Don’t you love this modern world of dating where it’s normalized to commit to no one and treat everyone you date as just an option?
Gone are the days of virtue and valuing the family.
It’s a jungle out there.
And now we have a new dating term to familiarize ourselves with every other week. One of these terms is situationship.
A situationship is a relationship that isn’t defined and has no label.
Situationships exist in that awkward area between a committed relationship and something more than friends.
So if you’re seeing someone but have no idea what you guys actually are, or tend to tell others it’s “complicated” when they ask about the relationship, then you’re probably in a situationship.
Situationship Vs. Dating
The difference between a situationship and dating is this:
When you’re dating, you’re meeting each other regularly with the mutual understanding that it has the potential to lead to a committed romantic relationship.
However, in a situationship, you may act like you’re a couple, but neither of you are certain about whether there’s a future together.
Often you’re also afraid of bringing up the topic of a future or of having “the relationship talk”, because a situationship is such a superficial connection.
This superficial nature of things makes for a very weak foundation, hence situationships often hang by a string.
Kind of like if you so much as mention becoming more committed to each other, your “person” might disappear or flip it.
Essentially the relationship is so weak that it’s always at risk of being lost.
If that sounds somewhat stressful or toxic, it’s because it is. (Or can be).
Situationships Vs. Friends With Benefits
They might seem similar, but the situationship meaning vs the meaning of friends with benefits are very different.
In both of these relationships, you’re having sex. That’s the first thing to know.
However, the difference between situationships and friends with benefits is that when you’re friends with benefits, there are clear boundaries.
Namely, that you’re friends who use each other for sex.
You might also provide some company to each other, but the clear boundary in a friends with benefits relationship is that:
- You’re not going to commit to each other, and
- You’re not romantic with each other
Basically the understanding is that you’re both going to stay in each other’s friend zone, yet you have sex.
But with situationships, there are no communicated boundaries. You could have official feelings for each other, but neither of you are really sure of anything – or if you are an item.
Signs You’re In A Situationship
There are some telltale signs of a situationship. Let’s look at all the signs now.
#1: You Haven’t Defined The Relationship (DTR)
Or you notice that if ever you try to define the relationship, the guy tries to say he doesn’t like using “labels”.
This is the cardinal sign of a situationship, because that’s what situationships are: undefined relationships with no labels.
You may still have official or unofficial “feelings” for each other, but you may feel like the relationship is constantly in limbo.
#2: You’re Constantly Anxious
Another fundamental sign of a situationship is when you’re always anxious with this person or about this person.
You never know what you are to the guy, and nor does he seem to want to put your mind at ease.
You’re kind of expected to be ok with everything being constantly up in the air.
And you can’t ask him about what you are, because you’re afraid that if you do, it’ll complicate things even more.
Enter the endless cycle of anxiety…for you.
And perhaps for him too. But especially for you as a woman, because you don’t really thrive unless you know it’s a serious relationship.
Guys are often ok with situationships (when they’re not in love with the woman anyway), while women aren’t so much.
It doesn’t serve you as a woman, and you don’t have to tolerate a situationship.
You don’t have to be ok with it.
No matter how people try to look at it, a situationship is not a healthy relationship for a woman, unless she’s truly at a stage in her life where she is excited by (and thrives upon) a lack of seriousness and uncertainty in a relationship.
Even then, a friends with benefits situation would likely be even better for her, as at least it’s a clearly defined relationship.
#3: You Know You’re Not His One And Only
Chances are, if the guy is keeping things as a situationship, that means he’s not that into you, and you’re not his “one and only.”
Remember: there’s never an in between.
You’re either a man’s “one and only”, or his “one of many” woman.
It’s tempting to think that things are complicated in your case, but they’re not.
The fact is, if a guy is in love, he will despise a situationship. He will chase you down to define what you are.
So don’t buy into the idea that it’s just “complicated” or he just needs more time.
Maybe he does, but it’s not so he can commit.
It’s so that he can avoid dealing with your feelings for a little bit longer whilst still having access to sex.
If he lets things continue to be just a situationship, that means you’re in the “one of many” women category.
If you know my work, you’ll be familiar with this concept.
But if you’re not, it’s pretty simple:
For every man you date, you’ll be placed in either one of two categories.
