Let’s just freakin’ say it: 2019 is a weird time for defining relationships. There is talking, talking *wink wink*, hooking up, side hoes, dating but not actually together and friends with benefits, but god forbid somebody try to call you their girlfriend.
The latest entry into the lexicon of non-dating relationships, the situationship, describes a two-person pairing that resembles couplehood in every possible sense except for its label.
For example, let’s say you meet a super cool human and you two begin to really like each other. There’s just something about them that is unlike anyone else you’ve met. So, naturally, you start texting nonstop and screenshotting their goofy snapchats.
But, that’s not where this connection dies. You start going out in public with each other, even sharing a popcorn bucket at the movies and taking them to some of your favorite places. It’s all fun, new and exciting. Your roommates never hear the end of how awesome your new boo is.
Then both parties decide to take the next step in the romantic relationship and start having sex. The hookups are every night, and you start to become really attached to your person. But, let me remind you that this isn’t a relationship.
Both parties want to see other people and don’t want the side effects that a relationship can bring. There is no “let’s define what we are” conversation. So, you share a lot with this other person and they do the same, but there is no guarantee they want to only be with you.
There are now strong emotional strings attached to this — now defined — situationship. The feelings are strong but they are all over the place. Is this love? Lust? A waste of time? A placeholder? The list goes on, and while you are stuck trying to decipher what is going on, you and your S.O continue going out, hooking up and having sleepovers.
However, despite all their convenient benefits, situationships have their fair share of drawbacks. For one, they’re incredibly messy. There are so many underdeveloped blind spots to these types of relationships that most people don’t consider before jumping in. What happens when the lady or gent you have been involved with doesn’t invite you to real-life events or ghosts you just to reappear later asking to “get coffee” like nothing happened?
Longing, regret, sincere sadness and anger are all valid emotions that can be triggered by miscommunication and unclear boundaries. Situationships provide no safety net for your confused feelings, because there is no commitment between the two parties involved. So it’s free rein to do whatever with whomever, but it’s going to get messy when your situationship partner is always lurking in the back of your mind, one step away from crossing the relationship start line.
So why do we even fall for these types of relationships when it’s a one-way ticket to Hurtville? Well, in the beginning, situationships can bring comfort and harmless fun. It’s dating, just without the label of commitment.
When there are no lovey-dovey feelings involved it can be refreshing to get to know someone new and share a bunch of “first times” with them. It’s natural for humans to crave intimacy, not just in the bedroom but in conversations as well. When the sparks first begin flying, it can be one of the best feelings in the world.
However, that feeling turns into tears when ideas about where this once harmless “thing” is headed don’t align. Don’t try to convince yourself that they will change what they want because of you. Even long and time-consuming situationships don’t always turn into serious relationships.
By nature, situationships are tricky. They are confusing, misleading and may never come to a satisfying ending. If you are seriously looking to start a committed relationship with someone, do not settle. Find a man or woman who wants to be committed as well.
Don’t force someone into something they clearly don’t want. Clearly state your expectations with someone before things take a turn. Regret is a powerful S.O.B. Regretting the amount of time you wasted on someone that was never able to fully commit to you is painful to say the least.
A rule of thumb for diminishing serious regret is that situationships should not last longer than a couple months. When you start adding on years, it will just be that much harder to detach yourself from your situationship partner.
There’s no doubt that situationships are bad news. So, if after reading this article you realize you are stuck in a complex situationship, here are some tips to help get your emotions back on track.
If you think it’s time to DTR, speak up. It’s imperative that you tell the person what you hope for the future. Be brave, bold and stand your ground. If you’re afraid of what will come out their mouth, realize that whatever they have to say may be for the better. The worst thing you can do is waste precious time on someone who may never want the same future as you.
It is also important to note that moving on may be harder than you think. Don’t expect things to change overnight because, well, that’s not how life works. Those very legit feelings you had may linger for months after ending the current situationship, so just be prepared.
Last but not least, always be open and honest with both your partner and yourself. Validate your emotions and take action. Tell your partner when things start to get weird so you can tackle that hurdle before it starts dragging you down. Clear communication is key — always remember that!