Do you find yourself in a situation where you see someone but can’t say you’re in a relationship? For example, you have fun together and even great sex, but you haven’t committed to each other or discussed your plans as a couple.
When someone asks if you’re seeing someone, you never know what to respond to, and “it’s complicated” seems the only proper response. So, if these things sound familiar to you, you may be in a “situationship,” which is essentially a relationship without commitment.
What Is a Situationship and Is It Toxic?
It’s not that easy to define situationship — there are many variations of relationships. This type of relationship allows people to enjoy the benefits of being single and being in a relationship simultaneously.
When you’re first getting to know someone or sleeping with them, it can be difficult to determine the nature of your relationship. Are you on the way to becoming more committed to one another? Are you friends with benefits where you both decided to put your feelings aside? Or are you confused and in the middle of nowhere?
What Exactly Is a Situationship?
You may be in a situationship if you are unsure about your relationship status and if you feel your relationship isn’t defined. A situationship, unlike friends with benefits, might involve feelings. However, if the terms and the relationship goal aren’t stated, it can be very misleading and even toxic in some cases.
Is a Situationship Toxic?
These types of relationships don’t have defined boundaries. People date someone and do things you normally do in a relationship, but they can’t call them their partner. The lack of labels is a benefit initially, but it’s human nature to want to label things. So eventually, one of you will start the talk, “Where is this going?”
We don’t say that an undefined romantic relationship is a bad thing. But it would help if you recognized when it’s no longer healthy — don’t ignore the situationship red flags because you aren’t doing yourself a favor.
When one side desires more, the situation becomes out of sync. Then, resentment and anger emerge, and one of you begins to feel rejected. This can appear as toxic behaviors such as passive aggressiveness, unhealthy communication, and angry outbursts. Here are some additional reasons why situationships may be toxic and damaging.
It keeps you from meeting the one
It’s a confusing relationship in which one or both sides don’t want to claim the other but don’t want their partner to date others. It leaves both of you hanging, so even if you meet someone with whom you may build a relationship, the situationship will hold you back.
It makes you feel like you invest without getting anything in return
The main problem with situationships is that you probably hope it may have the chance to develop into something significant and things will improve. It consumes a big part of your life — you invest considerable time, money, and emotions without commitment.
Many people end up frustrated because they’ve wasted time and energy in relationships that didn’t work out.
It changes you
A situationship can be disappointing. You act like you’re in a relationship, but the reality is that you don’t have a partner to rely on. The uncertainty will cause anxiety and ambivalence.
Because your relationship isn’t defined, there’s no rule of not seeing other people, which can leave you feeling betrayed and upset. In addition, your partner has most likely not introduced you to friends or family, which demonstrates an apparent lack of trust and no emotional connection.
How Do You Know if You Are in a Situationship?
Now that we answer the question “What is a situationship,” it’s essential to recognize the signs to know what you’re getting into from the beginning. In addition, understanding your relationship status might help you avoid putting too much emotion and effort into a situationship.
Signs That You’re in a Situationship
If you notice the following signs, you’re likely in a situationship:
You haven’t defined the relationship
You never had the “Where do we stand?” conversation to define your relationship clearly and set boundaries. You may feel uncomfortable bringing it up, or it may feel too early for that conversation. Whatever the case, the fact is that your relationship isn’t exclusive.
Your connection is superficial
Even though you spend a significant time together, your conversations are mainly superficial and dirty. Your partner doesn’t ask you personal questions, and they avoid deep discussions. If you notice that your partner avoids essential topics, you can be sure they aren’t interested in forming a deep emotional connection.
You aren’t sure what to expect from your partner. For example, you don’t know when they’ll call or respond to your text and whether they’ll respond. In addition, you only see each other occasionally, and it may be days without hearing from them.
No talk about the future
Not mentioning the future is a sign of a situationship. A big part of a relationship involves planning things such as a weekend getaway, going to a restaurant, introducing friends, or long-term plans. Instead, you only make short-term and usually last-minute plans. There’s little chance of turning the situationship to a relationship if your partner doesn’t take the initiative or follow up with you on plans.
Your relationship is based on convenience
You don’t prioritize or go out of your way to see each other, but you may arrange last-minute plans based on convenience. They call you if there’s a gap in their schedule or they have some other plans canceled. Your partner always cancels if there’s something more important than you.
Situationship vs. Friends With Benefits
While it’s true that two-thirds of relationships started as friendships, the whole point of FWB is that you’ll stay friends even when the sex stops. So you purposely keep things light by having fun and avoiding complex topics. Also, you intentionally avoid feelings and plans because you are both aware that there isn’t a future for you.
So the main difference between situationship vs. FWB is that FWB lacks the emotional depth people develop when they’re in a situationship.
This relationship is about the benefits, i.e., the sex, which is a mutual understanding. For example, you may be friends who agreed to hook up anytime you’re single or bored.
Or maybe you decided to keep things casual even on the first date. However, an FWB might develop into a situationship if someone develops feelings.
How to Get Out of a Situationship?
Even if your partner isn’t interested in turning the situationship into an official relationship, don’t forget that many people out there would love that! Don’t waste your time with someone who makes you anxious and doesn’t put you first.
You’ll find someone who wants to be in a relationship and is willing to put in the effort and time required to be in a defined and healthy relationship.
When it comes to ending a situationship, you should be honest. If the scenario “more than friends but not boyfriend and girlfriend” isn’t working anymore for you, inform your current partner that you want to move on. Also, be honest if you aren’t ready for a relationship but your partner wants to officialize things.
Relationships without commitment have become frequent in modern romantic relationships. If that’s what you want right now, a situationship will allow you to reap the benefits of a relationship without putting too much effort and emotional energy.
On the other hand, if you aren’t okay with the situationship rules and you’re looking for a serious relationship, a situationship will be a challenging place to be.
The lack of consistency and stability may be frustrating, and if you start to expect more from your partner, you may be disappointed. In any case, talk with your partner and tell them what you want so you can make sure whether you’re on the same page or you should move on.