- The one and only category; or
- The one of many category
Yes it is that simple.
Men will try to lead you on if you’re their one of many. They’ll keep you around for ten years, having you believe that someday they may commit.
And maybe they will – at least on the surface.
But it will never be the commitment your heart desires. It’ll be a commitment based on obligation.
So make it a point now to remind yourself that the only real commitment you ever want from a man is the type of commitment you get when you’re his one and only.
That’s the only commitment that’s truly worth coveting.
Always remember: if you’re in a situationship, then you’re in the guy’s one of many category, no matter how you (or he) try to twist things.
And if you’d like to ensure that you never end up in the one of many category with a man again, you can take one of my most popular online courses, “Becoming His One And Only”.
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#4: You Stick To Small Talk
…And dirty talk.
If your conversations revolve around….well, practically nothing, or nothing important and nothing that could cause anyone’s feelings to be brought to the surface, then you’re in a situationship.
#5: You Want To Share Your Real Self With Them But Can’t
Either because inside you know that:
- The guy doesn’t want to know, or
- Because you know that such authenticity will send him running
This is a very stressful and inauthentic place to be.
You want to be in a relationship where the guy knows you back to front, and takes pride in knowing you.
Yes, these types of guys exist. And they only exist when they’re in love with you. So that’s the type of relationship you want to aim for.
I know there’s pressure to accept less than that in this day and age.
In this day and age, everyone just seems to sort of be pressured to accept non committal relationships where you don’t really care about each other.
But it’s not good for your feminine soul. And it’s ok to want and need more than that!
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#6: You Never Know If (Or When) You’re Going to See Them
In a situationship, you don’t commit to each other and you don’t typically commit to plans with each other…unless they’re last minute plans.
Or short term plans.
And even then, there’s always this unspoken understanding that you can flake on each other.
So if Friday rolls around and you know there’s going to be no certainty that you’ll see each other on the weekend (again), then you’re likely in a situationship.
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#7: There Are Others In The Picture
If you sense or know for a fact that he’s seeing other people, and he doesn’t mind that you’re seeing other people, you may be in a situationship.
Since there’s no real commitment in a situationship, it is not unusual for many others to be (or come into) the picture.
But you guys never really talk about it.
#8: You Notice That Your Relationship Is Compartmentalized, Not Integrated Into Their Life
One of the key signs of a situationship is that you’re never integrated into each other’s lives.
For example, you never really meet the friends or know their family. You exist in a separate compartment to everyone else in their life.
#9: There’s No Natural Evolution Of Things
One red flag indicating a situationship is that there’s no natural evolution in the relationship.
In other words, there’s no real “firsts” in the relationship, such as:
- Sharing a secret with them that you don’t normally tell anyone
- Meeting each other’s friends for the first time
- Or visiting a novel place together
There’s no gradual escalation of things from dating and getting to know each other to being called “a girlfriend” and being introduced to the family.
There’s no discussion of what you guys are, and there’s no spoken or unspoken boundaries in the relationship moving forward.
It’s all a jumbled mess. You’re pretty sure that you’re not just a booty call, but you’re definitely not certain that the relationship is going anywhere.
#10: You’re Gradually Losing Interest
It’s natural to lose interest in an undefined romantic relationship after a while.
Things are meant to naturally escalate and become more exciting as you reach certain milestones in your relationship.
But since there’s none of that in a situationship, you will find yourself losing interest, no matter how hot they are.
#11: There’s No Emotional Connection
Without a deep emotional connection, what do you really have that’s of value?
Your love life is an area where you are supposed to have deep intimacy, shared vulnerability, and at least an attempt to be on the same page about things.
Without these things, you have no emotional connection and without an emotional connection, all you have is the vague possibility that you might have feelings for each other.
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#12: ….Or Emotional Attraction
That’s right, another defining factor in a situationship is that there’s no emotional attraction.
Or at least, the guy doesn’t feel emotional attraction.
Because if he did, you wouldn’t be so anxious and unsure of what you are.
Guys will make a (real) move if they feel emotional attraction for you.
They won’t be satisfied with the nonsense that is an undefined romantic relationship.
They will want to make you their girl.
#13: You Never Make Long Term Plans Together
…It’s all short term plans or last minute plans.
Because you’re not in a serious relationship and neither of you are keen to make it one, so all plans are short term or last minute.
