What is a Situationship and How Do You Deal With It?

A guide to navigating the 'grey area' of relationships
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Created by Jan123

Published on Aug 17, 2023
one paper saying he loves me and another paper saying he loves me not

More and more “types” of relationships have been appearing in the modern world, and you may have heard all kinds of new terms. A type of relationship that is getting more popular and seemingly common is ‘the situationship’.

So what is a situationship? A situationship is defined as a romantic or sexual relationship that is not official; it often lacks clear boundaries, expectations and commitment. People in situationships are normally “tangoing” around each other, having one foot across the line that defines a proper relationship while keeping the other foot behind that line.

Everything above sounds horrible, right? Why would someone want to put themselves in such a confusing situation? There are a few reasons why people would end up in a situationship which I shall list below.

  1. The hesitation to make a commitment
    This is actually the number one reason why I think people often end up in situationships. If you were to be in a proper relationship, it would mean having to accept the commitment and responsibility that comes with it. Some people would prefer to avoid such commitment hence why they rather toe the line and try to get the benefits of a relationship without having to deal with the emotional baggage of it.
  2. Lack of proper communication
    People can be confusing; they can be hard to read. When two parties refuse to communicate their intentions and expectations clearly, things often get muddled which leads to a confusing relationship dynamic.
  3. A mismatch of goals/intentions
    Based on situationships I’ve seen, it’s often one party that wants to be in a proper relationship while the other party avoids the topic or skirts around ever making it official. They ignore the other party’s wants to be in a proper relationship while the other party willingly stays in this situationship in hopes of changing it one day. The two parties just go around each other, and nothing ever gets concluded.
  4. Emotional unavailability
    Similar to reason number 1, some people are just emotionally unavailable to be in a commited relationship. They would rather be in a situationship to reap some of the benefits of a proper relationship but still maintain some kind of distance.

Now you might suddenly realize that you’re in a situationship now, so how do you navigate it?

The most important thing is to understand yourself and put yourself first. Reflect on what it is that you want. Are you ok with how things currently are? Do you actually want a committed relationship, or do you just want something casual? When you better understand what you want, you can then determine whether you want out of this situationship or just let it be.

If you feel like a situationship is not what you want in life, then you should communicate that. Have an open and honest conversation with the other person involved. Share your thoughts, emotions, and desires, and express your need for clarity and a defined relationship. You should also start setting healthy boundaries. Don’t go doing things that make the relationship even more confusing, be clear about what you are comfortable with. 

Sometimes, talking to other people about the situation helps as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that you trust to provide some support and guidance. A listening ear from them may be enough to help you feel better.

One of the final ways to navigate through your situationship is to make your decision and possibly move on. You might come to the conclusion that your situationship is impacting you negatively and that it’s not worth it to continue or try and salvage any relationship with the person involved. It might be hard, but you ought to make the decision to step back and move on. Always remember to prioritize your emotional well-being and happiness. Ending the situationship might hurt, but time will heal, and you will soon find yourself open to new possibilities for healthy and fulfilling relationships.

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