How To Navigate A Situationship
Dive into the nuances of navigating a 'situationship' with our insightful guide. Uncover valuable tips on communicating, setting boundaries, and understanding your own needs in undefined relationships. Learn how to navigate the ambiguity, cultivate clarity, and make informed decisions for your emotional well-being in the ever-evolving realm of modern dating.
By Grace Freeman / Dec 23 2023
In the perilous world of dating, there can be few things as confusing and exhausting as the amorphous situationship: a heady dance of sex, connection, romance – without long-lasting commitment or progression.
For some, a situationship can work. It allows enjoying of the present moment, an opportunity to explore and embrace new experiences, and the chance to figure out what we want or don’t want from potential partners without the pressures of a conventional relationship.
For others, it can be a much tricker space to sit in. What might start out as a casual, no-strings-attached dynamic can very quickly invite in unreciprocated feelings – particularly when so many of its elements are a mimicry of a monogamous relationship without actually being that.
So, how can we navigate through the anxiety and discomfort that an ongoing situationship – and the end of it – can bring?
honour your boundaries (+ don't be afraid to communicate them)
No one can advocate for you like you, so make sure you’re clear about what you want and expect from your intimate relationships. Be honest with yourself, as much as with the other person: if you know that you ultimately desire commitment, then it’s on you to express that – and sooner, rather than later.
Know what matters to you, communicate it, and don’t dull your own desires to accommodate someone else’s. If they’re unable or unwilling to meet you where you’re at, then it’s important to recognise that they’re not the right person for you, even if it hurts.
stay realistic about the situation
When you start to feel attached to someone, it’s all too easy to paint them with a rosy glow – particularly when you haven’t had much time to really connect or to get to know them on a deeper level. You ignore the warning signs, excuse the bad behaviour, and latch onto the hope of what you want to happen, based on all the good parts presented to you so far.
In the early stages of dating someone, it’s important to not lose yourself in the possibility of what your relationship with them could be and to see the situation for what it is. Let them prove themselves to you through their words and their actions, and don’t project your own feelings of potential onto them too soon.
use it to figure out what you like (+ don't like)
Regardless of how badly a situationship might end or how upset you might feel, there’s always some good to be gleaned from the experience. Through each tricky dating encounter, you’re learning more about what you want in a prospective partner and the things that matter to you in a relationship – and that’s a great thing.
Acknowledge the negatives and recognise the positives: realise what worked for you and understand what didn’t, pinpoint where you’re prepared to compromise and what you’re not willing to tolerate, and remind yourself of holding those all-important boundaries in place for your next relationship.
remember what you have control of
When a situation feels like it’s starting to slip from your grasp, it’s natural to want to regain control of it, especially when you’ve started to build a bond with someone. With connection comes attachment – and it’s comfortable to hold onto the longing of having this person in your life, even if they’re pulling away from you.
Remind yourself that the only real thing you can navigate in a situationship is yourself. Remind yourself that you’re not responsible for anyone else’s choices and that it’s not on you to convince someone else to choose you. Remind yourself that you can always choose you.
if it ends, reclaim your energy
There’s no set amount of time that it can take to heal from any kind of relationship – situationships included. When something hasn’t had a real chance to blossom into something more, it can be hard to detach from the unfulfilled what-might-have-been and to stop yourself from romanticising the lost chance for a partnership.
While it’s more than okay to grieve the end of something, try not to wallow in those feelings of sadness for too long. Pick up all that energy you were emptying into someone else, pour it back into your own cup – and know that when the right person comes along, they’ll be ready to fill it up for you, too.