I get asked this question a lot, and most of the time, I would reply 今はいない.
However, recently I thought that I might be unintentionally lying.
Can anyone tell me which of the following does it usually mean?

  1. She's not here with me now.

  2. I'm not attached.

  3. I'm attached most of the time but now I am not attached.

  4. I've never been attached before and I'm afraid to admit it openly.

I know that Japanese is a very ambiguous language and it probably could be any of the 4 (or maybe more), but I'd like to know the usual/common interpretation of the answer.

  • 1
    Are you sure that the question contains が? It usually sounds like the sentence has something carried over from the previous context. Dec 13 '16 at 15:53
  • @broccoliforest Come to think of it, there probably wasn't a が. I have edited to update it, thanks for pointing it out!
    – Yuu
    Dec 13 '16 at 15:57

It means 3. By saying 今は, you are implying you usually have a 彼女.

Depending on the tone of your voice or your facial expression, the asker might suspect you are showing off and your actual situation is 4., but that's another story.

Of course this sentence can mean 1 if the question was "where is your girlfriend?"

  • Thanks! Hmm, so it will never mean 1 in the usual case? I had intended it to mean 1 ambiguously as a joke but I guess that doesn't work.
    – Yuu
    Dec 13 '16 at 15:24
  • 1
    @Yuu Then maybe you should have said ここにはいない or something. Dec 13 '16 at 18:52
  • @brokenheadphones that's a good response! I've resorted to saying 内緒です for now though :p
    – Yuu
    Jan 11 '17 at 1:00

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