Mary Grace Garis   Mary Grace Garis

Are you in a relationship, or a situationship? Don’t fool yourself. Knowing the signs will guide your level of participation. The following is an excerpt of my interview with editor Mary Grace Garis of Well+ Good Magazine.  #situationship

Mary Grace writes:

Living and loving through a global pandemic has resulted in some unique new relationship dynamics. Some new couples have found themselves in turbo relationships, having gone from zero to 100 on the intensity scale in a very short timeframe; and others broke up, having found themselves in unintentional long-distance relationships. Many single folks have turned to video-call dating as a means to meet potential matches, and others just got super-close with their vibrator of choice. But the most nebulous romantic structure that’s be on the rise during pandemic times? The situationship, which is essentially a marriage of convenience that autocompletes the phrase, “Desperate times call for…”

Okay, so what is a situationship, anyway?

“A situationship is an undefined relationship where partners go with the flow and don’t label things,” says psychologist Paulette Sherman, PhD, author of Marriage and the Law of Attraction, and the host of The Love Psychologist podcast. “Often they don’t discuss their future, intermingle with family or friends, or have traditional dates. It is very present-focused and can often be based on their current situation.”

While companionship—undefined as it may be—is certainly a benefit of being in a situationship versus being alone, if you’re someone who tends to catch feelings like butterflies in a net, there can are also cons of the dynamic to be aware of. Situationships, after all, are inherently confusing. “The indefinable category of ‘situationship’ leaves both partners unclear as to how they should proceed with each other,” says relationship expert Susan Winter. “You’re left asking, ‘How much am I allowed to feel for you? Do I have the right to have expectations? And if I have expectations, what should they be? Is there a healthy bottom line’?”

But if you’re someone who doesn’t get emotionally attached, or someone who was never into labels anyway, this could certainly work for you. “For casual daters not wanting to be pinned down, this construct is a positive,” says Winter. “There is involvement, yet one may participate as much or as little as they like, and they’re excluded from all the undesirable duties required of [an official significant other].”

All of that makes sense, but how do you know if you’re in a situationship? According to Winter, there are a few telltale signs to look out for.

5 signs that indicate a relationship is really a situationship

1. You do not have an ‘all-access pass’ to your partner’s life, and vice versa

If you’re keeping things casual, both of you may have skimped on sharing essential and intimate personal details with each other.

2. You may have met a couple of your partner’s friends, but not their inner circle, and vice versa

And if you have met any of your partner’s people, it was likely unintentional and in passing, like on the way to the grocery store, or in the background of Zoom calls. Formal introductions are not a thing in a situationship, because, well…how would you even be introduced?

3. You are not included in family activities or gatherings, and vice versa

Again, how would you be introduced? And why risk getting family members attached to something so undefined?

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