Situationships. It’s that whole ‘we’ve been sleeping together for a while, may have romantic feelings towards one another, but definitely aren’t, ‘together’.’ It’s the relationship that isn’t a relationship at all.

They’ve become a dating trend for me over the past seven years and I’ve found it a destructive situation. But apparently these situations are also a post covid dating trend. Dating app Hinge, found that a third of all their users had been in situationships for over a year. All I can tell you is, the situationship is messy AF.

The undefined relationship

I thought I was okay with situationships when I started dating in my early 30s. I mean after a divorce, casual laid back non-committed dating felt like a good fit. And situationships work really well for your right now, especially when you haven’t figured out exactly what you want for the future. So it was nice to date casually, not feel any pressure and go with the flow. And dating nowadays kind of has that feel to it anyway, more of a ‘flow’ based approach as opposed to when I was in my teens and it was always a linear date, become exclusive, define relationship, marriage, kids, dog, etc.

Seven years later, I’m not as enthralled with situationships as I once was

Because all in all, they’ve felt really superficial. And now, hitting my late 30s, I do want a committed relationship, because I’m 7 years dating tired of semi-casual and casual – Maybe it’s because I’m that much older and just generally tired in every respect – my views on the situationship has changed. I want real connection, real emotion, real commitment, but situationships appear to still be the only god damn thing in sight.

What are we? Are we exclusive? What the hell is this?

And for some reason, even though my feelings on casual vs committed relationships changed, I kept accepting situationships. I sort of had this fear of addressing any ‘situation’ I was in. I didn’t ask questions because I was afraid of the answers.

Deep down I knew the situations weren’t long term. That it was nothing more than sex. A ‘like’ and not a ‘love.’ We weren’t ever going to get to fully ‘together’. I stuck with them anyway. Don’t ask the questions and you can avoid the trauma of the answer you don’t really want. But you can’t, not in the end.

A situationship never became more than a situation to eventually handle

I waited patiently for the dynamics to change, thinking, “I’ll give it one more month, six more months, I’ll give him a year, he’ll get to ‘girlfriend’, he’ll get to ‘in love’, he’ll make a commitment.” I mean how could it not? They seemed to be having a great time. Surely, the situationship would evolve to actual relationship!?

Seriously, they really don’t

Whilst you’re in agony struggling with the lack of definition, hoping that you’ll get some clarification at some point and wishing for something more. They, are just enjoying the ride. You’re fun. Easy-going. You aren’t asking QUESTIONS. This is one little comfortable bubble for them. My situationships were a fucking delight for the other person, and a whole hell hole of feeling pretty shitty for me.

And there ain’t nothing more self-worth depleting than waiting around on a situationship

Even though the situation really just threw me a whole load of emotional turmoil that brings you down and my self-worth was at rock bottom – who could blame it? I was settling for a nothing situation, instead of demanding even an ounce of clarification – I was accepting it. Favouring playing it cool, keeping totally chill, laidback AF, by not asking someone if they even really liked me enough to take the next step.

The whole situation devalues you. Because you wait for that person to fall in love with you, and take it as a direct insult to your value in the meantime. Every day, week, month that passes with all that hyped up, “Is this the day? Is this the moment he says I LIKE YOU!”. It’s battling a constant rejection. And I’ve ended up feeling really low thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”.

I mean honestly, I’m fucked up in a million different ways …

But there isn’t actually anything wrong with me in the literal sense. Like really I am loveable, likeable, etc, etc. The bit that was wrong was allowing the situations. Them not feeling a certain way shouldn’t have been the reason I let my self-worth get torn down – rejection is inevitable, it’s not a direct attack. But the lengthy situationship and allowing it to keep progressing with non-progression, that’s the shit that’s wrong. That’s the bit that’ll have you thinking you need to be funnier, prettier, even more agreeable, pleasant natured, sexier. Instead of seeing that you’re just amazing as you are, and it’s their loss they can’t see it or define the ‘situation’, so goodbye, farewell, sayonara.

But honestly, I’m now citing death to all situationships

I’m removing any situation that doesn’t have a label, full exclusivity, a WANT for all of me – not just a need of the empathetic traits – and a clear defined label. Because I’m thirty-fucking-seven. This shit is getting old. Situationships might be a trend in the modern dating world, and the Gen Z’s might love them, but for me, the reoccurring situationship just left my self-worth in ruin, and I’ve had to work on that daily to get it out the gutter.

Ending my situationship trend

Recently a guy I was dating told me I was what he needed, and it really hit a nerve. He didn’t say it in the way you imagine – the romantic, sweep you off your feet, can’t live without you kind of way – It was like matter of fact, “You are exactly what I need right now: Kind, caring, supportive.” And I just thought holy crap, I’m heading into situationship territory once again! Because that is where the trend of situationships has happened for me, I’ve been what past situationships have ‘needed’ too. It’s not the first time I’ve heard those words said in that exact way.

When someone’s dating me, I do really care and put a lot in, I have a very empathetic and supporting nature with a partner and to be honest, I’ve regularly put way too much into them and their needs than my own – this has also been, another self-reflecting learning curve – when the relationship didn’t even have a definition. And it’s not putting the care and support in that’s been my issue, it’s recognizing that I’m putting a lot of effort in for someone who isn’t even committed to me.

They get a lot for not much return their end and it’s been pretty one sided

I’ve stupidly settled for this balance in the past but I really am over the situationship. So when I ended things (yeah, I was triggered). He said he thought we had an okay thing, that he was happy to keep it casual and see where it went, that he didn’t think I minded that our meets were becoming less and less frequent, that nothing was progressing more than a once in a fortnight hook up after months of dating, that yes he didn’t feel anything deeply romantic for me but he was overall, happy with the situation to have continued.

And there it was. Tthe situationship from the other side; A perfectly casual scenario for them, but just another toxic load of feelings on board for me.

The Situationship ‘Grey area’

I get it, there is a definite struggle when dating to balance a relationship and everything else going on in life. We’re all busy, everyone is incredibly occupied with their own lives, I know this and I feel the struggle too. I know that it means a relationship seems too time consuming, and a situationship feels just right to fit into life. Because it’s that perfect balance between friendship and a relationship; hardly ever defined, a little bit of intimacy, companionship but no real commitment. It’s the dating grey area.

But if I’m dating, I’m dating for an actual committed relationship, now

Because the situationship has only ever provided me with surface level relationship needs; an occasional hook up, some daily messages, guaranteed but infrequent dates, that feeling that I’m ‘with someone’ – but you absolutely aren’t. A shit load of crappy feelings about myself, and a situation devoid of feeling safe and secure enough to be truly connected and intimate. And so my love affair with the situationship is done. Goodbye, farewell, sayonara.

I know it’s not me in myself now, I am not only fitted to ‘situationships’ and not ‘relationships’

Despite the repeated situations making me feel that way, I’ve realized that I am not only good enough for a situationship. But me allowing them; silencing my own wants, resisting the urge to demand intimacy and commitment from a person I’m officially dating in every respect including the important one – the label. That has been my issue. Because that is the part that tears you down by accepting bare minimum and convincing yourself that you are totally fine with it, when actually, you want and deserve way more than that. So it’s death to all situationships for me from now on.

What’s your take on the situationship? Do you enjoy the semi-casual situation, or is it death to all situationships?

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.