Situationships may involve sex and romance, but they don’t have the trajectory to move forward to a mature, loving relationship. Think of it essentially as short-term dating without an agenda.
Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University in New York City, adds that situationships don’t have any goals, terms, or purpose.
“A primary reason situationships are formed in the first place is because of the uncertainty that comes along with hookup culture,” Hafeez says.
The catch-all definition of a situationship is an undefined romantic relationship, according to sex and relationship therapist Joe Kort.
“It isn’t given the same value or credit that a romantic love relationship would be if one is dating and looking for a permanent or long-term partner,” he says.
How to tell if you are in a situationship
Hafeez says a simple way to know if you’re in a situationship is if the relationship is undefined.
“Hookup culture has made defining relationships very confusing and stressful,” she says.
“If you have been seeing a person for a while, but haven’t had the ‘what are we doing’ conversation, then you most likely are in a situationship.”
Another red flag or sign of a situationship is inconsistency.
If you’ve been either hooking up with or seeing someone for a long time, but you never know the next time you’ll see them again, you probably are in a situationship, according to Hafeez.
How to end it
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to breaking off a situationship. If it isn’t working for you, stand up for yourself by telling your partner that you’re moving on.
The same goes if your partner wants to get serious and you’re not ready.
How you actually transmit this message — via text, over the phone, or in person — is up to you. For short, casual dating relationships, a short, to-the-point text message is usually fine.
If you feel disappointed that it ended this way, consider it a learning opportunity. Did the other person show signs that they weren’t interested in you from the beginning? Did you avoid expressing how you really felt?
Recognizing red flags can help you avoid falling into a similar situation.