domestic partnership (Facebook, Google+)
  • civil union (Facebook, Google+)
  • widowed (Facebook, Plurk)

While this might be a good start for a set of enumerated values, we lack sufficient data to be confident in such a set. If we had perhaps half dozen or so examples total which showed a clear set of common values, then we could be more confident defining an enum.

Until then, it may make the most sense to simply use a text string value.

In addition to the description of the relationship-status, as noted, some number of values take a "with" parameter referring to a person.

As it's a reference to a person, a link to that person makes the most sense, using XFN - The XHTML Friends Network on that link to indicate the relationship with/to that person. XFN already has the following rel values which correspond roughly to the above relationship statuses:

For "engaged", there is nothing that corresponds in XFN, e.g. "fiance" or "fiancee" - this may be worthy of writing up as a potential new XFN value on XFN Brainstorming:

  • "fiancee/fiance" - used on a link to someone who is the person is engaged to. both spellings accepted, neither implies the gender of either person.

For "open", XFN's rel-sweetheart can be used but might not convey sufficient semantics, since rel-sweetheart states "typically exclusively". Thus this is another case where another it might make sense to add another proposal to XFN Brainstorming:

  • "open-sweetheart" (other suggestions encouraged) - Someone with whom you are intimate and at least somewhat committed, but open to other romantic relationships. Symmetric. Not transitive. Essentially like "sweetheart" but without implication of exclusivity.

The other relationship values that involve another person (divorced, separated, widowed) so far have no documented examples in the wild which refer to another person, thus it is premature to brainstorm possible XFN values for them.

relationship-status property name

Simple brainstorm proposal: use the property name relationship-status as a class name on an element marking up a textual value / description of the person's relationship status.


<span class="vcard"> 
 <a class="fn url" href="">Alice Exemplar</a>, 
 <span class="relationship-status">single</span>


<span class="vcard"> 
 <a class="fn url" href="">Bob Exemplar</a>, 
 <span class="relationship-status">taken</span> - in a relationship with 
 <a rel="sweetheart" href="">Dana Person</a>


see also