How to tell if you're in a situationship

What, exactly, is a "situationship?" Does it mean you've had the bad judgment to become involved with trouble-prone ex-Jersey Shore star Mike Sorrentino? Let's hope not, for your sake and that of his wife. 

There's another type of "situationship," however, that is less about reality TV and more about reality in today's commitment-averse era. According to psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert (via NBC News), "A situationship is that space between a committed relationship and something that is more than a friendship." 

He goes on to explain that, unlike friends with benefits, there doesn't yet seem to be a general consensus on what, exactly, constitutes a situationship as opposed to any other type of not-quite-relationship.

Situationship signs and symptoms

NBC News suggests that one sign of a situationship may be the fact that it's just the two of you periodically hanging out. Your SO (Situational Other) makes no attempt to introduce you to their friends, much less their family, and you're really not a factor when it comes to planning their social life. Women's Health magazine also points out that, in a situationship, any plans the two of you make will tend to be very short-term. Weekends or holidays are not a given, and it's rare that you'll even know when or if the two of you are getting together more than a day — or sometimes even an hour — in advance.

Another typical aspect of a situationship is that conversation tends to stay on the shallow side. Not only is there never any talk of the future, but really, there's very little attempt to get to know you as a person. Your hopes, dreams, aspirations, what you want to be when you grow up? The situational partner really doesn't care. Instead, they just want to make small talk, or maybe dirty talk, since situationships are more likely to be all about the sex than any real emotional involvement.

How to move beyond a situationship

Cosmopolitan points out that situationships aren't always a bad thing, nor do they necessarily mean the two of you will never mean more to each other than a casual hookup. The situationship may be viewed as a way to build up to a relationship super-slowly, figuring out if you're all that interested in each other before rushing into putting a label on things.

If, however, you're feeling frustrated in your situationship and find that it's no longer filling your needs, you're going to have to pull up your big-person panties and speak up about it. As Heidi McBain, a therapist specializing in women's mental health, puts it, you'll need to "[b]e brave and transparent and initiate the dreaded relationship talk about where you currently are and where you would like to be, as far as an exclusive relationship with that person" — advice which applies to men as well as women. Ugh, scary stuff. 

Still, what's the worst that could happen? Sure, your SO could kick you to the curb, and that breakup can — and will — hurt to the point where you may feel like drowning your woes in wine and ice cream, but let's face it, you were never going to be happy with someone who would never appreciate you the way you deserve. Hang in there, and try to lay off the Ben & Jerry's — your real relationship could be just around the corner.