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?
A situationship is like a relationship — like 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.
7 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.