Man gently brushing back his partner’s hair while smiling in a sunroom.

WHAT’S A SITUATIONSHIP? KNOWING THE SITUATIONSHIP SIGNS

So, you’ve been going out with someone for just shy of a month now and have landed yourself in a… well… situation. The thing is, you really like them and you’re fairly certain they like you back, but you haven’t had the “what are we?” talk and boundaries haven’t been established. You see, situationships are undefined romantic or non-committal relationships that lack expectations. If you want to know how to turn a situationship into a relationship, your best bet and starting point would be to have a more formal conversation about your dynamic.

Falling somewhere in between a casual hookup and full-on commitment to one another, situationships exist all the time. The wonderful thing about seeing each other without labels is that it could be freeing to explore one another without assumptions. On the flipside, a situationship may not be the best-case scenario if someone isn’t being clear enough about their intentions. This breeds confusion, which can then lead to relationship toxicity.

With that being said, let’s unpack a situationship vs. friends with benefits instance, go over multiple signs of situationships, some common rules to remember, and final pros and cons of this form of a relationship to see if it’s right for you. When it comes to protecting your heart and emotions, nothing feels better.

1. Sizing Up Situationships

If you’re asking yourself “what’s a situationship?” because you’re stuck unknowing what the future is with the person you’re seeing or sleeping with, you’re likely in that type of arrangement. Though it might seem flexible and fun, situationships can often feel frustrating as they don’t answer commitment-based questions and are implicit forms of casual dating. Plenty of people prior to becoming more serious land in the situationship territory, and it’s up to them to determine if they want to move forward, keep things the same, or let go. And if you’re sleeping with more than one person because you’re in a situationship, then it’s best to let all parties know the truth.

To elaborate more on that piece of advice, read How To Go About Sleeping With Multiple People Safely for more solid information and helpful insights.

Two men holding hands and smiling while sitting on an outdoor deck.

2. Situationship vs. Friends With Benefits

While a friends with benefits arrangement is more set in stone, situationships are a grey zone. Typically, all parties know the boundaries when entering a friends with benefits scenario – usually by way of making it clear that serious romantic feelings for one another aren’t going to happen. A situationship is virtually stripped of boundaries and feels like an ongoing loop of mixed emotions. But when having sex with a friend, for example, there are often more set rules to begin with in order to preserve the friendship (even if the sex stops). Situationships, like being friends with benefits, aren’t exclusive but they can make people involved feel in limbo.

3. Situationship Signs To Watch For

Though the signs of a situationship will look different for every pair, there are certain patterns to watch out for in order to either close or continue this type of relationship. Those common signs include (but are not limited to):

  • Feelings of instability – if the connection seems great but there’s a general feeling of lightness and unseriousness
  • No talk of the future together – if it feels purely physical and casual without any real plans for what’s going to happen down the road
  • Emotions aren’t present – if it’s more superficial or strictly about sex, and the other person doesn’t ask you many questions or seems disinterested in your life
  • There’s no set schedule of seeing each other – if it feels inconsistent and there’s never any real urge to get together after time has elapsed
  • It’s convenience-based – if the priority to see each other is rooted in spur of the moment interactions
  • You’re both seeing or hooking up with other people – hey, it could be an open relationship expressed from the jump but, if it isn’t, then you’re likely not their #1 person and vice versa
  • You don’t go out in public together or go on dates – if the only time you happen to see each other is in the privacy of one of your places
  • You don’t celebrate milestones together – if you’re not present in each other’s big events and aren’t really showing up for each other in general

Man in wheelchair candidly explaining situationships to a woman on a bench.

4. Situationship Rules To Remember

While there may feel like there’s no rules in a present situationship, there are underlying orders that come about. A few of those include:

  • Mutual respect – even if it’s not an emotional situation, there has to be a level of care at play and an understanding that you made a choice to spend at least some time together (intimately or otherwise)
  • Situationships aren’t dating exclusively – unless discussed, there’s no certainty that you are strictly seeing one another until it’s out in the open and verbally addressed (we recommend having a truthful conversation with them, so your emotions aren’t compromised in the long run)
  • It’s usually a short-term thing – situationships sometimes fade away faster than the sun sets, so it’s important to remember that what’s happening in the moment is very rarely permanent

5. Pros vs. Cons

Now that you know what a situationship is, it’s time to figure out whether you’re happy with one. The pros are that you can date casually and date around without committing with your whole heart, and a situationship works when you have more important things going on in your life and have little capacity for exclusivity. The cons are that imbalance can exist. For example, if one person catches feelings for the other and it’s not reciprocated then stress, games, and heartbreak can occur. It’s best to prioritize open communication throughout. There could be room for a non-monogamous situation to come from it if everyone is in agreement!

For more on that, check out What It Means To Be In A Non-Monogamous Relationship.

Person resting their hand on another person’s shoulders while smiling outdoors.

That’s The Situation

After knowing the rules and signs of situationships, it’s yours to discover whether or not you’d be happy in one. Always remember that no matter what relationship you choose to be part of, all types should be built on honesty and mutual satisfaction. That sort of situation is always sexy.

To learn more about being there for someone you’d want to take things more seriously with, watch the Importance In Showing Interest In Your Partner’s Interests.


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