The Problem With “Situationships”

4 min readAug 20, 2019

Unofficial relationships still present legitimate issues.

Photo by Max Rovensky on Unsplash

We think that in not placing labels on our romantic associations that we’re going with the flow and keeping things cool. The belief is that we’re engaging in some evolved, freer form of courtship. The perspective does make some sense. With definition comes increased expectation and pressure. When all involved parties are clear that they are just dating, hanging out, friends with benefits or otherwise not in a formal relationship, it can help to temper requirements.

We wouldn’t ask someone whom we’re only dating to help us out of a financial bind, nor anticipate him or her coming to our family reunion. Well, most of us wouldn’t. Even if we wanted to, knowing that things aren’t serious makes us uncomfortable with such major requests. The idea behind applying caution when labeling our connections is very logical, but rarely is love. This is where issues arise.

The lack of a defined arrangement does not influence our emotions. We can’t make ourselves not have a strong affinity toward someone simply because we know that we shouldn’t. Now, we can take steps to avoid fostering closeness. However, usually, we end up falling for someone but trying to hide it because we don’t think it’s OK to have those feelings. We create ‘situationships,’ which exist somewhere between friendship and commitment. It’s a gray area of uncertainty that often does more harm than good — at least where our mental health is concerned.

Situationships are a result of intimate interaction that goes far beyond casual yet is not overtly regarded as consequential. It’s what happens when we spend excessive amounts of time with someone, have regular sex with that person, become immersed in one another’s lives, continue learning about and growing close to them, but don’t say we’re together. It’s an unofficial relationship.

Being in a situationship can offer us the affection, support and comfort of a committed love affair, with none of the stability. It’s an illusion of significance. We believe it means something because of the way that we behave with one another, yet we don’t get the reassurance. We don’t know what to think or even how to act in some instances. This constant state of ambiguity is a breeding ground for insecurity and heartbreak. I’m…


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