21 English phrases for describing relationships

Relationships can be complicated. Here are some expressions for talking about all the different phases of a relationship with someone:

Not in a relationship

1. single

If you're not married or dating anyone, you're "single".

A: Are you seeing anyone?

B: No, I'm single.

2. just friends

Imagine that you have a friend. Someone asks if you're dating this person. You're not, so you can say:

We're just friends.

3. a platonic relationship

A more specific and formal way to say that you are "just friends" is:

Our relationship is strictly platonic. 

The beginnings of a relationship

4. into (someone)

When you've met someone and you both seem attracted to each other, you can say that you're "into" each other:

I think he's into me. I'm kind of into him too.

5. (someone) asked (someone) out

Traditionally, one person asks the other person to go on a date. You can describe it this way:

He asked me out.

6. hook up

But sometimes relationships start differently. If you kiss someone or have some kind of sexual experience before going out on a date, you can use this slang expression:

We've hooked up.

7. seeing each other / 8. not serious

If you've been on a few dates or hooked up with someone a few times, you can describe it as "seeing each other". But you might still not be completely committed to each other:

We're seeing each other. It's nothing serious, though.

The relationship

9. dating

Once you're sure that you and the other person are seriously dating each other, you can announce it:

We're dating.

10. boyfriend / girlfriend

This person also gets a title:

This is my boyfriend. / This is my girlfriend.

11. in a relationship

In a more formal situation, you might describe your situation this way:

I'm in a relationship.

12. get engaged

After some period of dating, you decide to marry each other. First, there's an "engagement":

Scott and I just got engaged!

And, after the engagement starts:

We're engaged.

13. newlyweds

Next comes marriage. For the first year or two after a couple gets married, you can call them "newlyweds":

Back when we were newlyweds, he'd bring home flowers once a week.

14. happily married

After you're no longer newlyweds, you're just "a married couple". It's common for married people to call themselves "happily married":

I'm happily married, with two kids, a boy and a girl.

15. partners

Some people in a serious relationship never get married. This might be because they don't think marriage is a good idea. Or it may be because they're gay and are not allowed to get married in the area where they live. In this case, you can call the person who you live with your "partner":

My partner and I took a trip to Italy last year.

The end of a relationship

16. broke up

If you're dating someone, and the relationship ends, you can say that you "broke up":

A: Where's Jane?

B: Actually, we broke up.

17. through

If you break up with someone angrily, you can talk about it this way:

He and I are through!

I am through with him!

18. dump (someone)

Sometimes both people agree to break up. Other times, one person makes the decision and "dumps" the other person:

I can't believe he dumped me!

19. separated

When a married couple ends their relationship, there are two parts. First is the "separation":

My wife and I are separated.

20. divorced

Sometimes a couple gets back together after a separation. If not, they finalize their separation legally:

We're getting divorced.

And after the divorce has finished:

He and I are divorced.

21. exes

After a couple has broken up or gotten divorced, a couple becomes "exes":

My ex took the house and the kids.

Hey, isn't that your ex-wife over there?

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