When you are in the early stages of getting to know another person, or sleeping with someone, it can be hard to know what your exact relationship is. Are you not so serious but on the way to becoming more committed? Are you in a friends with benefits situation where you have both agreed to put your feelings aside? Or are you in a kind of limbo that has you a bit confused? If you are confused about your relationship status to another person, you might be in a situationship. A situationship is basically an undefined romantic relationship. Unlike a friends with benefits situation, there can be feelings involved in a situationship, but the terms of the relationship and the end goal of the relationship are not defined.
It’s important to know the signs of a situationship so that you can recognize if you are in one sooner rather than later. Understanding your status as a situationship can help you avoid investing too many emotions into the connection.
Here are a few signs that indicate that you might be in a situationship:
1. You haven’t defined the relationship (DTR)
In the age of hookup culture and casual sex, it can be hard to know exactly where you stand with someone. When relationships don’t follow the classic courtship then dating followed by emotional intimacy then physical intimacy timeline, it can be hard to know what your sexual partner thinks about your relationship.
An easy way to find out what your relationship is to one another is to have the “what are we” talk, but it can be hard to know when this kind of thing is appropriate. Ask the question too early and risk seeming too eager and scaring them off. Have the talk too late and end up on a totally different page than they are... If you haven’t DTR yet, and you have been seeing this person for a while, it might be a sign that you are in a situationship not a relationship.
If your partner avoids having this talk when you bring it up, it’s another indication that they do not want to put the relationship in concrete terms.
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2. No consistency
If you have been seeing someone for a significant amount of time, but never know when you can expect to hear from them or when you will see them next, it’s a sign that you are in a situationship. In a relationship, you should be able to count on your partner to respond to your texts, keep up with planned activities, and make time in their schedules to see you. If this is lacking with your current partner, then you are probably not in a serious relationship. Consistency can also relate to their level of investment in the relationship.
When you are in a situationship, your partner may feel super hot and cold. One minute they might seem like they are totally invested in the relationship and then next they may act as if they could take it or leave it. This lack of consistency is an indication that they also don’t know the terms of the relationship, which makes it a situationship! Defining the relationship from the early stages can help you both manage expectations about the relationship and understand how to act. If you don’t do so, this leads to a lack of consistency.
3. No talk about the future
In a relationship, partners tend to plan for the future together in some capacity. The plans don’t necessarily have to be long term, but they do involve some sort of future time frame, whether it’s something to look forward to in a few weeks, or months or maybe even a year down the line.
Talk about the future can involve meeting the family, going to an event together, or even talking about future logistics like moving, getting a pet together, etc. etc. A total absence of talk about the future is a sign that your partner doesn’t see a long term future together. This lack of commitment is a sign that you are in a situationship. If you try to bring up the future with your current partner and they dodge the question or give vague responses, this is another sign that you are in a sitautionship.
4. They say the aren’t serious
If your partner says that they aren’t serious, or ‘aren’t looking for anything serious’ then you should take them at their word. Even if it feels like you are doing couple-y things like date nights, and even if you feel like you have an emotional connection, if they say they don’t want something serious then they do not want something serious!! Listening to people when they say this and recognizing that you are in a situationship NOT a relationship will save you a lot of heartbreak down the line. It can be difficult to keep your feelings out of it when you feel as if someone’s words aren’t aligning with their actions, but it is important to take people at face value and listen to them when they talk about the status of your relationship.
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5. You don’t meet the friends
At a certain point in any relationship, you are bound to be introduced to the friends (and eventually, family) of your partner. If you have been seeing someone for some time, and have yet to meet anyone that’s important to them, then this is probably a sign that you are not in a relationship. If things are getting serious, and your partner is ready to start making you a priority in their life, they will start to introduce you to people that are close to them. This can be through group outings or even inviting other couples along to date night. If your “relationship” isn’t progressing in this way, then you should take it as a sign that you will likely never meet the friends... If you make the suggestion to introduce your partner to your friends and they are apprehensive or avoidant in any way, then this can also be a sign that you are in a situationship.
6. Surface level connection
A lot of the time, people that are in situationships don’t have a deep emotional connection. If you find that you are mostly just a hookup or a booty call for someone, and that they avoid any deep conversation, then you are in a situationship, not a relationship. In the early stages of a relationship, the connection can also feel surface level as you are getting to know each other. The distinction here is that in a relationship you progress past this phase, whereas in a situationship you never see below the surface.