Basically, you’re the fallback person.
Or you’re the distraction when things don’t go well with their first choice in mate.
Ok, maybe it’s not always that bad. Maybe your guy is just emotionally unavailable and can’t commit to anything, which is also possible.
Either way, if your relationship has never gotten past last minute plans or short term plans for the weekend which are made on Saturday morning, you’re in a situationship.
It depends on your values.
If you are someone who doesn’t mind the uncertainty of short-term pleasure in exchange for the possibility of long-term anxiety or pain, then they’re not always a bad thing.
If we all lived a short time, situationships may have more value.
But the fact is that humans live a long time, and deep in our soul we all crave something meaningful and longer term with someone who is committed exclusively to us.
(And not to us and a bunch of other people we don’t even know about).
Even if you’re the one with more so called “power” in the relationship (as in, you’re not falling for the other person but they’re falling for you), at some point you’ll have to break a heart and that can come with the heavy weight of guilt.
Either way, situationships are usually about taking what you can get from each other, so most of the time they’re a bad thing.
Especially if you’re a woman.
But women will inevitably develop feelings for a guy they spend time with, have sex with and have feelings for.
It’s best to keep that in mind, rather than being in denial about it.
The Pros and Cons of Situationships
I’m not one to say there are any pros of a situationship, especially not for women.
However, the truth is that there are definitely pros and cons to everything.
They may just be short-term pros.
Regardless, let’s explore the pros and cons of situationships now.
Pros of Being in a Situationship
Pro: Low Commitment
In a situationship, you’re essentially single, because the relationship isn’t defined and you have no label.
This is a pro because you may meet someone you really love (and who loves you back), and if that does happen, you have no responsibility to your situationship partner, so you can just leave.
I don’t consider this to be much of a pro.
I much prefer someone to commit to me (and me to them completely), but some people may find the low commitment factor appealing.
Pro: You Have A Backup Or Fallback Option
Since you’re free to date others as well, if someone else you’re dating loses interest in you, then your situationship is at least a fallback option.
I don’t consider this to be a real pro, as it’s the same superficial situation regardless.
None of these people in your rotation are committed to you, which isn’t great.
Pro: You Have No Responsibilities to Extended Family And Friends
One pro is that since you’re not really in a committed relationship, you have no responsibilities to their friends or family.
You don’t have to meet them, look out for them or take an interest in them.
Could be a pro if you’re limited on time or you just prefer to deal with as little people as possible in your life.
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Pro: Normal “Relationship” Expectations Don’t Apply Automatically Unless Discussed
Similar to low commitment is the fact that normal relationships expectations don’t apply.
You get the value of easy sex and company with no expectations upon your shoulders to bring anything else to the table.
Pro: You Get To Flirt With The Fantasy In Your Head
Yep, you get to flirt with the possibility of being together romantically.
There’s always the tension of “what if?”
What if he could love me more?
What if we could be an item?
What if he really does love me deeply, (and he’s just scared?)
Some women love the variety of emotions and the uncertainty that comes with a fantasy, and a situationship plays right into that.
That’s exciting for some women, and they may prefer this fantasy over the pressure of committing to something real.
But again, it’s just a fantasy, and it’ll likely never be anything more.
Cons of Being in a Situationship
There are a lot of cons for you as a woman.
I know there’s the risk of sounding “sexist” when I say this, but any dating situation that involves men committing to you less isn’t exactly a positive for you.
Unless you truly are just interested in the sex with the guy and absolutely nothing else.
But what kinds of women are really just interested in the sex and nothing else?
- Those with avoidant attachment
- Or those who are a lot older, are divorced, have already had a family and feel like they are at a stage in their life where that’s really all they need and want
- Perhaps also women who are transitioning from one long term relationship to another and can’t stand the thought of committing to anyone right now
Let’s go through the cons of being in a situationship:
Con: They Will Not Be Loyal To You
This is the worst con of all – they’re not loyal to you.
In this day and age, loyalty is the highest currency there is.
If you’re ok with spending your time on someone who is never going to be loyal to you, that’s your choice of course.
But it’s really bad for your feminine soul, and it’s really bad for your ability to believe in true love and in hope.
Just try not to complain when you get resentful over men not wanting to commit to you after tolerating situationships, because remember, you get what you tolerate.
