You or someone close to you has probably been in a few situationships. Situationship is an unofficial relationship that is more than friends with benefits but less than the love of your life. Basically, someone you have become close with but choose to still hold out for someone better.
After surveying 50 people, I have concluded that this is nothing new and that millennials are more common to find themselves in situationships than any other generational cohort. Those who have been in situationships also mentioned, that was not the relationship they were seeking. So, how do you find yourself in a situationship without knowing?
First, you are probably not sure if you are ready for a relationship. Someone actually seeking to be in a committed and monogamous relationship is clear and open about what they are looking for as they date. I always find myself in situationships because I’m not 100% sure if I’m ready, not only for a relationship but for marriage, kids and everything else that follows.
Second, people who find themselves in unwanted situationships are not choosing the partner that is vocal about what they want. When I would date, the guy would go with the flow. So, whatever direction I chose whether friendship or dating, he went with it. This type of uncertainty would result in them leaving me for someone who was ready for a serious relationship. Most of the guys I’ve dated immediately got into relationships, had a baby or got married after dating me.
Third, lack of communication is always key. I would rarely express my interest in wanting to date exclusively. Personally, I always wanted the guy to establish the relationship by introducing me as his girlfriend or we’re official. Instead, I often got major attitude whenever a guy found out I was dating someone else. That is how I ended up in a situationship.
It is interesting because the feelings are there, the want for something serious is obviously present and the time invested is substantial. The question is why do situationships never lead to a relationship?
A Situationship never leads to a relationship because of those exact reasons I gave in my scenario. Why? Along with happiness comes pain. Unlike a relationship, when someone gets hurt in a situationship it’s more as if a friend has betrayed them rather than a partner. The element of being friends with benefits is the part a of a situationship that deepens those feelings of hurt and betrayal.
You confide in your friends more than you do your “partner” because of the lack of trust, loyalty, and respect you’ve built between the two of you. Friendships start based on common interest, getting along and likability. Dating or relationships are based on common interest, getting along, likability, physical attraction and sexual attraction. When starting off as friends guards are down and there is little to zero expectation.
Remember situationships are more than friends with benefits but definitely has elements of friends with benefits within them. In situationships, the pressure to commit has been removed, meaning that there is very little or no expectation for either partner. However, this leaves hurt feelings as open wounds. With lack of communication, unresolved issues never become resolved, which keeps this style of relationship or situationship stagnant.
The only way to transition a situationship into a committed, monogamous relationship is to get serious about what you want with the person you are in this situationship with.
First, stop dating or pursing other people. Dating other people while in a situationship is a given or at least subconsciously believed, but neither partner ever disrespects the other by talking about it or leaving evidence that they are in fact dating other people. To transition to a relationship letting those other people go gives you more clarity and allows you to focus on the primary relationship.
Secondly, start talking and working towards a future together. Before making that move to a relationship, make sure your partner wants the things you want. Begin working towards any individual or common goals together. This will give you both a chance to reconnect and discover new possibilities with each other.
Third, heal those open wounds. In my case, I had become super insecure. The length of time that we had known one another and had been in our situationship shot my confidence all the way down. Taking time to not only heal the emotional wounds but show the other person that those mistakes won’t be repeated will take time. If you believe that your partner is the one, then it’s worth the time.
Speaking of time; Fourth, once you recognize that the person you are dating has somehow become a situationship, change it quick! The quicker you realize that you are in a situationship, the faster you can save unwanted emotions and hurt feelings. Sticking around for too long may grow the bond between two people or it may lead them left with resentment. Trust, this is probably the most important advice about situationships.
Lastly, communicate, communicate, communicate! I can not empathize this more. Continue to talk to your partner daily about changes or feelings that are developing. Keeping clear and open communication will result in a healthy and happy relationship. If feelings start to change for the worst, make sure you let your partner know how you feel. Remember, a relationship of any type is first and most importantly a partnership. In a partnership there is always an investment and in a relationship there are many things you invest, time, feelings/emotions and money. The more you invest the bigger the risk. Because of this big investment, many people choose to take the safer route to either just stay single and date around or choose a situationship. Unfortunately, there loss may not be as great as it would have been in a committed relationship or marriage but the return is also not as high for these people either. But, just like the option of renting or buying a home, the goal is to get your greatest return from your investments.
Now, how do you avoid a situationship?
First, get serious about what you want. If you are not serious about a committed relationship, you will not find one. Take time to think about your life and what you can handle. Do you have time to commit to someone? Are you willing to make time to date? If the answer is yes, then make that your focus, like saving money and traveling. But don’t be to eager to settle for the first person that shows up and appears to be nice, take your time. Just like it takes time to save for your dream home, it takes just as much time if not more to find a partner best fit for you .
Secondly, try to narrow down your potential partner. I know, that leaves you vulnerable but when you are dating multiple people it doesn’t allow you to connect with anyone on a more intimate level. Also, it makes the people you are dating just as confused as you are.
Third, communicate your wants and needs. Make it known that these are your expectations and if they can’t meet them or don’t want the same things for themselves, you may want to move on. If the person is meeting your expectations reward them, positive reinforcement may make them feel they are special to you. “Expectation” is a demanding word but expecting things in life is why we do mostly everything we do. Example, when you work hard you expect to be paid your worth. Now, your expectations are not always met but at least a bar it set.
Relationships verse situationships. Well, by reading the definitions they are the same but different.
The most noticeable difference is that in a relationship both partners are knowingly only dating one another. I’m not comparing situationships to open relationships or people who cheat in relationships because clearly the people in those relationships, are not interested in a relationship at all. Relationships should not become an obligation or be forced but something that develops and grows naturally. A situationship is two people resisting the vulnerability but fearing the loneliness. A relationship lacking commitment but having every other component is the result of allowing the ego to dictate.
So, to sum it all up. Once you feel you are in a situationship exit quickly. Situationships are not open relationships or broken ones either. To avoid a situationship, narrow down the number of people you are dating to one. Continuously communicate with your partner even if you do not know what you want. Yes, it is possible to turn a situationship in to a healthy relationship but early on in the situationship phase. Remember, communication is the key to any and every relationship.