Another day, another definition for a different type of non-committal relationship. Why do we do this to ourselves yet lament the lack of love?
Yesterday it was booty call, side-chick, friends with benefits and today it’s situationship! So what is it?
A situationship is actually a sorta-kinda relationship without the definitions, boundaries and expectations of one. It’s super vague, undefined and doesn’t have the same level of commitment as a proper relationship.
Some experts have actually laid the uptick of such “relationships” at the feet of hookup culture and online dating. Because of the illusion of choice, where we feel like we’d always have someone else on another swipe. And I can’t say I disagree.
Situationships are fun when you aren’t looking for anything serious. But it always becomes a problem when one partner (and it always happens) catches feelings and wants something more serious than what the other partner is willing to give.
How does a situationship affect you? What are the psychological effects of situationships?
I’ve had people lament why situationships hurt so much and if it’s possible to be mentally and psychologically traumatized by a situationship.
Absolutely. Situationships are basically you choosing to be with, spend time with and invest emotions on a person who actually doesn’t really want you or want to commit to you.
It’s basically just choosing to be rejected and abandoned. Let that sink in for a moment. It perpetuates any relationship-related trauma and self-worth issues that you’ve already had. Here are some common ways situationships suck.
#1 Affects your self-worth and self-esteem
Situationships eat away at your sense of self-worth and self-esteem. And usually the people that choose to be in situationships despite knowing they want true love deep down already are struggling with self-worth issues. They think this is the best they can get and that this is what they deserve.
Think about it – if you know you deserve to be loved and treated in an amazing way, you will never choose someone who can’t even bring themselves to be serious about you. Situationships make you feel worse about yourself by the time it ends.
How would you rate your self-esteem? Find out below!
#2 Damages your self-respect and any sort of respect & trust in your relationship
When you choose people who refuse to commit to you, you destroy any amount of self respect you might have left in yourself. Self-respect is all about treating yourself with love, care and kindness. It’s about knowing where your boundaries are.
Situationships are usually the opposite of care and love. There is a semblance of it but never substantial enough. A situationship is also an ambiguous entity where there the parameters of a relationship aren’t clearly defined.
Hence it allows for very disrespectful behaviour to occur, ie. cheating, stepping out on you to date someone else, two-timing, companionship with no desire of being serious and so on.
#3 Keeps you permanently in emotionally unavailable zone
Situationships are the definition of emotional unavailability. It’s actually the perfect sort of arrangement of unavailable people – enjoying all the perks of a relationship and the companionship of someone else, without ever being in one! How wonderful.
People who enter into situationships and relationships with emotionally unavailable people tend to hope they will change for the better, that they will suddenly wake up someday and choose commitment.
It rarely happens. Emotionally unavailability is usually a sign of some sort of carried over trauma from past relationships, life experiences or from childhood that gives a person a deep-seated fear of intimacy and commitment. They are afraid of people getting too close and hurting them, so their defense mechanism kicks in and they “save” themselves by not engaging emotionally.
If you are looking for deep intimacy and bonding with someone who can love you back, situationships are best avoided.
#4 It keeps you small and invisible.
Although you may feel like you are okay with a situationship, subconsciously your mind knows that you are not being “chosen” by your partner. That the boundaries of this situation is “blurry” at best. It chips into your sense of self and your self-worth.
Deep down it makes you wonder, what is it about me that is not making this person wanna commit? Am I not worthy of love? Well, when you think you aren’t, you will subconsciously choose partners that reflect what you think you deserve.
These behaviours and beliefs are like self-fulfilling prophecies, they reinforce what you already subconsciously think of yourself, making you feel rejected, small and invisible.
Are you good at sniffing out red flags in a relationship? Find out below!
What makes a situationship toxic?
#1 You are actually not in a relationship.
Relationships are defined by stability, communication, clear boundaries, reciprocity, predictability, and they come with a certain level of expectation as to how your partner should show up for you within it.
It is because of these ingredients in a relationship that give you the structure and the parameters for how to behave in one, and how to show up for your partner too.
