By: Cassandra Nordal
For those of you that don’t know, a Situationship is a romantic relationship that’s undefined or maybe even uncommitted. It is NOT the same as “friends with benefits.” It may be someone that you’ve been comfortably hooking up with for some period of time, or someone that has close intimacy with you but doesn’t refer to you as a partner. Sometimes, having undefined relationships is super fun, sexually satisfying, and liberating, even. Plus, a Situationship gives you time to get to know somebody without feeling pressured to make a big decision about commitment.
So how do you know if you’re in one? What’s the difference between an “open relationship” or “friends with benefits?”
Where an “Open Relationship” usually means two or more people in a stable relationship that make the mutual choice to explore sex with others (or even bring others into the relationship for sexual fun), a Situationship is defined as the undefined – people that enjoy each other’s company and do all the things you’d normally do in a committed relationship but haven’t made the choice to call themselves committed partners.
Here’s what you need to know about a Situationship.
You have no titles
“I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, “so are you with so and so?” and my response for the past three years is: ‘oh, well, uhm, I don’t know what to call it, we are but aren’t dating really but we maybe are together’ and the next thing you know, I’m telling them my awkward non-dating story and I’m sweating profusely.”
Maybe it started as a friendship or just a casual fling. In most cases, it starts off sexual.
It always starts off harmless and fun. The problem is that because of a lack of communication, a lot of grey area begins to develop that either one of both of you start to question, because what you’re doing and where you’re going might be unfamiliar and difficult to classify. It’s unlikely that you had role models that showed you how to work a Situationship. From there, questioning and getting no answers can turn into resentment, and resentment turns into hatred and anger.
Maybe one of you caught some feels and the other doesn’t feel as strongly, or maybe you both have mutual feelings for each other, but the problem is that neither of you will define it.
The non-titles can also come from a form of self-protection. Maybe a past relationship ended badly and it’s caused you or your significant other (can we call them that?) to be wary of anything with the title of “relationship.” We’ve all been hurt, and maybe for some of us, it’s a way to protect our hearts. If there are no titles, it won’t hurt as much if and when they leave. Whatever the case may be, if you two have been doing this dance for a while with no titles, it might be time to check in with yourself and your Situationship partner.
What are dates again?
Did you two start off by going in public together, maybe meeting for some casual drinks, hang out with mutual friends or even checking out the latest flick at the theatre? Maybe it was never even like that… did you guys have a set plan to meet up after for a casual hook up? Maybe you guys had a set plan to “Netflix & Chill” and hey, to each their own. Maybe that worked for you both in the past. But think about the last time this person took you out on a date (if ever). If you can’t recall that last time you two spent time together while it was daylight out, I hate to be the one to say it… welcome to the Situationship Club.
Future? What Future?
Alright, this is going to be tough to hear. If they only talk to you about the potential future when they’re drinking…. SITUATIONSHIP. If you two are together and one of you brings up marriage and the other avoids the topic of conversation like the plague, SITUATIONSHIP. People, if you are sitting there three years later with your fingers and toes crossed that “they will change” I hate to break it to you, the chances are extremely slim.
Tough love hurts I know, trust me; the truth is, I am preaching to the choir right now. I have gone through this exact situation and let me save you some time… they will never become what you need them to be. Even on those amazing days that you see some slight change or they send you that text asking about your sick family member, it will never be what you want it to be. I know, hurts my heart just typing it.
Feelings, but is it Love?
This one hurts the most. If you’re like me, you wear your heart on your sleeve. After three years, I figured, I found him. I love him. He’s my best friend. But if you’re constantly questioning if the other person feels the same way about you, then I think you know deep down what your answer is. I am by no means saying this is easy. How do you walk away from something or someone you love so deeply? I will tell you how, with one foot in front of the other. One step at a time.
Late night snuggles
Let’s be honest here, this most likely started out as the two in the morning “what you up to?” text and that was all fun and games. Until the feels hit, and now, you’re staying the night, maybe even going over a little earlier and actually hanging out with each other. You may even have a toothbrush at their place. I get it, that moment when the extra toothbrush comes out and you two are brushing your teeth side by side and you’re thinking to yourself “wow, I could do this everyday with him” and they’re probably thinking “I wonder what I should eat for lunch tomorrow.” We fall in love with such an intense fantasy sometimes and it’s normal. Humans need affection and love. The difficult thing about the late night snuggles is that if it happens frequently enough, one of you are bound to catch feels. Be careful and check in with your emotions. If you are feeling like this, remember to have a conversation with each other.
You're the only one
If you two are both sleeping together and not seeing anyone else and there is nothing holding you back from dating anyone else, but yet you still have that awkward “are we? Aren’t we?” thought in your head, then you’re in a Situationship. Simple as that.
Small and Dirty Talk
People, it’s 2020. I get it, some of us like texting. Some, telephone calls. If texting is your primary form of contact and neither of you want to pick up a telephone to talk on it, this might be a red flag. If your conversations are casual or maybe just purely sexual, you’re in a Situationship.
The bubble, it's SUCH a good bubble
Do they always have funny stories about their close-knit group of friends? They talk about the past or what they just did with their friends recently and you have yet to meet them? I get it. When you two are together, it’s just so good so why bring others into the bubble you two have created? If you aren’t meeting their friends or family, you need to understand that you most likely won’t play a part in their future.
Okay, so i'm in a Situationship, what now?
Listen, if this type of relationship works for both parties, I am truly happy for you. I've actually known this to work out for a few people. The biggest advice I can give you is to communicate. Set expectations and boundaries. You both need to be on the same page and be able to understand what you are doing. I want to be very clear here, what ever you do, DO NOT push your needs aside for anyone else’s.
If you want more, speak up. If they say that they aren’t looking for a relationship, they aren’t looking for a relationship. Respect their decision just as much as you expect them to respect yours. If they say they love you but don’t show you with their actions, I think you know that you deserve better.
You are a truly amazing person and I don’t even know you. You are special and liked by a lot of people. Remember to open your eyes and accept the reality you are presented with. Actions speak louder than words and it’s okay for you to walk away from this, even if it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Take it from someone who knows and is still taking one step at a time.
Written for you, by local therapists.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, and lifestyle: Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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