Author: Veronica Lichtenstein, LMHC
Jan 30, 2023
“Situationships are like a test drive. You wanna see if it’s a good fit before you commit.” – Unknown
Are you in a situationship? I’m hearing more and more about this type of “relationship” in my therapy room. In my conversations and other research, it is not clear who specifically coined the term “situationship,” as it has likely evolved through urban slang and popular culture. The term has been used in various forms of media, such as music, TV shows, and articles, for several years. But it’s not possible for me to say who used it first or who coined it.
A situationship is a type of relationship that is not defined by traditional labels or commitments. It is often characterized by a casual or undefined connection between two people, and may involve a range of activities, from hanging out to dating. The term highlights a wide-range of relationships, including romantic partnerships that are not exclusive, or that do not have a clear label or definition. Situationships can be romantic in nature, but they do not typically include the level of commitment or exclusivity that is present in more traditional relationships. They can be seen as a “gray area” between friendship and dating, and are often used as a way for people to explore their feelings and desires without making a long-term commitment.
It is difficult to say if there is a particular culture where situationships are more common, as relationship dynamics and trends can vary greatly from person to person and from culture to culture. Situationships can be found in different cultures, age ranges, and generations. However, some research suggests that these types of relationships are more common among younger people, particularly millennials and Generation Z. Additionally, some research indicates that situationships are more common among urban and cosmopolitan populations, as the fast-paced nature of city living may make it more difficult for people to commit to long-term relationships.
It is a generalization but some experts theorize that Gen Z may be more comfortable with situationships than with committed relationships because they have grown up in a time of increased societal and technological change. They have grown up in a digital age where social media, dating apps, and the internet have made it easier to connect with people and form new relationships, but also where the concept of traditional dating has evolved. They may have a more open-minded approach to dating and relationships and less pressure to conform to traditional norms.
Additionally, Gen Z may be more cautious about committing to long-term relationships due to the instability and uncertainty of the world around them. They may have seen the effects of economic recession, political turmoil and social changes and this may have affected their perspective on commitment. With the rise of the “hook-up culture” and the ease of access to dating apps, Gen Z may be more comfortable with casual relationships and less interested in committing to long-term relationships.
It’s worth hi-lighting that these are general observations and trends, and it’s not the case that applies to everyone or every culture. Not all Gen Z individuals think alike, and there may be many reasons why different individuals are more comfortable with situationships. People have different perspectives and preferences when it comes to relationships, and it’s important to respect that.
Here are five signs that may indicate a person is in a situationship:
Lack of commitment: Situationships are characterized by a lack of commitment to each other. There may be no clear definition of the relationship or a sense of uncertainty about the future.
Casualness: Situationships tend to be more casual than committed relationships. There may be less pressure to make plans or make the relationship exclusive.
Limited communication: In a situationship, communication may be limited, and there may be less of a desire to share personal information or feelings with each other.
No expectations: In a situationship, there may be no expectations for the future, and both parties may be more focused on enjoying the present.
No labels: A situationship is often not labeled as anything, and both parties may not be sure how to describe the relationship to others.
Please remember that these signs can vary from person to person and situationship to situationship, and one person may experience different signs in different situationships. It’s also important to note that a situationship is not necessarily a negative thing. It can work for some people as long as both parties are on the same page about the nature of the relationship.
Situationships can be beneficial because they allow individuals to explore and understand their feelings and desires in a relationship without committing to a long-term commitment. They can also provide a sense of freedom and flexibility, as both parties are able to see other people or pursue other opportunities while still maintaining a connection. Additionally, situationships can provide a way for people to get to know each other better before committing to a more serious relationship.
Situationships can also have some disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is that they can be emotionally confusing for both parties involved. Without a clear understanding of the relationship’s status or intentions, it can be difficult for both people to know how to act or what to expect from each other. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, uncertainty, and disappointment.
Another disadvantage of situationships is that they can be difficult to end. Without a clear break-up, it can be hard to know when the relationship is over, which can result in lingering feelings or awkward interactions. Additionally, since situationships don’t have a clear commitment, it can lead to one person wanting more than the other which can cause disappointment and confusion. In summary, situationships can sometimes be emotionally confusing, difficult to end, and lead to disappointment and confusion if one person wants more commitment than the other.
It has been used in pop culture and media, in song lyrics and TV shows, to describe a kind of relationship that people are having. As mentioned, the term “situationship” has been around for a few years, but it has gained more popularity in recent times. There are several TV couples that have been depicted as being in a “situationship” or a relationship that is undefined or casual. Here are a few examples of TV couples that would fit the bill:
On the television show “Friends,” Ross and Rachel’s relationship was often complicated and not always clearly defined. While they had a romantic history and many moments where they expressed their feelings for each other, they also went through periods of being just friends and being involved with other people. Throughout the show, Ross and Rachel’s relationship had several ups and downs and they had a number of breakups and reconciliations. They had many moments where they seemed to be on the verge of committing to each other, but they also had many moments where they were unsure of their feelings. It can be argued that Ross and Rachel’s relationship was not a clear, committed one. While they loved each other, they were not always able to make a commitment, and they were not always on the same page when it came to their relationship.
Jim and Pam, characters from the popular television show “The Office,” were in a “situationship” at first because their relationship was not clear and defined. They had a strong connection and chemistry from the start, but they were both in relationships with other people when they first met. They also had to navigate their professional relationship while working together in the office. Throughout the early seasons of the show, Jim and Pam’s relationship was primarily based on flirtation, but they were unable to fully act on their feelings due to their respective relationships. They also had to navigate the dynamics of the office and maintain a professional relationship, which made it difficult for them to fully commit to each other. It wasn’t until later seasons when both Jim and Pam are single and the situation allowed them to start dating that their relationship turned into a more defined and committed one.
It is possible that more people are choosing this type of relationship, although it is difficult to say if situationships are currently a trend, as relationship dynamics and trends can vary greatly from person to person and from culture to culture. The term “situationship” is not a new concept, but it has become more popular recently and is used more frequently in media and pop culture; perhaps because it describes a way for people to explore their feelings and desires without making a long-term commitment. However, many people still prefer traditional relationships, where there is a clear commitment and exclusivity. It’s important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another, and everyone should make their own choices about what kind of relationship works best for them.