This surface level connection can be due to the fact that you don’t have much in common. It can also be due to the fact that one or both of you is keeping the connection superficial. If you find that your partner swerves any conversation that involves vulnerability, it’s a sign that they are not interested in forming a deeper emotional connection in the relationship.
7. Seems to be based on convenience
While some people may argue that most relationships are based on convenience, after all most people date people in the same city, in similar friend groups, etc. etc., situationships are REALLY based on convenience. In relationships, people often plan when to spend time together. In situationships on the other hand, invites tend to be last minute and kind of random. In relationships, partners often go out of their way to make time for the other. In situationships, people normally make spur of the moment plans based on their free time, hoping the other person can make it work. This lack of planning shows that situationships are really based on convenience more than anything else.
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8. Lack of date night
If you are trying to figure out whether or not you are in a situationship, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you ever hang out with the person you are seeing outside of the bedroom. Or during the day time. Or in the presence of other people. If you are only ever over to have sex, or you’ve never gone on any dates, then you are probably not in a relationship. Lack of one-on-one time with someone outside of the bedroom can indicate that you don’t have a deep emotional connection or that your partner does not want to have anything more than a surface level connection. If you try to plan a date night with your partner and find that they object to the idea or give you some kind of push back, then this is a sign that you are in a situationship. It is important to note that some situationships do involve dates, but these dates are normally less public and less planned than relationship dates.
9. You are anxious to hear back from them
No healthy relationship should be based around anxiety. When you are in a healthy relationship with another person, you should feel secure about your connection to your partner. Sure, in the beginning stages of a relationship you might have some butterflies about dates and spending time together, but you shouldn’t feel anxious about whether they will respond to you or accept you.
Because situationships are so undefined, they are often a cause of anxiety for people. Afterall, it can be very difficult to feel at ease if you don’t know where you stand with someone. If you are not an anxious person, and your relationship to someone else is creating anxiety for you, then this is a sign that you could be in a situationship.
10. They’re seeing other people
If you are seeing someone who is seeing other people, it’s a sign that you are in a situationship. That is, unless you have already talked about your relationship and decided that you are going to be open, but if that is the case, you probably aren’t reading this.... It can be painful to find out that the person you are seeing is not being exclusive, especially if you assumed as much, but because the situationship is so undefined they aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong. Talks about exclusivity can often elucidate whether you are in a situationship or a relationship.
Situationships aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they can be great for people that aren’t ready to commit to a full relationship, but are still looking for emotional and physical connections. They are also great for people that are interested in exploring relationships with multiple other people and are open to polyamory. Remember that situationships are not necessarily a bad thing, but they are not everyone’s cup of tea. And they can be confusing and frustrating for people that are looking to pursue a relationship, but aren’t getting anywhere with their partner. If all the signs point to the fact that you are in a situationship, but you don’t want to be, it’s time for you to move on.
It can be very hard (virtually impossible) to turn a situationship into a relationship, unless the less committed person has a sincere change of heart. It is not totally unheard of for this to happen, but it most likely will not. If all the signs are there that you are in a sitautionship rather than a relationship, you should be honest with the other person about what it is you really want. Perhaps they are on the same page and have just been giving you the most mixed signals of all time. Or, perhaps you have been reading the signals correctly and it’s time to move on. Talking about the status of your relationship and finally having the DTR talk will give you clarity on the situationship and hopefully allow you both to move on, on good terms!
Even if your current partner is not interested in a serious relationship, there are plenty of other people out there who are! Don’t waste your time on a partner that causes you anxiety and doesn’t prioritize you. There are plenty of people who are looking for a relationship and will be happy to commit the time and effort it takes to be in a healthy, defined relationship.
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It's a red flag when your partner doesn't care about your emotions or doesn't express them. It's a red flag when they don't question your mood/day. It's a red flag if they make you feel bad about expressing yourself. It's a red flag if they don't express themselves openly.What are red flags in a situationship? ›
It's a red flag when your partner doesn't care about your emotions or doesn't express them. It's a red flag when they don't question your mood/day. It's a red flag if they make you feel bad about expressing yourself. It's a red flag if they don't express themselves openly.Is a situationship not a relationship? ›
If you know what it means to be together but not really together with someone, you've probably been in a situationship. It's when you're sorta talking to someone (inconsistently), making plans (last-minute), and the romantic connection isn't super defined.How do you know if your Situationship wants a relationship? ›
- You start going on more dates. ...
- He communicates with you on social media and shows you off there too. ...
- He calls and checks up on you regularly. ...
- The sex is more passionate. ...
- You argue less. ...
- He talks about wanting to travel with you.