Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Divorced or Single?

A friend of mine posted on her FB: it’s been 8 years since my divorce, so at the doctor’s office, I checked “single” rather than “divorced.”  I feel single, not divorced.  Does it matter?

The reply comments ran along the lines of—well, it’s probably to keep medical records straight, especially if you used different names, so check divorced. 

Others said, why should I have to include a part of my past in my present and future?  I don’t associate myself with that past—no kids, no shared assets, no shared life, I haven’t seen him in years.  Single for me!

It got me thinking, too:  single or divorced?  And does it matter?

I’m not defined by my divorce, nor am I defined by my relationship status, so why the label?  Is there a health reason (aside from medical record tracking) that we need to label ourselves by this?  /scratching my head

My five minute google search didn’t come up with anything more concrete.  Label, or no label, be true to yourself.  A snarky article about how one’s gentleman friend, 20 years post-divorce, would never consider himself “divorced,” but “single.” 

Someone else wrote, you are not divorced, you went through a divorce.  That seems to be truer to the description.

I guess we Americans are just tied to our labels and boxes, easier to group people as here, there, not here, not there, and of course our rich history is to put people who are not like “us” in the scary “other” box.

At any rate, I’m re-married now, there’s no ‘remarried’ box, I guess I'll check married. Though not solely defined by the checkmark, it probably helps the doctors know there's someone out there to contact in an emergency.  I do remember being curious about what other people did, though, and feeling sympathetic with the single vs. divorced question itself.


  1. Interesting debate/question, Jane. I know for income tax returns it's important to check divorced vs, married because if you receive alimony (spousal support in Canada) you claim it and also makes a difference for tax deductions etc. As for the medical records not really sure what difference that makes. Ha! Single, I like that. Divorced?...after a while, it's whatever! :)

    1. Thanks for reading, Lisa!! I agree with you...whatever you're comfortable with (with the exception of legal documentation issues like you mentioned). :) I remember having a similar inner conversation as my girlfriend...and honestly, it's been so long, I forgot that she was married!! (granted she lives far, far away, but still!! middle age is affecting my memory faster than I think!!! awk!!) LOL.

  2. I agree with Lisa. After a certain amount of time, it's like, screw you. I'm single. And then sometimes I don't check at all - because why do they need to know?

    1. I hear you!!! :) Thanks for reading, Liv!