Signs You May Be Stuck In A Situationship

Gone are the days when a romantic relationship between two people had a formula: you meet someone, express interest in them, and then date them for a while before either committing to a long-term relationship or parting ways. In fact, with all the new relationship trends out there, the traditional model of how things work almost seems redundant. 

And while some of these newer trends can be suitable for you and your particular situation in life, some can feel downright frustrating. A situationship falls under the latter camp. Psychotherapist and author Jonathan Alpert defined a situationship to NBC News as "that space between a committed relationship and something that is more than a friendship." Are you thinking of the 2011 movie starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake titled "Friends with Benefits"? You are pretty close but there's a difference. A situationship doesn't really have the clarity of a "sex with no strings attached" arrangement. And there's also a level of emotional attachment. The entire situation is not clearly defined, making the person who wants more out of the relationship feel stuck. Situationships arise for a number of reasons, fear of commitment and having different goals being two of them. Timing can be another reason too.  

Do you fear you might be stuck in a similar situation? Don't worry. There are usually signs to tell if you're in a situationship. Here are some of them. 

What to look out for

The first sign is that it's difficult to define your relationship. This can become especially obvious when someone asks you about your dating life or partner. They might know that you're seeing someone but you won't be able to tell them what you have. Any attempts you may have made to bring up the topic with your partner would have been silenced with comments like "I'm not ready for a relationship," "We're just hanging out," or "This is just not the right time for me, work-wise," etc. 

Perhaps you yourself have avoided bringing up the topic for fear of rocking the boat. You enjoy the person's company and you want to spend more time with them so you're scared that they'll flee if you bring up the conversation about where your relationship is headed. But you have no idea if the relationship is exclusive or if they're going to commit to you down the line. 

Another sign, according to psychologist and relationship coach Dr. Antonio Borrello, is your partner won't add you on their social media, post photos with you, or tag you in any posts or pictures — meaning they clearly don't want the world to know about you. If they're evasive about you meeting their friends and family and shy away from discussing future plans with you, this is another signal that you may be stuck in a situationship. Contrary to what you might think, there are ways to get out of this. 

How to get out of a situationship

Before doing anything at all, it's important for you to dig deep and ask yourself what you want. Do you want to be in a relationship that isn't defined? Are you okay with them dating other people? If the answer is "no," then you're better off making a change. 

After all, you've been with this person for a few months now and it's time to have clarity. You're not going to lose anything you wouldn't have lost already by having the talk, according to Dr. Borrello. It can feel frightening knowing that confronting them could push them away but how long can you realistically stay stuck in this situation? You're going to need a bit of self-love and courage to ask the person directly what they want. If they're unsure, maybe you can ask them to take some time alone and figure it out. Try and keep your distance during this time apart. Relationship expert Susan Winter shared that a more empowering and kind way to do this is to paint a picture of what you want in a relationship and to give the other person a chance to assess how they feel about it. If they're agreeable to meet you where your needs are, then great. If they decide to cut and run, you're better off without them. 

Moving on after ending a situationship can feel difficult but it's a lot better than staying stuck in it and growing progressively unhappy.