What is ‘self-partnered’, and could it be the new ‘single and NOT ready to mingle’?

What’s better than being with the person who knows you best? (Picture: Getty/

You may have seen this morning that Emma Watson has declared she has a new partner.

Drumroll for those who haven’t… It’s herself.

Yes, the Harry Potter actor has declared that she is single, but in a way that’s much more fun than conscious uncoupling. Instead, she claims her preferred relationship status is ‘self-partnered’.

The admission was part of an interview with British Vogue in which she was discussing her upcoming thirtieth birthday and the expectations placed on her as a result.

Speaking to Paris Lees, she said ‘If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.’

Although Emma has been linked to people in the past – including Glee actor Chord Overstreet – this is probably the most candid she’s been when it comes to relationships.

She goes on to say, ‘I never believed the whole “I’m happy single” spiel. I was like, “This is totally spiel.” It took me a long time, but I’m very happy. I call it being self-partnered.’

But what makes being self-partnered, and how is it any different to being single?

Self-partnered; the new relationship status

If we look at what Emma is trying to say in this interview, it shows just why she feels the need to define a new cubby for herself outside of the world of ‘singledom’.

Pressures come from every angle for women as they get older, and it’s a lot more than your granny asking you why you haven’t got a boyfriend yet (although that it is still annoying).

The way that ‘single’ is talked about comes with an air of condolence. But not everybody does feel like that they’re inferior for being single – and those that do really shouldn’t.

Sometimes, when explaining to your smug married friends or your boss with five children (who obviously has a nanny, which is why they’re so keen on parenthood) it’s difficult to explain that, yes, you are happy without the trappings of sharing your life with another.

You don’t want to brag about the fact you got to spend all of this Sunday in bed with a bag of croissants and no distractions, and it comes across as unnecessarily simpering to say you’re glad you bought yourself a new handbag this month rather than a bumper pack of nappies.

Instead of inviting those pitying smiles and ‘it’ll work out for you some day’ platitudes, it appears that Emma wanted to find a new way to label herself; a way that shows she isn’t simply waiting for the right thing to come around, and is out enjoying life.

Despite the fact that some people seem to find it revolting that a person could be happy without a romantic partner, if we look at Emma’s life, with her multitude of friends, UN campaigns, shoots for the likes of Burberry and Lancôme, and award-winning acting career, you wonder why her love life is even something worth considering for a moment.

While us mere mortals may not have the same lavish lifestyles, the term self-partnered can help emphasis everything else going on for us that doesn’t happen to involve dating.

So, whether you’ve just got your degree, are smashing it at work, or have cultivated an absolute cracker of an allotment, you can take the focus and put it back onto that.

It’s perhaps a sad thing that anyone feels the need to justify being single with a new term. But it is heartening to see that even megastars feel the pressure and want to combat it.

That’s why I have a little challenge for you lot who are sick of the pity. Next time granny asks where your date is to a family dinner, tell her you’re actually self-partnered, pull out a hand mirror, and start a vigorous makeout session with it. That should work.

At least until Facebook update their relationship status settings.

MORE: ‘Self-partnered’ or single, being a woman alone is wonderful

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