Signs That Your Relationship Might Be A Situationship


Signs That Your Relationship Is A Situationship


When asked the question, “are you in a relationship?”, one would expect a yes or no response. Well, a lot of times the response we hear is “It’s complicated”, and this shows that there are grey areas when it comes to relationships and status definition. Therefore there is a need for an evaluation, to be able to bring these shades into the light. By defining things, we can see them for what they are and are better positioned to make pragmatic decisions.


Complicated: a term often used when people do not know where they stand in a relationship. It is also used when a relationship is marred with lots of anomalies. It can be hard to define your status, when you’re not married, not in a relationship, and yet you can not say you are single and searching because you are in a form of entanglement. It’s just like a relationship purgatory, not in heaven and not in hell. Then you are most definitely in a ‘Situationship’.


Most times in a situationship, nothing is said but you find yourself caught in a quasi-romantic web. There are varied appearances and forms of situationships since it is not just one thing.


Situationship is an informal term coined to describe a broad range of complicated relationships. Let’s see a few definitions of this coinage.




A romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.


Marcia Newman, in her book, Five Gifts of Pro-Aging, defines it as a romantic or sexual relationship in which the parties involved do not clearly define their relationship as such, but for example, consider it “complicated” or friends with benefits-type situation.


Also, according to Lerato Tshabalala, in her book The Way I See It: The Musings of a Black Woman in the Rainbow Nation,

the thing about being in a situationship is that the rules of engagements are not spelt out, at least not in clear terms.


Signs that you are in a situationship


A situationship is not always negative as it can be a transition phase for couples still trying to figure out whether to move to the next phase in a relationship. In this case, both parties involved would need to be patient with each other. Yet that place of uncertainty or lack of definition is what makes it common with other kinds of situationships. However, here are some common complications that suggest a situationship.


  1. The “what-are-we” question still hangs in the air. No DTR (Define The Relationship) talk yet.


  1. No asking out of any kind. Just going with the flow.


  1. No talks about the future as a couple.


  1. No deep personal conversations, only superficial or peripheral conversations.


  1. No doing stuff or important activities together. No show of interest in the other’s business, dreams, passions and concerns.


  1. No official introductions to friends and family as a spouse.


7.No spark nor physical attraction.


  1. Third wheel. Someone else is in the picture.


9.No absolute emotional loyalty, even when there has been an official definition.


  1. Supposed spouse is already married.


Other Types



Is this a situationship? Perhaps and perhaps not. Yet it may be complicated since one is not divorced and yet not exactly still in a marriage relationship. However, what may exclude it from a situationship category is that it has a formally or generally recognized status, having a definitive term.



In this case, one or both persons are in a stage where they decide whether or not they would want to consider taking things to the next level. It may not have certain complications, but what makes it a situationship is the indecision itself, where they do not know yet know where they stand at that moment.


Friends with Benefit

This is where there is an agreement between both partners to satisfy certain mutual needs which are common to people in an actual relationship, yet without making the required full commitment. E.g, Sex, financial support, or other emotional needs.



An unplanned and sometimes secret romantic or sexual relationship outside marriage. In this case, the relationship between these secret lovers is just an entanglement as it is a complication with their marriage relationship which they consider a real commitment.


Why bother trying to define all these forms of relationship complications then? 


Lots of people have somehow settled for Situationships as the option slightly better than no relationship at all. Some hold on to this for fear of being single or alone. Half bread, they say, is better than nothing after all. For some, it is hope, hope that one day the situation would end up becoming a relationship.


Some others remain in situationships because they are not ready for commitment. Yet they consider it a way to simply eat their cake and have it. For them, it is a way of enjoying certain benefits derived from a real relationship. So they either strike a friends-with-benefits agreement, or they play the game of taking advantage of an unassuming partner, using them to satisfy a need emotionally, financially or otherwise.


Never presume you are in a relationship. Understand where you are at before investing emotionally, and if you choose to stay in a complicated relationship, at least let it be based on choice, with a healthy understanding of what it entails. Make sure you are secure and deliberate about it. It should not be out of being insecure, needy or naïve. Neither should it be based on the assumption or hope that it would end up in an ideal relationship. See it for what it is.


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