Situationships: a hidden epidemic

Picture it: they’re your summer fling.  As the days grow longer and the sun stays in the sky, everything seems to be going right.  You meet up a few times, talk constantly and slowly you nurture the quiet fire of a crush in your stomach. You would give anything to stay this way, because you are content. Suddenly August is slipping away into September, yet you remain unafraid. This is cuffing season right? Just what you need, something to call your own, someone to show off and keep hidden, someone who just -gets- you. Then September is over, and so are you. It hurts, but why does it hurt? You weren’t quite together, yet to you anyway, it felt like more than a friendship. This my friends, is a situationship. A “Get out of jail” card, of sorts, for those who like to back out of circumstantial moments like these, and use the “lack of definition” as a safety net.  Sometimes relationships between people end, and that is okay. Movement and fluidity is often part of the nature of relationships, but situationships allow for an “Eject” button to be pressed before the other person knows, leaving them sitting on a plane spiraling to the ground. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping things casual and just messing around, and this piece isn’t here to demonise people who break up with others.  It’s going to happen anyway, but when it goes wrong it can have lasting effects, and in times like this, communication is key – especially if you aren’t feeling it anymore.  Think of how your partner feels, think about how you maybe felt once upon a time about them, and give them the respect they deserve.  

There can also be many perks to situationships.  Generally nothing between you and the other person is paramount, there are no boundaries as to what you are, and getting your hole regularly can be quite nice (if it goes that far).  Even just doing romantic things is nice, because in today’s society vulnerability isn’t usually rewarded. But these niceties do not come alone, and because things like this are based on your (wait for it) situation, many things are not black and white.  However, ambiguity often suits people better than proper commitment, so many times the grey area will stay unexplored as to not “ruin” whatever is happening.

What happens after?  You haven’t been broken up with technically, but it sure feels that way.  The old ironic line of “We can still be friends” is thrown out, but for no reason.  You were always just friends, but now it’s actually “just friends”. Having a relationship end can have so many debilitating physical and mental impacts on a person, but when it wasn’t a relationship, what happens?  Are you supposed to feel this way? Are your feelings of emotional exhaustion and utter dejection even valid? The answer, in short, is yes – yes they are. Heartbreak can have both a physical and mental impact on the body, and just because they weren’t your official partner or whatever doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to your feelings.  Treat it like you would a proper breakup. Reach out to your support network, practice self care in any form and when all else fails, Somebody Else by The 1975 is a great song if you dig emotional release. 

Something important to remember throughout the healing process is that the same lack of boundaries that let someone leave so quickly is the one that prevented you from seeing the reality of the situation.  It is in no way your fault that you didn’t see this coming, and it could happen to anyone. But because of the liminal nature of situationships, it’s easy to be blind to the reality. You may previously have gone without properly seeing each other for long periods of time, so up until the point where you get confirmation that you’re through, why should it be any different?  In these situations, nobody is really in the wrong because backing out can be easy, but remember: it sure as hell feels good to blame someone else.