Tips for Thought

Warning Signs of a Situationship and How to Handle It

Modern relationships are more complicated than ever, which is ironic considering that we have the internet to make everything seamless. This shows that no matter how far technology has come, there is no guarantee that it can solve problems of the heart.

Nowadays, there are various romantic or semi-romantic relationships thanks to modern hookup culture. Here are some of the most common relationships today:

1. Friends with benefits.

A “friend with benefits” (FWB) is someone with whom you have an occasional and casual relationship. A friend with benefits is someone you don’t commit to. Hence, you don’t feel pressured to make romantic gestures with them.

2. One-night stand.

A one-night stand or one-night sex is a casual encounter in which two strangers or people who know each other have sex for one night only. Many people often have one-night stands when they’re drunk or when they just want to have sex without contacting the person after.

3. Situationship.

A situationship is unique because it is an “Are-we-or-aren’t-we?” dynamic. It usually involves two romantically interested people (one-sided or mutual). Still, there is no set definition or commitment.

What Are the Signs of a Situationship?

Many relationships take time to foster because the parties could put a label on it. What makes a situationship so frustrating, however, is the need for clear definitions or commitment.

In some situationships, there is a degree of emotional intimacy, quality time, and physical and sexual component. While these may feel satisfying initially, more certainty and commitment are needed to move forward.

Another frustrating thing about situationships is that no one knows what’s happening. If you’re still unsure of your relationship with this person, here are some warning signs of a situationship:

1. Neither of you is willing to put a label on your relationship.

Even people in casual relationships place a label on it—whether it be “friends with benefits” or the like. Situationships often have one person or both avoid putting a label on it for reasons like “wishing to keep it casual” or wanting to avoid “the talk.”

2. Neither of you makes long-term plans.

Situationships may have some emotional intimacy but rarely discuss the future and your expectations. If your partner refuses to talk about the future, they may not be interested in long-term commitment.

3. One or both of you are seeing other people.

Situationships are vague and do not have any commitment to them. While hookups only involve sex, situationships often involve emotional intimacy and more, making this a lot more complicated than it should be. If you’re openly dating other people and so are they, it may be a sign that neither of you wants to settle for the other.

4. You don’t introduce each other to your close friends or family members.

Refusing to introduce you to close friends and family is a red flag. People serious about having a future with you will want to know what it’s like to have you interact with their loved ones. If they prefer to keep you in the dark, you’re likely someone they want to keep things casual with.

5. They are inconsistent.

They say they like you but act like they don’t. Words that seem sweet, like honey, are nothing if the actions don’t match up. There may be situationships where a lack of communication, effort, and wanting to stay consistent get in the way. If there’s no clarity or effort in it, then it’s a situationship.

6. They are emotionally unavailable.

Have you ever tried to take the plunge and get to know your partner, but they’re keeping you at arm’s length? If so, this may indicate that they do not want to get emotionally intimate or closer than they want.

How Do You Deal with a Situationship?

Situationships aren’t fun, and having to be the person to bring up “the talk” isn’t either. However, keeping yourself in suspense isn’t good for you, especially if you’re the kind of person who wants to define things in relationships.

If you’re looking for ways to deal with a situationship, here is some helpful advice:

1. Be honest with your expectations.

Sit down and reflect on what you want in a relationship. Do you want constant communication, assurance, quality time, and affection? If so, be honest with yourself and your partner and tell them what you like and expect in a relationship.

2. Be clear with your intentions.

This is the part where you have to choose. Are you willing to go on with a casual relationship with no labels, or do you want something deeper and more intimate? Remember, there is no clear-cut answer to this, so you must be honest with yourself and what you want. You should also consider what your partner wants and see if you can work things out.

3. Assess your compatibility together.

There are instances when you may feel the same for each other but are afraid to take the next step. However, consider checking your compatibility as a couple if you want to try. Are you ready to make things work long-term? What about living arrangements? Do you have the same values? Do you want to get married someday? These are all critical questions, so take your time and don’t rush.

4. Know when to exit with dignity.

While there are moments when things work out, there are also situations in which one wants to keep things casual while the other wants to keep them serious. If you and your partner have different goals, it may be time to leave the arrangement. Sure, you can work things out, but the more you put things off, the more painful it will be if one person’s feelings grow stronger. If you’re sure about what you want and are willing to start fresh with someone else, this is a sign to make that big step.

Bottomline: Situationships have both advantages and disadvantages. On a positive note, they are fun, casual and allow you to explore relationships and what you want in them. On the negative side, people could get hurt, and emotions could become volatile.

Whether you’re in a situationship or not, know the signs, understand the risks, and use this situation as an opportunity to figure out what you want.