Are You In a Situationship?

The European Journal » Are You In a Situationship?

Maybe there’s a niggling doubt that things aren’t right. If you’re in a situationship, though, you may not have even noticed. So, what is a situationship?

What is a situationship?

A situationship is a type of relationship that is not quite a full-fledged romantic relationship, but is more than just a casual dating or hookup situation. It is usually characterized by a lack of commitment or clear boundaries, and may involve spending a lot of time together and getting emotionally invested in each other, but not necessarily having any official labels or expectations for the future. It is a term used to describe a relationship that is undefined or not serious.

Or in other words, a situationship is like a relationshiplike being the operative word — but is somewhat more akin to a very close friendship. Sure, it looks like a relationship to outsiders, and it kind of feels like a relationship to those inside it — but it’s just not quite there.

A good way to explain and define a situationship is this: you’re not friends with benefits, but you’re not ready to update your Facebook status to In a relationship either. You’re sleeping together, sure, maybe even going on dates, but inviting them along to your friend’s wedding? Not gonna happen.

The situationship is complicated, and boy it can be messy. But the first step to sorting it out is by knowing the signs of a situationship and being able to identify it.

5 Signs of a Situationship

First things first: it can be hard recognising — and accepting —  that your relationship isn’t quite what you’d like it to be. However, there are some telltale signs to be on the lookout for.

1. You’re only ever together as a pair. You don’t get to know one another’s friends or family, and, even if you go out, it’s just you two.

2. You don’t have photos together, either on social media or just on your phones generally.

3. Where the relationship is heading is not discussed.

4. The two of you never have any (non-sexual) plans in place. There’s a lack of commitment or ambiguity of intention. If you do hang out, it generally feels like it’s only because one or both of you have nothing else to do.

5. Things just don’t feel right.

Is being in a situationship harmful in the long run?

Sometimes, you might not mind that your relationship is a little vaguely defined. Keeping things ambiguous, even seemingly temporary, might be working for you. Putting a label on it might seem more hassle than it’s worth. Perhaps one of you has just come out of a long-term relationship and making this one official would seem too premature.

Don’t worry about it too much if it’s still early days. There’s definitely something to be said for having your cake and eating it. Being in an entirely undefined relationship can be a lot of fun, there’s no doubt. But it’s when you begin to feel a serious lack of emotional connection that the problems may begin to arise.

When neither person takes a step to move things forward, it can cause feelings of frustration to occur. This is especially true when one party is looking for, and expects, more than the other.

The issues often boil down to the fact that the rules are undefined — or, rather, there are no rules. You’re unsure of what’s acceptable and what might be perceived as too intense or needy. What if they’re texting another potential romantic interest — is that okay? What if they’re sleeping with someone else? That’s surely not okay… right?

If the two of you aren’t on the same page, an uncomfortable, awkward atmosphere may descend. You might feel anxious, unsure of what the future holds, questioning everything the two of you share.

What to do if you’re in a situationship

If you are both genuinely happy with the way things are, there’s no reason to try to move things forward. However, it’s unlikely that neither of you is having doubts. After all, how have you ended up reading this article if you’re not at least wondering how to address the situation(ship)?

The name of the game is transparency. You need to talk to your partner and be entirely honest about how you feel. This can be a bit of a nerve-wracking prospect, but think of it this way: if they’re not interested in you seeking to voice your feelings and brush it off, why waste your time on them? If they’re not open to a frank discussion about exactly where the two of you stand, this situationship probably ain’t gonna become a relationship.

Remember: if you’re happy with your situationship and no-one’s getting hurt, go for it, have fun. But if you’re looking for something more meaningful, this is probably a dead-end street. And that’s okay; it’s all life experience.

And if you decide to call time on it, be civil and be totally open about your reasons. Take what you’ve learned from the experience and you’ll be all the wiser for it next time around.

Sources for help and advice if you find yourself in a situationship and want to explore further

Some reputable sources for information for someone in a situationship include:

  1. Psychology Today – this website features articles written by licensed therapists and other mental health professionals, and covers a wide range of topics related to relationships and dating.
  2. The Gottman Institute – this organization is run by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, who are well-known experts in the field of couples therapy. They offer a wealth of resources, including articles, research studies, and online courses, on topics related to relationship dynamics and communication.
  3. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy – this professional organization represents the interests of therapists who specialize in working with couples and families. They have a website that offers information and resources on various topics related to relationships and mental health.
  4. The National Domestic Violence Hotline – this organization provides support and resources for individuals who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. They have a website that offers information on relationship dynamics, including what a healthy relationship looks like and signs of an unhealthy relationship.
  5. Relationship Hero – this is an online platform that provides professional coaching and advice to people who are dealing with relationship issues. They offer one-on-one coaching sessions with trained experts who can help you navigate the complexities of your situationship.