Situationship

Situationship

Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

A situationship typically involves a dynamic where individuals engage in emotional and physical intimacy without officially labeling or defining their romantic connection. It typically lacks clarity and defined boundaries and may involve mixed emotions and uncertainty about the future.

What is Situationship?

A situationship is a non-committal relationship where two individuals engage in a romantic or sexual connection 1 Wesche, R., Claxton, S. E., Lefkowitz, E. S., & van Dulmen, M. H. M. (2018). Evaluations and Future Plans After Casual Sexual Experiences: Differences Across Partner Type. Journal of sex research, 55(9), 1180–1191. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1298714 without the commitment or expectations of a traditional relationship. The signs of situationship are characterized by ambiguity and a lack of mutual agreement on the nature and expectations of the relationship.

While they may involve elements of a traditional romantic relationship, such as spending time together and being emotionally involved, they often lack the commitment and exclusivity typically associated with a committed partnership.

Research survey reveals that 43.10% think 2 Dubé, S., Lavoie, F., Blais, M., & Hébert, M. (2017). Psychological Well-Being as a Predictor of Casual Sex Relationships and Experiences among Adolescents: A Short-Term Prospective Study. Archives of sexual behavior, 46(6), 1807–1818. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0914-0 situationship is probably a testament to the pragmatic approach of the current generation. For example, two individuals might spend a significant amount of time together, engage in intimate activities, and develop a strong emotional bond.

However, they may refrain from defining the relationship, avoiding labels such as boyfriend/girlfriend or officially committing to each other. This lack of clarity can lead to confusion and emotional turmoil.

Signs that someone is in Situationship
Signs that someone is in Situationship
Situationship vs Friends with Benefits
Situationship vs Friends with Benefits

How Situationship Impacts Mental Health

The cyclical nature of a situationship can contribute to various mental health 3 Shah, Anisha. (2020). Relationships and mental health. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343627512_Relationships_and_mental_health functioning, such as:

  1. Constant worry, and restlessness as symptoms of anxiety related to the future of the relationship.
  2. Feel lonely, isolated, and lacking companionship due to the absence of clear commitment and emotional support.
  3. Feelings of being undervalued or lack of self-worth due to the absence of validation in the relationship. 
  4. Difficulty trusting others and forming secure attachments in any relationship.
  5. Feelings of guilt due to engaging in physical intimacy, where expectations and future consequences are unclear.  

Read More About Separation Anxiety in Relationships Here

Situationship Psychology

The psychology behind situationships is multifaceted and influenced by various factors 4 Choudhry, V., Petterson, K. O., Emmelin, M., Muchunguzi, C., & Agardh, A. (2022). ‘Relationships on campus are situationships’: A grounded theory study of sexual relationships at a Ugandan university. PloS one, 17(7), e0271495. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0271495 , such as: 

  1. Fear of commitment as some individuals may not prefer to take the pressure or responsibilities of a committed relationship.
  2. Past experiences of heartbreak, betrayal, or failed relationships can make individuals hesitant to fully commit.
  3. The fear of rejection can lead individuals to settle for a situationship rather than pursue a committed relationship.
  4. Busy schedules, career demands, or other life priorities can make individuals opt for situationship.
  5. Peer influences can shape individuals’ preferences for situationship as a more acceptable or trendy relationship choice.
Pros and Cons of Being in a Situationship
Pros and Cons of Being in a Situationship

How to Get Over a Situationship?

Here are some suggestions 5 Kansky, J., & Allen, J. P. (2017). Making Sense and Moving On. Emerging Adulthood, 6(3), 172–190. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696817711766 on how to get over a situationship:

  1. Consider taking a break or creating physical and emotional distance from the person involved in the situationship.
  2. Think about what you truly want in a relationship and what aligns with your values and needs.
  3. Identify your triggering points that prevent you from settling into a full-fledged relationship.
  4. Establish clear boundaries based on your comfort level and be prepared to walk away if the situationship no longer serves you.
  5. Try to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process, and allow yourself to heal at your own pace.
  6. Prioritize self-care activities such as reading, painting, gardening, and playing an instrument.
  7. Try to avoid overthinking and getting lost in hypothetical situations or “what if” scenarios related to the situationship.
  8. Spend quality time with loved ones and friends.
  9. Seek professional help or support when needed, such as therapy or counseling, to address any emotional concerns.

Takeaway

A situationship is characterized by a lack of clarity about the nature and future of the relationship, often leading to confusion and uncertainty for those involved. It’s important to recognize the potential signs of situationship, and the negative impacts on mental health. Consider seeking support, setting boundaries, and pursuing healthier relationship dynamics for improved well-being and mental health functioning.

At A Glance

  1. A situationship is a non-committal relationship where two individuals engage in a romantic or sexual connection without commitment for the future.
  2. It is characterized by ambiguity, uncertainty, and a lack of mutual agreement on the nature and expectations of the relationship.
  3. Situationship can affect mental health functioning, such as anxiety, stress, depression, and difficulty in trusting others.
  4. Fear of commitment or rejection, busy schedule, and peer influence can work as the factor behind situationship psychology.
  5. Creating distance from the person, reflecting on one’s own needs, setting boundaries, and spending quality time with loved ones can help to get over a situationship.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between situationship and dating?

The key difference between a situationship and dating lies in the level of commitment, clarity, and mutual understanding of the relationship.

2. What is the difference between situationship and a relationship?

A relationship is a committed and exclusive connection between two individuals, while a situationship is a more ambiguous and less defined form of connection, lacking commitment and clarity.

3. What is the cause of Situationship?

Situationships often stem from a prevalent fear of commitment, as individuals desire the emotional and physical intimacy of a relationship yet hesitate to fully commit for the long term.

References:

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