The situation with situationships

Defining this undefined dating trend and whether it works

Different relationships require different strategies for mutual happiness.

Whether you’ve been on dating apps, are in a long-term relationship, or are seeing someone casually, you likely know there are countless terms to describe different types of relationships. Since the first episode of the reality dating show Love Island USA aired, the term the contestants often use, ‘situationship,’ has been on my mind.

A situationship begins when you engage in a romantic relationship without defining what you are to one another. Essentially, you’re stuck in limbo.

I’m sure many of you have been in this situation—I know I have. You spend so much time unsure about how to proceed that you begin to question yourself. Should you end it? Should you risk it and try to transition into a defined relationship?

All relationships are different, which means they require different strategies for mutual happiness. In my personal experience, there are two different types of situationships you might find yourself in. Spoiler alert: one is far healthier than the other.

The mutual agreement

This first type of situationship occurs when both partners in the relationship agree to not be exclusive. My advice for this kind of relationship is to establish boundaries early on. Boundaries are an important aspect of any relationship, but they’re especially important when things are emotionally and physically ambiguous.

This type of situationship can be sexually liberating for many reasons. It could be because your past relationship didn’t work out or was emotionally draining, or maybe you just need to switch things up. In a situationship, you aren’t formally dating, which means you don’t need to feel pressured to share the more vulnerable parts of yourself with your partner. You’re able to be with that person without having to fully attach yourself to them.

Another reason situationships can be beneficial when both parties come to a mutual agreement is that you’re able to let feelings of loneliness be quenched by your situational partner without having to commit to everything a relationship entails. There’s a reason cuffing season is so prevalent—winter is cold and lonely, and sometimes, you just need a warm body to snuggle up to.

The unrequited love

This form of situationship is something that needs to be ended as soon as it starts. If you’re hung up on a certain person who isn’t ready for a relationship or doesn’t have the same feelings as you, entering into a situationship might feel like a good enough compromise.

However, continuing to see this person you have deep feelings for only lets your feelings build, despite the fact that this relationship is going nowhere.

If you’re having your heart hurt, don’t settle for second best or give up on the ‘real’ relationship you crave. Be patient: in time you’ll find a person who has the same interests as you and wants to commit to you and do everything you desire. It’s worth being single for a little while longer to find that perfect partner.

If you find yourself on the opposite end of this kind of situationship—where you’re okay with the way things are, but the other person has admitted their true feelings for you—break it off for the sake of the other person. It’ll stop things from getting messier than they already are.

Dating isn’t easy, but hopefully after reading this, you’ve found it easier to navigate your way through the dreaded situationship.

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