Are You in A Situationship?
By Barrington H.
Brennen, October 23, 2017
you in a situationship? Years ago, when I first heard the
word “situationship,” I thought it was a made-up word by
someone who did not know better. But it really isn’t.
Situationship is a relationship that is not really a
relationship in the traditional sense. One author says it is
“a relationship that has no label on it... like a friendship
but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship.”
Oops! That’s confusing. Another writer says “a situationship
is any problematic relationship characterized by one or more
unresolved, interpersonal conflicts, usually confused with
situationship is not healthy in the long run. In many cases
someone gets hurt emotionally. It is perhaps like “friends
with benefits” but you are not really friends. It is people
having a reason to get together but no reason to commit to
each other. A situationship can also be when a man and woman
are “courting” but neither party understands the status of
the relationship. These kinds of “relationships” last long
and end in pain. I have observed that there are a few
situationships that end in marriage and that is when the
confusion gets worse. One wakes up wondering “what am I
came across an article entitled: “12 Signs You’re In A
Situationship” by Andrea Wesley, that shares a deeper
concept. He states: “One of the most grueling things about
the modern dating world is the process of courtship turned
relationship. In the 1950s, it was simple. It was like,
“Hey, want to get a milkshake? Will you wear my letter
jacket?” and then BAM — relationship.
there’s this grey area before you have “the talk” called a
situationship and it’s a land that essentially, no one has
figured out yet. It’s the stage of dating that’s more than
just dating and almost a relationship, but not quite. The
worst part is that many couples get stuck here and end up
crashing before it ever turns into anything. Sounds
familiar? Chances are if you have dated in modern times,
you’ve been in this place a time-or-two before.”
appropriate here to share a few of the signs that you are in
a situationship listed by Wesley:
You Aren’t Even Going on Dates Anymore. You hang
like you’ve been together for a long time, but
there’s still a massive elephant in the room.
You Have No Title. When someone asks you what you
are, you reply awkwardly with responses like “we’re
still just seeing each other” or “we’re taking it
one day at a time and going with the flow.” The flow
has not yet been interrupted to define what you
actually are or intend to be.
You avoid discussing the future. Talking about your
long game in life, the five and ten-year plan and
relationship goals are practically taboo subjects.
You don’t know where you stand, and you avoid
discussing it at all costs.
You still attend events solo. Weddings, Christmas
parties, birthdays--all attended alone. You don’t
ever exercise your right to your plus one and it
isn’t that you haven’t thought about it, it’s just
that you’ve convinced yourself “you’re not there
yet” even though you’re there in every other way.
You have sleepovers routinely. You don’t just leave
after sex; you actually spend the night and probably
even have coffee and breakfast together in the
morning. You might even have a toothbrush at their
Texting is your primary form of contact. And it’s
pretty casual. There’s no routine “good morning,
babe” wake-up, but rather just small talk until you
make your next plan for Netflix and chill.
You haven’t met their friends. Your close-knit
friends know that you’re seeing someone, and have
been for a while, but have never actually met them.
You have no pictures together. You haven’t taken any
pictures together or haven’t posted anything to
social media alluding to any sort of idea that
you’re in a pseudo relationship. Or if you have
photos it is simply to impress the crowd.
You’re both playing chicken. You’re basically in a
Mexican standoff and each of you is avoiding
bringing up the actual status of your relationship
likely because you’re both scared of what might
Either you both will agree to move forward
to the next phase, or one of you will back out. We
hate to break it to you, but this could go on and
on, like the song that never ends. Eventually, one
of you is going to need to
the ice and it’ll make or break whatever has been
happening. Or you can just keep going as is, that’s
totally cool too. At least now you now know what to
call your situationship.”
Simply put, a situationship is a kind of relationship that’s
going nowhere. Someone is being used either financially,
sexually, or emotionally. I have dealt with many couples who
say they are “courting” or “dating” but cannot tell me what
are the plans for the relationship. For many of these cases,
they have been “going” for a very long time—three to ten
years or more—and one is waiting for the other to change the
direction of the relationship. In cases like these, it is
the woman who thinks she is in a relationship. However, for
the man, it is a situationship.
reader, if you are in a situationship, I suggest thinking
about getting out of it. But you cannot negotiate your way
out of it. You are non-negotiable. If you realize there is
some ambiguity or feelings of uncertainty, then it’s time to
run for your life.
Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, a marriage and family
therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA.
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