You hang out a lot, have tons of sex, and act like a proper couple most of the time. However, you’re not official and have never actually defined the relationship, and when you try, they change the subject or say they’re happy with how things are going. Sounds like you’re in a situationship. It’s not ideal, especially if your goal is to find a serious long-term relationship. Assuming things don’t change between you, how long does a situationship last? Moreover, why are they so damn common?
How long do situationships last?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer because it truly depends on the people and the circumstances. Some situationships burn out naturally over the period of a few months while others can go on indefinitely, potentially for years. It’s down to what both parties are comfortable with or tolerate to shut things down when the arrangement is no longer working.
However, it’s worth nothing that most situationships tend to end sooner rather than later. That’s because the lack of definition often leads one or both parties to seek partners or relationships that can better meet their needs. It’s also possible that the laissez-faire nature of situationships will lead to a lack of interest or a fading of the initial connection that brought those people together in the first place. This can happen as soon as a few weeks in or take a couple of months to fully play out.
Why are they so toxic?
- It leads to resentment. When you put your all into situationships hoping they’ll turn into relationships only to get nothing in return, it’s no wonder you feel resentful. No one likes to prioritize someone who has you at the bottom of their list. It’s obnoxious and infuriating, to say the least.
- It keeps you from moving on and meeting the right person. While you’re hanging around hoping that this person will make things official with you, you’re missing out. The person who would choose you easily and without hesitation is out there waiting for you. You could be missing out on an amazing love while settling for a mediocre “like” from someone.
- You never know where you stand. They say they’re happy with how things are going and love being with you but they also don’t really want to be exclusive. What does it all mean? They’re into you, but obviously not enough to want to be in a proper relationship for you. This lack of clarity really screws with your head over time.
- You’re always disappointed. You hope with all of your heart that things will work out and they’ll suddenly come to their senses. However, with every passing day, that never happens and you just feel like crap. No one wins in situationships.
- It’s a waste of your precious time and energy. You have a lot going for you in life and plenty of other things you could be doing. After all, you have amazing friends, a supportive family, and a growing career. So why are you wasting your time on someone who will never commit? When it all ends, the realization that you’ll never get that time back hits hard.
- You feel like a failure when it ends. When it’s all over, you feel even worse than you do after a “normal” breakup. You wonder why you weren’t good enough and what was wrong with you. Plus, you’re embarrassed to admit that you invested so much in someone who gave you so little.
- It warps your view of relationships. If you get into enough situationships, you might legitimately start to believe that this is just how things go. You believe that people never commit, that you just float around in no man’s land forever and ever. That’s not true, and believing it is toxic.
- It damages your self-worth. Nothing makes you feel bad about yourself quite like having someone basically tell you (in so many words) that you’re not worth committing to. And while that’s not true, it doesn’t stop you from feeling that way after the situationship comes to its inevitable end.
Why do guys like them so much?
- They allow guys to have their cake and eat it too. The undefined nature of situationships mean that guys can treat you like their girlfriend and get all the benefits of a proper relationship without actually holding up their end of the bargain and offering the same in return. Great.
- They’re low commitment. You’re not an in an exclusive, monogamous relationship, so you can’t blame them for sleeping around and talking to other people. It’s not like they’re your boyfriend, after all! In the end, it’s the perfect way to always have sex and companionship on tap without doing anything to earn it.
- They require very little effort. Again, situationships aren’t relationships, and that’s why many guys love them. Boyfriends are expected to uphold certain standards as your partner. They need to provide love, support, affection, attention, etc. Situationships are much more casual and laid-back, so if you get those things, it’s a bonus rather than a requirement.
- They have a defense anytime you call them out on something. If you call a guy you’re in a situationship with out on bad behavior, he always has an answer: He’s not your boyfriend so you can’t get mad. While that’s ridiculous and your title (or lack thereof) shouldn’t matter, you’ll likely hear this pretty often.
- They never have to make their minds up about how they feel. Situationships exist in a sort of purgatory wherein anything goes. You’re still spending time together and “hanging out” but you’re not his girlfriend. As long as you let this go on, he’ll never have to either decide he’s super into you and wants to make things official or end things entirely. It’s a pretty cushy position to be in.
Why you keep ending up in situationships
- You don’t make your expectations and boundaries clear right away. This is a major mistake. You can’t say someone didn’t give you what you wanted when you never told them to begin with.
- You ignore red flags. People have certain “tells” that display what they’re all about and what you can expect from them. If you notice them but make excuses for them or write them of as no big deal, it’s no wonder you end up in situationships. Their flakiness, fear of commitment, and general lack of interest in relationships is clear from the get-go. It’s up to you to act on it.
- You accept the bare minimum. You get what you accept, simple as that. If you want more, you have to demand it.
- You don’t know what you want. If you’re honest with yourself, you might not even want to be in a relationship with your situationship partner. However, because you haven’t identified exactly what it is you are after, you can’t weed out what you don’t want.
- You think you’re better off in a situationship than alone. Loneliness sucks. So does being single when everyone around you appears to be coupled up. However, it’s always better being alone than with someone who can’t or won’t give you what you deserve.
How to avoid them altogether
- Be upfront about your intentions from day one. If they don’t like it, too bad. You’re there for you. You literally have nothing to gain by playing coy and everything to lose.
- If they’re not on the same page, don’t waste your time. If they say they don’t want the same thing or are hesitant about agreeing, that’s probably a hint that you shouldn’t go any further.
- Pay attention to progression (or lack thereof). If the person you’re dating claims to want a relationship but makes no moves to progress to that stage, don’t ignore it. While you don’t want to rush things and everyone goes at their own pace, there comes a time when enough is enough.
- Be okay with walking away. There’s no shame in admitting that a situation doesn’t work for you anymore. In fact, that conveys great strength and intelligence. Pat yourself on the back for knowing what’s best for you and ensuring you get it.