Relationship or Situationship? 9 Ways to Tell & How to Handle it

By Tatenda

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Last Updated: November 14, 2022

Are you a bit confused and uncertain about the kind of ‘relationship’ you have with someone? 

  • Does it feel like a relationship but also like it is not? 
  • Does it sometimes feel like both of you have different interpretations of what is going on between the two of you?

If you said yes to any of the above, you might be in a situationship!

Unlike a relationship, in a situationship things are a bit blurry. There are no titles or commitment but it resembles a traditional relationship (in some ways).

Unfortunately, in most cases, one part is happy with the state of things while the other ‘catches feelings’ and wishes things would advance to a more stable and committed relationship. 

With that in mind, the person who wants commitment often fails to realize that they are in a situationship, as they hope that the arrangement is the early stages of a relationship. Unfortunately this likely results in some level of emotional damage

While it is ideal for people to always communicate so that both parties are on the same page, people do not always communicate. We often just assume that the other person knows or they can read between the lines.

In cases where the lines are blurry, that is where we need a second opinion to help us figure out what is happening. 

 

 

9 Signs You Are in a Situationship 

1. There are no boundaries.

Nothing is particularly clear, so it is difficult to impose boundaries.

You might not like the idea of your ‘partner’ flirting with others or responding to your texts late, but you can’t communicate your worries as the relationship status is unclear. 

It is also quite challenging to express expectations as there is no obligation on either of the parties involved. 

 

2. There is no growth.

Relationships grow. Dates evolve from being too formal to being more relaxed and engaging.

You start spending more time with each other and increasingly become comfortable with each other’s presence. As time moves on, you start introducing each other to your friends and eventually, family. 

This is not the case in situationships. Things are fairly casual and they don’t seem to advance into anything. If you notice some level of stagnation, you might need to take a closer look at your relationship (or lack thereof). 

 

3. Consistency? What’s that? 

One weekend you spend every minute together having the time of your lives and it surely feels like a relationship.

Next thing, you don’t reach out to each other for weeks. When you finally do communicate, you act like everything is normal and simply pick up from where you left. 

 

4. You never talk about your relationship.

It feels like a joy ride without any particular destination in mind. You simply go with the flow and never have time to discuss what is happening in your relationship and the changes you might want to make. 

 

5. There is a shallow emotional connection.

As much as you enjoy spending time together, there is no emotional connection.

You are unable to open up to each other about the ‘deep stuff’. This is probably because situationships are typically based on shallow superficial attraction or lust. However, if one party is hoping for more, they might find themselves opening up to someone who is not responsive. 

 

6. There are no long-term plans.

Almost everything is planned on short notice and when you talk, you never talk about things you want to potentially do in the future. This is a huge red flag that suggests that your relationship does not necessarily have a future. 

 

7. It is not exclusive.

Unless you agree to be in an open relationship, normally a relationship is exclusive. I think that is one of the biggest indicators of commitment.

In situationships people ‘keep their options open’ or passively express that they are not looking for commitment. 

 

8. Your lives aren't connected.

Since the connection is shallow, your lives aren’t intertwined and they are separate. You do not have mutual friends and in most cases you barely update each other of what is happening in your lives.

One person can leave town for a week and the other might not even know about it. 

 

9. It is confusing.

Early stages of a relationship are typically exciting especially due to the anticipated future. If you find yourself often confused and anxious regarding your interaction with someone, it might be a situationship.

The confusion arises from the lack of consistency and poor communication. You are not sure what to expect as the direction of the relationship is unclear. 

 

 

What To Do When You Find Yourself in a Situationship

Sometimes we intentionally enter into situationships because we don’t want commitment at that stage.

However, in some cases we really want a stable relationship, but the other person wants something else so we find ourselves in a situationship. 

1. Talk about it.

If you sense that the two of you want different things, the best thing is to communicate.

Verbally. Express what you want or hope for so that they also tell you where they stand. 

This might be a bit uncomfortable but it needs to be done so that you get closure and move on if you need to. 

 

2. Be open to new relationships.

If you can tell that the person you are with is not ready for commitment (with you), the best option is to look for someone who also wants the same level of commitment that you want.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they will love you back.

So don’t limit your options in the hopes that the person you are with will also want what you want. Go on dates and chat to people. Don’t let your current situationship get in the way of your next relationship. 

 

 

Where Do You Stand in Your Situationship?

Situationships are not always a bad idea. Sometimes they are exactly what we need as we prepare to open up for future commitments.

As long as both parties communicate their needs and expectations, you should be good. However, keep in mind that you are allowed to change what you want and if that happens, it would be great if you let the other person know. 

Photo by Trinity Kubassek

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