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Situationship: What It Is, Are You In One, And Should You Stay In It?

by Sonya Schwartz

I don’t usually like to label relationships. I certainly don’t like putting people into categories. However, when it comes to a situationship, I believe it is helpful. Not only because it defines and clarifies a type of romantic relationship, but because you may not realize that you are in one.

But why should you be concerned about a situationship? 

It’s because we place certain expectations and attach behaviors to a romantic relationship. Husbands and wives promise to be together in sickness and in health. Girlfriends and boyfriends can be exclusive and therefore off-limits. 

Then there are the friends with benefits relationship, the almost relationship, the casual bootie-call hook-up, one-night stands. All these relationships have unwritten rules and we behave accordingly. It’s when we misread the kind of relationship we are in that things get messy. 

If you didn’t realize you were in a situationship you may want to consider your options. 

So What Exactly Is A Situationship?

A situationship is an ambiguous relationship with no clear structure or boundaries. By its nature it is undefined. You are not really a couple, nor are you “friends with benefits”, although you may hook up for sex occasionally. 

You have a ‘thing’ going with this other person. You don’t see them regularly and you are not exclusive. There is no commitment and you meet when it is mutually convenient. 

A situationship is more than a friendship but less than actively dating someone or a romantic commitment between two people.

There is an unwritten rule within situationships that neither parties develop feelings for one another. However, often one person has stronger feelings than the other and is hoping that over time this may grow into a proper relationship. 

13 Signs You Are In A Situationship

1. You don’t hear from them for days or weeks at a time

you don't hear from them for days or weeks at a time

No one wants to be bombarded by texts and calls; it smacks of desperation. But to go weeks without a word is weird right? Not if you are in a situationship. That’s the whole point of situationships. You only make a commitment when it suits you. 

Perhaps you only hear from them when they want something from you, and it isn’t always sex. They might be bored or lonely and are missing the friendship aspect of your relationship. 

2. There’s no mention of meeting their family

Situationships are, by their nature, ambiguous and vague. They don’t have clearly defined parameters as a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship does. As a result, they don’t come with the same expectations as other relationships. 

You can tell if you are getting serious in your relationship because your partner will suggest meeting their parents. If the subject doesn’t even come up then you should think about what kind of relationship you are in. 

3. You never know when you are going to see them

One of the exciting things about dating is making plans to see your partner. If you have no idea from week to week when you will see a girlfriend or boyfriend then this is a huge red flag. Living in this kind of limbo is unsettling for some people. 

I don’t know about you but I like to make plans. Planning gives me something to look forward to. I can arrange my diary and let friends and family know if I am available. Not knowing from one week to the next if I will see my boyfriend would be exhausting. And it would seriously annoy my friends if I kept bailing on them. 

4. Dates are sporadic or spontaneous 

Usually, during dating, we tend to see the person we like more often and more regularly. The dates also increase in length. In situationships, it all depends on what’s going on in that person’s life. 

So, for instance, one week you might have multiple dates and then not see that person for the next month. Your life comes first and the date way down on your list of priorities. Usually, in dating and romantic relationships, your partner is much further up the list. Your dating life doesn’t have to be like this.

5. Plans are only short-term or last-minute

If you do make plans they happen at the last minute and are only short-term. You may get a call and an hour later you are meeting at a train station and going away for the weekend. Or there is a text early Friday evening asking if you are free for drinks or a movie. 

It’s all about convenience and fitting that person into your schedule. If you are both free and feel like meeting up then great. If not, you won’t bother. 

6. Dates are never in public

dates are never public

Do you feel as if you are being hidden away? It’s one thing to be kept from meeting the parents, but have you ever bumped into one of their friends while the pair of you were out? If you go venture out, do you go way out of town and never date in your local area?

Is it weird that you only ever seem to get takeout or rent a movie and stay in? Ask yourself why this person doesn’t want to be seen with you. That’s not normal behavior, but it is one of the signs of situationship.

