Urban Dictionary defines a “situationship” as:
“A relationship that has no label on it… like a friendship but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship.”
And if that definition doesn’t confuse you even more, well…
Modern dating dictionary has a slew of these confusing terms: ghosting, breadcrumbing, zombie-ing, benching. You name it.
Since when did dating become so complicated? Back in the days, people just go dancing, go courting, get engaged after a few months and live happily ever after.
But that’s another conversation for another day. Today, we’ll talk about “situationship,” what it means, and the recognizable signs you are in one.
What is a “situationship”, really?
Dating and Relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan puts a more official definition to situationship, defining it as:
“It’s a pseudo-relationship. A placebo masking itself as a relationship, but the reality is that it is not.”
And the worst thing is, this pseudo-relationship is now considered the new normal in modern romantic relationships.
So to give it to you simply: a situationship is like your ordinary relationship, except that it is not ironically labeled as one.
So you date someone, do the normal relationship things with them, except you can’t call them your girlfriend or boyfriend.
You absolutely can not define this relationship. The question “what are we?” simply can’t come up, whether or not by choice.
Doing so would ruin the already fragile parameters of whatever it is you’re doing.
Think your casual flings and hookups are bad? Situationships are actually much, much worse. In fact, it’s downright toxic.
So if you find yourself relating to these 9 things, then we’ve got some bad news for you, you’re definitely in a situationship.
Sign #1. You haven’t DTR.
You haven’t “Defined The Relationship.” You’re kind of together. I mean, you may even have a toothbrush at each other’s place, maybe even a drawer. And you do everything that normal couples do, except you are not a couple.
Everything becomes awkward when you introduce each other to other people. “This is uhm… my friend… or gym partner, or just a person.”
And you absolutely avoid everything relating to defining the relationship. It’s completely taboo.
Your friends keep asking you what you guys are, and you find yourself always grasping for an answer, trying to justify something that isn’t even anything.
Sooner or later one or both of you will be sick of the ambiguity and come to an ultimatum.
Sign #2. You don’t talk about the future.
Not only don’t you talk about not labeling the relationship, but you don’t even talk about the future.
Making long-term plans of any kind is completely off the table. A birthday next month? Too far away and too uncomfortable to talk about. What if you’re just assuming? That will be embarrassing.
Any Christmas or New Year’s Eve plans? Either you’re just too afraid to ask and get rejected, or you’re scared the other person has plans with someone else.
Any kind of future is off limits — whether it be a week down the road or a year. You just avoid talking about the future. Maybe it’s too much pressure. Maybe it’s too early to make any sort of plans. Or maybe one or both of you don’t see each other in your lives in the foreseeable future.
Sign #3. You don’t know each other’s friends.
Have you even met one friend? Have you ever brought each other in one another’s social gatherings? Or have you just been hanging out and watching Netflix alone?
Introducing a partner to your friends often signifies a relationship is going serious. It’s a big step in any real relationship. It adds a permanence to your situation as a couple. And it’s a good sign that this person wants you in their life.
If you haven’t met each other’s friends and you’ve been dating for a while, or there are absolutely no plans of doing so in the future, then you’re probably in a situationship.
Sign #4. You’re exclusively dating.
What separates a friends-with-benefits scenario from a situationship is that you are probably not seeing other people.
Situationships are typically a gray area in dating. Sometimes it’s that stage between meeting each other to becoming a couple. But most of the time it’s just a gray area you stay in.
You’re kind of a couple in a sense that you’re no longer dating other people. But you’re not a real couple as of yet. It’s almost a relationship that you’re not inclined to keep looking at other options, but it’s also not a friends-with-benefits thing either.
Sign #5. You have feelings for this person, but it is just not love.
You feel comfortable with this person, and they excite you just enough that you stay in a situationship with them.
But you don’t love them. Perhaps this is the reason why you’re staying in this gray area after all.
And you think that being in this situation is better than being alone, so you simply settle for whatever it is you two have.
Sign #6. You’re basically single during important events.
You go alone to important events like weddings, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or important holidays you share with your loved ones.
You can invite them, but you choose not to and vice versa.
Deep inside, you really consider yourself single and don’t even consider bringing the other person as a plus one. This is a part of your life you’re holding back from and you just don’t know why.
Sign #7. You sleep at each others’ place on a routine basis.
Maybe you’re even practically moved-in. You wear each other’s clothes and cook dinners at home. And you stay the night on a regular basis.
You don’t just go there to hook up and leave after sex. You actually hang out with them and do domesticated activities with them. You have stuff at each other’s apartments, even a designated drawer. But somehow, it’s not a big deal or anything exciting. To you, it’s just normal. And maybe that’s what the problem is.
In fact, you only mostly see each other at night. It’s not necessarily a hook-up, but somehow day activities together are just not your thing.
Simply put, your relationship is largely physical with just breadcrumbs of permanence and a little bit of emotional openness. But not so much that it’s a real relationship.
You even have breakfast together in the morning. You’re basically an unofficial couple, you just don’t feel like one.
Sign #8. You don’t “date” each other.
You’ve never been given flowers. You don’t give each other gifts. You don’t even go and hang out outside of your apartments.
You’re not “dating.” You don’t plan activities that you might especially enjoy together. There’s no effort to surprise or woo one another.
No fancy dinners, holding hands at the beach, or anything romantic that might be too “couple-y.”
In most situations, you both just hang out casually. You don’t plan your outfits or feel excited about seeing one another.
There are no butterflies in your tummy at the thought of being with them.
A situationship doesn’t give you that thrilling experience when you’re spending time with someone you love.
Sign #9. There are no “signs” of you as a couple.
You don’t have any pictures together. Other people have never even seen you together. And you’re not on each other’s social media.
In fact, if anyone ever wonders if you’re dating anyone at the moment, this person won’t even come to mind.
You are ghosts in each other’s lives. Your family or friends don’t know about their existence. And you don’t talk about them to anyone. They might as well not exist in your life aside from your casual hang-outs.
Situationships are complicated and toxic in the sense that these relationships don’t really progress to anything. However, situationships are actually the kind of relationships that last longer than you intend.
This is because you feel that there is a semblance of something, just enough to keep you stay. You think that this will change eventually, but it doesn’t.
In the end, what you have is half of something that won’t ever turn into anything at all.
And to be honest, you ‘re much better being alone than to be with someone only halfway.