But because you’re not really in a relationship, you cannot demand any of the above from your situationship partner, as yes you both are together but technically not together as well. So expecting and asking for ingredients that make up a healthy relationship can seem kind of odd.
#2 It keeps you in limbo
In situationships, there is no end-date, commitment, intimacy or progression. In normal relationships, there’s a sense of wanting to grow together, there’s progression and the couple may talk about the different milestones they want to get to in their relationship.
Whereas, in a situation-ship, it the progression comes in patches where sometimes you feel like you’re very close and other times you feel like you’re not too sure where things stand. It may also feel very fuzzy and quite ambiguous in terms of where it is heading to.
Sometimes, one or both partners may want to prolong this state of relationship limbo, because why do you need to work towards a true relationship when you get to enjoy the perks without the commitment?
#3 It perpetuates your feelings of worthlessness and other trauma you may have been carrying
People who find themselves accepting situationships sometimes overestimate their abilities of coping with the potential emotional fall-out as well as the ambiguity. Technically, as this isn’t a committed relationship, either partner can step out of the situation and date other people too.
The interesting thing about situationships is that people who already have low self esteem tend to find themselves drawn to them. But by being in situationships, it can deepen the low feelings of self-worth and worsen it.
Situationships can perpetuate a constant uneasiness and lack of psychological and emotional safety that comes with real relationships. It can dig up other attachment or relationship-related trauma from childhood or from your life in general, like fears of abandonment and rejection.
Need help and guidance to build up your self esteem? Grab my guide now!
#4 It leaves you feeling emotionally unfulfilled and keeps you away from finding true love
There is this constant emotional block in situationships where you are unable to get closer emotionally or even get proper emotional support from your partner (or expect it). Your actions may not be reciprocated or your partner may not be very responsive to your need for support.
Relationships are like opportunity costs as well. Each wrong entanglement you get yourself into keeps you away from the Right One. And staying in situationships are not only a colossal waste of time, but you are also investing your emotions and effort into someone that most likely does not want to really be with you (else they’d have already committed).
Life/the Universe matches what you put out. So if you are looking for love, but keeping yourself in a situationship constantly, then you are kind of telling the Universe that you are alright being treated this way and that you are perhaps not ready for true love. You will strangely constantly find yourself in and around dynamics and people that actually perpetuate this for you.
#5 It keeps you in a cycle of perpetual emotional unavailability and avoidant behaviour
Situationships are like the perfect breeding ground for people that are not emotionally available and who are also very avoidant. They get to enjoy the upsides of a relationship without really needing to commit or show up or share much of their lives/feelings. They don’t have to be present in any way and they aren’t expected to be anyway.
What attachment issues do people with situationships have?
Most of the people that actually really enjoy or gravitate towards situationships are people that are actually very avoidant in love. They don’t feel comfortable with emotional intimacy, and some of them may actually have legit deep traumas about being intimate with someone else, maybe because of something that happened before to them.
Instead of wanting to get close to people and get to know them, they avoid all of that because being honest and vulnerable and building intimacy with someone else is too scary. Sometimes, avoidant people hold deep rooted fears of being abandoned or rejected should they show their real selves to others.
People with anxious-insecure attachment styles may also find themselves in situationships because of certain kinds of trauma that have happened to them before. And the thing about anxious insecure attachment people is that they actually don’t really enjoy situationships. They are probably the ones that actually want better definition, more commitment, intimacy, trust and all of the ingredients of a healthy relationship.
But the way that they go about finding love is kind of faulty because of certain belief patterns and certain traumas that they haven’t healed from yet. They could also be attracted to emotional upheaval and be prone to over-analysing their partners’ behaviours, which can happen if they are in a situationship with an avoidant person.
Situationships can be mentally, emotionally and psychologically difficult on the two people in the relationship and are the anti-thesis of healthy love. If you find yourself drawn to situationships, it’s helpful to ask yourself:
Why do you keep choosing people that don’t really want you? People who know what they want and have healthier attachment styles don’t run away from love or treat someone they like with such ambiguity. Why don’t you want to be with someone who actually likes you?
Once you figure that out, you will start to find that situationships don’t attract you much anymore.