7. You don’t communicate on social media

Although situationships are not kept a closely guarded secret, they are not broadcast to the world either. As such, you won’t find much evidence of chats or interactions between partners on social media.

Most communication will be via text messages or calls. For a start, it’s quicker because you know your partner will respond swiftly to a text or call. The other thing is that many people in situationships don’t want the hassle of explaining their relationship to friends or family members.

8. They don’t want to talk about big life issues

If you only ever talk about the small stuff your partner may be avoiding getting too emotionally involved. When we become romantically attached to someone we want to ask meaningful questions. This is to ascertain whether they are a good match for us. We may ask about having children in the future, what political leanings this person has, are they religious? 

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We’ll also want to know the basics, for example, how much do they earn, where do they live and what do they do for work. Do they get on with their family, do they have a wide circle of friends, and have they been in trouble with the law. Small talk is fine at the beginning of a relationship but it is a sign of non-committal if it carries on. 

9. You do the same things when you do meet up

When we are dating a person we are excited about being with, we want to share new experiences with them. If the reason for seeing that person is to fulfill a different need then there is no need to change our experiences. 

The simplest example of this is sex, but people enter into a situationship for many other reasons. Situationships are less demanding than full-on relationships but still offer intimacy and someone to hook up with. 

10. The relationship dynamics are unequal

Situationships are perfectly fine if they suit both partners. However, you’ll often find that one person develops stronger feelings and wants more from the relationship. The other person might be unwilling to give up the convenience of casual sex with no strings. 

Or, this could be a way of benching you. They are not quite willing to let you go but they are not prepared to fully commit because someone better may come along. They don’t want the label of a commitment. 

11. You feel anxious about the relationship

you feel anxious about the relationship

Healthy relationships build your confidence, they help to raise your self-esteem. Their very nature should be loving and positive and uplifting. You should be excited and bursting with joy when you think about your loved one. 

Okay, I may have gone a little over the top, but one thing you certainly should not be is anxious. Anxious about when you will see or hear from them. Anxious about whether they are seeing someone else. Anxious about what they are doing when you don’t hear from them in weeks. That’s a sign of an unhealthy situation. 

12. There’s no talk about the future

Is the nearest you get to future plans the vague half promise of perhaps a text in a couple of weeks? When two people are in a relationship they will discuss plans. These plans may not involve one another, but they will each have an idea at least of what they’ll be doing.

I’m not talking about marriage or kids or retirement. I mean simple week-to-week stuff, like planning a weekend away or not being available because your cousin is getting married. 

13. You don’t really know anything about them

At the end of the day, we go into a relationship because we like this person and we want to find out as much as we can about them. Not only that but we can’t help but talk about them to our inner circle. 

It is a sign that you are in a situationship if you cannot answer the most basic questions about your partner. 

FAQs

What is a Situationship?

A situationship is an ambiguous kind of relationship that is not properly defined. It is not a committed relationship, nor is it simply a friends with benefits type of relationship. It is casual and people do go on dates but there is no consistency with contact and emotional connection is low.

Is a Situationship bad?

It is not bad in itself if it is what both parties want and understand that they are in this type of relationship. It can be convenient if the people involved are busy and are not interested in a full-on committed relationship. 

What is a toxic Situationship?

A situationship becomes toxic when one partner wants more from the relationship and the other lies to keep the relationship going. They might make excuses and say they are busy right now but in the future, there will be a proper relationship. They’ll make the other person hang on thinking there is a chance of something more. 

How long should a Situationship last?

Situationships should last as long as they are mutually beneficial to both partners. In this respect, they can last for weeks, months, and years. It becomes a problem when one person wants more than the other is willing to give. 

What is Kittenfishing?

Kittenfishing is where you present a better image of yourself online to attract potential dates. It is not the same as catfishing where someone will take on a whole new persona. 

Conclusion

Situationship is neither bad nor wrong, it all depends on how you feel about your situation. Only you know in your heart if this is the right kind of relationship for you.

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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