How To Navigate Situationships: Don’t Play Yourself.
Written by Nailah Spencer, November 27, 2020
As a 24 year old woman, I’ve only been in two committed relationships, but I’ve experienced more heartbreaks than I’d like to admit. Some of the heartbreaks I went through were with guys that weren't actually my boyfriend. We were in what I like to call “situationships”. You know, where there isn’t a real title to what you and your “significant other” are doing, but it feels like a relationship. It’s a romantic or sexual relationship that isn’t considered formally established.
These kinds of relationships have been some of the hardest heartbreaks for me to get over for a number of reasons. First, I felt like I played myself. (Hence the title sis!) I gave my time, energy and body to someone without any real commitment, knowing I would prefer to be in a relationship. Second, I felt like I wasted time I could have used focusing on myself or even building a relationship that would go somewhere with someone who actually valued me and would commit to me. Third, I ended up being hurt in the end and I had no one to blame but myself. I couldn’t say I was going through a “break up”, because I wasn’t in an exclusive relationship to begin with. I felt silly.
Most of these uncommitted relationships I’ve been in were while I was in college. Now that I’m a year and a half post grad, I’m no longer interested in being in relationships that make me question myself or the person I’m supposed to be dating. Now don’t get me wrong, “situationships” aren’t always a terrible thing if you and the individual you’re involved with are on the same page. For example, the person I was seeing a few months ago made it clear he wasn’t looking for a relationship when we first met and I agreed that I wasn’t either, but at a certain point my mind changed. Instead of creating boundaries or ending things, I decided to go along with our original expectations. That’s what we call a NO NO. Now, follow me as I give you some tips and tricks of navigating dating without a commitment.
Am I already in a situationship? Here are the signs.
There are no concrete plans about the future. You all don’t talk about the future of your relationship. When plans are brought up about school, work, etc you are not in them.
You haven’t defined the relationship. You all aren’t actually committed to each other. The two of you just have an “understanding” of the relationship. It isn’t clear on whether or not you’re seeing other people.
Your plans/ dates are sporadic. You all don’t make plans for dates. You often meet on the spur of the moment or make casual plans.
You haven’t met his/her family or friends. You all mostly spend time just the two of you. You haven’t met each other's families or friends. If you have met them, you’re introduced as a friend.
The relationship has no substance and seems contingent on sex. You all spend time together and have conversations, but they seem to be surface level. When you all spend time alone it usually turns sexual.
How do I know if a situationship is for me? Not every person you meet and befriend has to be your significant other or spouse. Depending on where you and that person are on your individual journeys, can determine what the relationship will be. For example, If you have a job that requires you to travel a lot and you aren’t actually living in one area, but you are still looking for “companionship” without a real commitment. Then casually date if you want to! You obviously don’t have to be in this specific scenario. I’m just saying determine your individual goals and then, if you’re interested in meeting people, then make your intentions clear. You also want to make sure you and that person are communicating on changes, so no one is blindsided. Personally, I’m a “wear my heart on my sleeve” kind of girl so these things don’t work for me, but if you are disciplined and don’t catch feelings easily, then do what works for you.
I fell in love with my sneaky link. What do I do? Chileeeee, I’ve been there before and I feel for you. With all seriousness, the best thing to do is be honest with that person. If you feel like you’re starting to develop feelings and you’re interested in taking the relationship to the next level, then let them know. This gives them a chance to share how they’re feeling and then you will know how YOU need to move going forward. If you all decide to define the relationship and actually commit to each other, then make sure you all are actually doing things differently. You all should really be making strides to treat it like a true relationship. Now, that was the best case scenario. Don’t expect them to run and jump in your arms and tell you they feel the same, because it doesn’t always work like that. The biggest advice I can give you is to be willing to walk away if the relationship is not serving you, and if someone wants to be with you they will. Don’t wait around for them to change their mind. No matter what category you fall under in a relationship, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself and the person you’re involved with. Oftentimes, people end up hurt because of poor communication, a lack of honesty and not being on the same page in terms of the expectations of the relationship. Remember three things: Be smart, be intentional and don’t play yourself!