The relationship that’s not quite a relationshipA woman who’d been dating for a few months wanted more.
It had been going well between them but she wasn’t sure of their status. “We have a ‘thing’ but I wouldn’t exactly call him my boyfriend.”
When I asked if they were dating exclusively, she shrugged. “That’s just it,” she said. “I really don’t know.”
Her friends had told her it was a “situationship” — and she wasn’t sure she liked the label. “It’s not what I signed on for — but I don’t know how to change it.”
What is a situationship?
Many, if not most, relationships start out this way — in the grey zone, while you both figure out if you like each other enough to have the “what are we and where is this going” chat. But many also stay there, when one isn’t up for a commitment.
Keeping things casual, or open, can be freeing if you both like it that way — and if it’s meeting a need for you right now through sex, touch, affection and/or connection. But the problem with situationships is that emotions get involved — of course they do — and one party often ends up wanting more. And, in the end, a relationship without parameters just causes more uncertainty and angst in a world already riddled with it.
Trying to move on from a situationship can also be tricky because — technically — there’s nothing to break off. So it can leave unresolved feelings, frustration and resentment.
Here are the common signs you’re in a situationship:
- You don’t get to meet the person’s friends and family.
- Plans are frequently binned at the last minute (unless they involve sex).
- There’s only vague talk of the future.
- Talk and messages are often sexually oriented.
- The contact between you is erratic — sometimes full on, then stretches of silence.
- You can’t count on this person to attend important events with you.
- When asked, you can’t put a label on the “arrangement”.
- You feel a rumbling anxiety about the relationship because you’re not sure where you stand.
Turning a Situationship Into a “Real Thing”
Many situationships do go the distance and turn into loving committed relationships. But it can also be an easy way out for someone who wants to keep their options open, who can’t help thinking there might be someone better out there in dating app land.
So if you find yourself in the drift zone — and you don’t want to be — it’s time for a chat. Here are some steps to take.
Clinical psychologist, writer. Editor of On the Couch: Top writer in Inspiration, Love, Self Improvement, Mental Health, Psychology, Relationships, Life, Life Lessons, Entrepreneurship
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