Written by: Ibbie Aromolaran, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
So you meet someone really special, and as time draws on, you begin to form a “thing” that resembles a relationship. You spend lots of time together. You only date each other. You get jealous of other people show interest in either one of you. You go through all the highs and lows of a relationship together. You have all the feelings and expectations of a relationship. You give each other boyfriend/girlfriend benefits. You may even fantasize about your future together. However, something is still amiss. You’re technically not together, and you’re “not allowed” to call that person your significant other.
Why? Because it’s undefined.
That, my friend, is a situationship.
The term “situationship” has been floating around frequently in the past few years and, in simple terms, has come to mean an undefined or uncommitted relationship. People get wrapped up in situationships to avoid commitment while still having the benefits of being in a relationship. Oftentimes one person is more accepting of this relationship structure than the other, resulting in many conflicts. One person wants to be in a committed relationship but pretends that he/she is okay with the situationship. In contrast, the other person basically runs the show and decides the relationship structure.
So how do you know if you’re in a situationship? I have compiled a list of signs you can use to determine whether or not what you have is happy, healthy commitment, or undefined struggles of a situationship.
One. No concrete talk about the future.
If you still have yet to have the dreaded “what are we?” conversation or whenever one of you brings it up, the other shuts it down, and you’re most likely in a situationship.
Two. You’re the one who always brings up the future or commitment.
Your faux partner avoids the topic of the future altogether. He or she may say things about the future to keep you around, but there are no actual concrete decisions made.
Three. They say they don't think labels are important.
This here is a major red flag. If someone is dating you and basically telling you that you are not meant to be dating other people, yet they won’t define the relationship, THIS IS A PROBLEM. And don’t tell me labels don’t matter, because they do. A person that truly wants to be with you will be proud to label you their partner, fiance, wife, husband, or soulmate PUBLICLY… which brings me to my next point.
Four. They don’t claim you publicly.
As I stated above, a person who truly values a relationship with you will want to shout it from the rooftops, want to share it with their family and friends, and make it be known that you are an addition to their happiness. Stop playing yourself with the excuse that he or she is a private person. This may be true, but not private enough to keep you away from important people in their life. They claim their job. They claim their car. They claim their friends. They claim their pets. They can claim you too.
Five. They say they just want to see where things go.
*insert violin sounds here* I’ve heard this one way too many times. People praise the phrase “going with the flow” as if it establishes peace of mind. It actually does quite the opposite. It leaves things up in the air and open for misinterpretation. Going with the flow is great. It’s fun. It’s exciting. But, if your goal is long term commitment or marriage and someone says they just want to see where things go with you, they are prolonging your heart’s desires, and you shouldn’t be tied down to their indecision.
When someone truly wants you, going with the flow isn’t an option. They will set the intention to be with you and take whatever steps necessary to get there- the same way they would with buying a house, buying a car, going to school, starting a business, or starting a family. You set intentions and plan for things that are important to you.
Six. They want you to commit fully to them while they do what they want on the side.
Oh, the infamous double standard. Often in situationships, the person who calls the shots is free to do whatever they want (including dating other people), while the other person gets scolded for even smiling in the direction of another man or woman. This usually results in gaslighting and blaming while the non-committed one suddenly becomes the victim, and you’re left feeling confused.
Seven. They don’t make intentional time for you (PLANNED OUT, THOUGHT OUT, INTENTIONAL TIME).
Netflix and chill, as they like to call it. You randomly happen to hang out with each other. 9 times out of 10, it’s on a couch, on a bed, or in a car. Your faux partner does not make intentional time for you. One because he/she doesn't want it to resemble a relationship too much and two, because he/she doesn't want to be seen in public with you... because they’re usually keeping their options open. Hate to break it to you. I’ll also add that when you mention date plans, they either flake or make an excuse.
Eight. You go days without talking to each other.
This happens a lot after the love bombing stage. They shower you with attention, affection, and time but as soon as you fall for it, they start withdrawing all those things. So, you may go days without hearing from them, and then they pop back in your life like nothing happened with some lame excuse. Beware of the lame excuses.
Nine. They make you feel bad for wanting more.
Whenever you bring up the topic of making things official, they may start to question you and say things such as, “What’s wrong with what we have?” “You don’t trust me?” “Why are you never satisfied?” These questions start to play on your emotions. You begin to feel guilty, and then you start doubting your own true wants and needs.
So yes, I know I made situationships sound horrible. Forgive me; I’m biased. However, there are times when situationships can work. If both you and the other person agree on the terms and conditions, if you have no ulterior motives about how you can convince them to change their mind and be in a relationship with you, if you are honest with yourself about what you truly want & a relationship isn’t it, then a situationship might work for you.
The main point is, to be honest with yourself. Establish what you want and need from all the relationships in your life, and be willing to let go of those who don’t align with that.
You deserve your heart’s true desires.
If you feel that you may be straddling the fence between wanting a true committed relationship or keeping a situationship alive to someone who doesn’t want to commit to you, head on over to my Instagram for more tips and support.
Ibbie Aromolaran, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Ibbie Aromolaran has a passion for guiding and empowering women to create the love lives of their dreams by letting go of toxic love and “situationships”. As a Mental Health Therapist turned Certified Dating Coach, she is dedicated to helping women uncover their deep-rooted barriers to finding and securing happy, healthy relationships. Through her signature coaching program ‘Sick of Situationship’ (SOS), Ibbie teaches women to heal the parts of them that have allowed mistreatment in relationships so they can build new, effective habits from the ground up... while filling up on self-love along the way! Ibbie’s goal is to use her doctoral research to spread awareness about the science of human interactions, toxic love, codependency, trauma bonding and more.