What is a Situationship?

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Spring 2024

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As dating has been irrevocably altered by modern customs and tech features, new dynamics and situations have cropped up, inspiring various new terms as well.

“Rebound.”

“One-night stand.”

“Friends with benefits.”

“Instagram soft launch.”

“Situationship.”

The last one is a state that more and more people are finding themselves in. But what is a situationship exactly? 

A situationship occurs in the liminal period before the DTR (“define the relationship”) conversation is had. During this uncertain time, you may have gone on a few dates and messaged each other regularly. You might be considering other options, but you are definitely not thinking about the long-term. 

In this undetermined, label-less place, neither person may feel comfortable broaching the question, “What are we?” for fear of upsetting the delicate balance that has been established and unspoken, thus provoking commitment or the end of the relationship. But why are more couples choosing to stay in relationship limbo for extended periods of time? 

There is a lack of interest in romantic commitment that many people feel nowadays, especially as people are dealing with work and side projects, catching up with a social calendar that was sideswiped by a pandemic, and accustomed to the freeing schedule of a remote lifestyle. When compounded with a plethora of choices via dating apps like Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder, there is even less reason to settle down into a lukewarm relationship. 

A situationship is also a symptom of a societal preference towards convenience and ease instead of dealing with the messiness of a long-term relationship. It may be preferable to find someone to occasionally hang around with and not plan a future with them in case it derails your own plans. However, being afraid of addressing something head-on almost always means drama will be brought on by certain misunderstandings and miscommunication. 

For example, what happens when someone catches feelings and is interested in pursuing a deeper connection with their situationship partner? How can they address a change of status, so to speak?

There isn’t a single answer to this question as it depends on the two people involved. However, it is generally advisable to communicate those feelings and desires, and to negotiate a mutual agreement about what, if any, changes should be made to the relationship. Have patience with the transition as well; it can be awkward at first when you’ve decided to take things seriously.

The opposite can also happen when a situationship fizzles out and no longer serves any purpose in someone’s life. Then, it is easy to break things off with a frank conversation — in-person, ideally, or via text or call — indicating that you won’t have time for the other person anymore. Approach each other with mutual respect and part ways as mature adults who value one another’s time and energy.

Whatever the situation is for you at the moment, consider the deeper implications and desires for yourself (and others) and aim to form healthy relationships.

The Elixuer Team

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