A situationship is an undefined romantic relationship that happens somewhere between a committed relationship and a casual hookup. We have no obligation to share too much and we may need to hold all the vulnerable back; which can trigger the other person to be anxious and frustrated. However, these label-free relationships are not inherently bad, situationships can be a freeing way to explore connections without the need to turn them into long-term or serious relationships. It can empower us to take time to get to know the person and to centre ourselves. Situationships can turn toxic when we are not clear on what we are looking for; either just someone to casually hang out with for the time being or a romantic relationship later down the line.
Situationships are usually relationships without clear intentions or end goals between partners and normally start without defining the relationship. Defining the relationship is actually a key part of establishing a middle ground between us and our partner. It allows both parties to enforce boundaries, whether physically, emotionally, or sexually. Besides, this also allows both parties to share goals in the relationship. The existence of a situationship is more likely when one person in the relationship is ready to commit but the other person is not. He/she might not be ready to define the relationship status or may still be exploring other relationships with other people.
- Endless dating options.
The dating application contributed to this reason as people can have endless choices and options with the apps.
- Commitment issues.
He/ She might have some commitment issues to start a romantic relationship.
- No long-term future.
He/ She does not perceive this relationship as something long-term.
- Looking for a casual relationship.
The intention of the relationship is always casual and not ready for a serious relationship.
Common Rules in Situationships
Below are some of the unspoken and typical ground rules of a situationships:
- Situationships are normally temporary situations.
Situationships tend to be feelings in nature and both parties agree to intentionally ongoing the relationship is ambiguous. Both parties have the opportunity to opt in or opt out as the situationship evolves.
- Not exclusive until we and our partner discussed it.
We will need to be clear about our needs and wants in the relationship by discussing them with our partners.
- Usual relationship expectation doesn't apply in situationship unless discussed.
The availability and transparency in a normal relationship are not usually present in this situation. Talking about the future together, meeting friends and family and regular communication are not typical features in situationships.
- Caring about each other.
Although situationship is about independence and autonomy, there is a certain responsibility that comes with being intimate with someone. We might not be technically dating, but we still can exhibit care toward our partner.
When does a Situationship becomes toxic?
A situationship can become toxic when we are not on the same page with our partner. This might lead us to feel lonely in the relationship. This can increase toxic behaviours and game-playing as we will try to look for some reaction. This will look like withholding information or being passive-aggressive and we don't feel like we are being valued the way we want. This will lead to the feeling of stress which might be harming our mental health.
Both of us can have feelings for each other but there is something that gets in the way of defining the relationship. We might feel stuck between the physical and the feeling and also confused about why it hurts so much and unsure of what we have lost. Seeking help from therapy can heal, strengthen, and aid in recovering us from the relationships.
How Therapy can Help with Relationship Issues?
Below are some key effects of how therapy can help with our relationship issues:
- Able to know ourselves on a deeper level.
Therapy gives us a safe place to express ourselves and get to know ourselves more. Besides, we are also allowing our partner to get to know us more intimately.
- Mastering our emotions.
Therapy can help us to be consciously aware of our emotions. We can empower ourselves to think before we respond to the situation instead of leading by the first emotional thought.
- Improving communication skills.
The main key to a relationship is always communication. Therapy can help us to discover whatever that's preventing us from being able to communicate honestly and kindly with our partner and heal it together.
- Learning new techniques such as arguing with respect and forgiving.
Therapy can help us to recognize personal triggers and provide new insight to us. We will be able to learn new techniques to have healthy disagreements and learn to forgive. Learning to forgive is about emotionally letting go of what happened so that it doesn't become a weapon in future arguments or discussions.
- Build confidence.
Therapy is able to help us to build self-esteem by teaching us to set healthy boundaries, be our trusted selves in and outside of our relationship, and see ourselves in a more uplifting light.
- Inspiring us and our partner to grow.
Stigma and hostile perspectives of seeking help from professionals are still a norm now. We might be drawn to couples therapy but our partner is not ready for it. We may start going to individual therapy to get some insight from the therapy and inspire our partner to start going as well.
Seeking help from a therapist can be useful at various stages. The therapist can help to identify attachment and emotional barriers that prevent us from identifying and addressing our needs. Therapy can provide a safe and non judgemental space for us to explore our feelings and concerns related to the relationship and offer support and guidance in navigating the situation. It is important to prioritize our mental health and well-being to build and maintain healthy relationships in all areas of our lives.
To learn more about Couple Therapy, you can read through the blog here.
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