Let’s talk about the situationship

I’m a meet-cute kind of girl. In every rom-com movie or young adult book, there’s always a guy and a girl in an ordinary setting — both total strangers. They meet, and then they’re instantly in love.

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Senior Graphic Artist

Those books and movies shaped my idea of love and made me believe that all I need is to find “the one,” and then I’ll be set for life. Well, that was how I felt at 13. 

However, since I started dating, I’ve changed my standards of what a relationship is. Each time I see someone new, my concept of a significant other gets further distorted. 

Now that I’ve been single for a while, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my past relationships. It turns out not a single one meets the rom-com relationship criteria, and all seem to fall into the “situationship” category. 

Let me break that term down for you. 

A situationship is a relationship without a label. Therefore, there are no commitments in any form. One does not have to be exclusive, go on cute dates or have any expectations held to them because — technically — they’re not dating. It’s easy to ask for a hook-up instead of fulfilling any partner roles.

Like “going steady” in the 50s, the situationship is a cultural phenomenon. Before the 50s, there was only one form of relationship — dating for marriage — which was the norm. But then the term “teenager” was formed, leading to many different activities for this specific age. 

This could mean dating in high school or college when they’re not necessarily “the one.” It was an abrupt transition from the past of only serious relationships, but because it became a cultural thing, it felt like an obligation to participate. Otherwise, you’re an outcast who isn’t doing what the other kids your age are doing.

This is easily connected to today’s “situationship.” I hope that in 50 years, we will look back on this and mark it as a weird part of our history. Putting myself into this moment, I have participated in the situationship because I feel it’s the norm. 

The idea of being a romantic and looking for something serious is weird in our generation, at least not until later in our lives. So I allowed myself to experience a situationship because I did not want to lose them. It feels like in this world, it’s situationship or alone forever. I was left unsatisfied with each occasion. 

But — like always — there are exceptions to the rule. Think of all the happy couples out there that we know and love. A few of my friends are in happy relationships. I do not deny that it’s a lot harder to find, and chances are that we have to sift through people until we truly get what we want. 

But my point is you don’t have to be in a situationship just because it feels like it’s your only choice. You can be in a situationship if that’s what you’re looking for. 

However, I’m not a fan of it since it usually leads to miscommunication, unfulfilled expectations and the inability to express anger about anything because — technically — you aren’t dating. You don’t have to conform to the modern “going steady” concept out of guilt or fear of being alone. It’s better to be alone than to be in a situation where you aren’t getting what you want. 

So think about this next time you’re in the talking stage. Express what you want and have the conversation. If your values and needs don’t line up, then move on! You don’t have to follow the cultural norm. You can be the exception to the cultural norm. 




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