Con: Their Time Will Go to The Highest Bidder
This one is obvious. Since they’re not loyal to you, their time will go to whomever is offering the best time that day or night.
So what you get to experience is the feeling of being second best, almost constantly, if you’re in a situationship.
If another woman offers a more fun time or something more exciting, he won’t choose you, because you guys essentially have no relationship.
Con: Your Self Esteem May Take A Hit
Following on from the last con is the lovely reality of consistently lowered self esteem.
Even if your self esteem is rock solid and you’re a woman with secure attachment style, it will take a hit, because we’re social animals.
We get feedback about our value through how others treat us.
So if you’re spending months or years in a situationship, that would be a lot of time spent in a relationship that’s hanging by a thread.
And a lot of time spent with someone who is probably always thinking the grass is greener elsewhere.
That’s just…bad. Bad for your soul, bad for your self esteem and all around pointless.
Compare this experience with being with a man who is so in love that he’s always putting you first.
He doesn’t think any woman could ever compare, and he’s loyal to you and only you.
He constantly wants to spend time with you, even if it means sacrificing his alone time or his goals.
Wouldn’t that be an entirely different experience?
One that would raise your self esteem constantly, and never have you wondering about your value or worth to a man?
Con: You’re Wasting Time And Soul Energy on The Wrong Person
The more time you spend on the wrong guy, the less time you give yourself with the right guy.
Because being with someone who doesn’t put you first wears away at your self esteem (as we just discussed).
And if your self esteem wears away enough, you will feel “less worthy” of a man who truly treats you well.
You may not even believe it exists if it were right in front of you!
Because this is what it’s like when you spend a lot of time in a toxic situationship.
Even if it’s not technically toxic, it still is, because they don’t truly value you.
Con: It’s Probably Just About The Sex For Him
If you’re in a situationship with a guy and he’s never been interested in anything more with you…then call it for what it is.
It’s just sex. Nothing more.
No, not even meaningful sex.
If it was meaningful sex, he’d at least feel some emotional connection and emotional attraction for you.
But if he did feel those two things, you likely wouldn’t still be stuck in a situationship.
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Con: You’re Compromising Your Soul Just For A Possibility
Your feminine soul thrives with a loyal, committed man.
It certainly doesn’t thrive where the man doesn’t care to permanently change your relationship status and take you off the market.
So if you say yes to a situationship, you’re compromising what your feminine soul wants just for the possibility of maybe-perhaps-I don’t know- being in a committed relationship with him one day.
Why Do Guys Like Situationships?
Why wouldn’t they?
They get sex without having to commit anything to you. Honestly, that’s like landing on a gold mine for some guys.
Guys only like serious relationships with the right woman, their one and only.
Anything less than the one and only and they will do the bare minimum just to “keep you happy” enough that you won’t run away or threaten to not have sex with them anymore.
(And yes, they really, really do like serious relationships. In fact, there are 3 great reasons why all men secretly love to commit.)
Can A Situationship Turn Into A Relationship?
Sure, it can.
But the question is, why isn’t it already a relationship?
Are you and this guy both avoidants?
Do you hate intimacy that much that you cannot even bear the possibility of talking about being committed to each other?
Or is it just an excuse for him to keep you around for sex?
If it’s the former, then you should really address your insecure attachment style. First take our quiz to find out what your core attachment style is.
Then try to heal and become more securely attached if you discover that you’re insecurely attached.
If it’s the latter, then it’s up to you whether you’re willing to tolerate just being an option or not.
In these situationships, your best outcome is to one day have the possibility of him committing to you, when he’s old enough that he thinks there will never be any better options for him around.
You can also find out how commitment-friendly your guy is by taking our free quiz:
It’s Not Exclusive Until You’ve Discussed It (And He’s Shown It With Actions)
Remember…you’re never exclusive with a man unless he’s explicitly expressed his desire to take you off the market.
…And backed it up with actions.
There’s really no value in sitting around waiting for a guy to hopefully want to be exclusive with you one day.
If he’s not wanting to be exclusive with you, then that’s fine. That’s his choice, and you don’t need to be desperate and try to hold on.
What is the worth in trying to hold onto the wrong guy?
Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
Connect deeper with her work through the social media links below.