Someone asks you “Are you single?”
And your reply is “Well, I’m not single, but I’m not in a relationship either…there’s someone.”
Have you found yourself in this situation before?
To give your ‘situation’ a label, it is called a “situationship.”
Changes in family structure have created different expressions, forms, and new roles in family and society. The regular, defined nuclear family of the father, mother, and children, now have other forms like blended families, adoptive families, divergent families, further creating unique structures and roles that are new and undefined.
One of such families or relationships is a situationship family. A situationship family happens when two people find themselves in a relationship, birthed out of unique changes to their family structure, driven by factors such as; depression, divorce, gender switch, and so on. The two people come together into an undefined loosely threaded relationship called a situationship.
Many factors can birth a situationship: family transitions such as relocation, separation, deep conflicts, diverse and career transition.
A situationship is a relationship that is not considered to be formalised or established within a framework. This relationship has no label; it’s the space between a committed relationship and something that is more than a friendship but both parties are really “unsure of what they are.” Sometimes, a situationship is due to unresolved family complexities, fear, long healing process, or running away from self and hidden truths.
The situationship creates a “love-hate-fear” relationship where the parties like themselves enough to be connected and meet each other’s basic short-term needs (e.g. accommodation, companionship, distraction from reality, and avoiding self-healing), but they are not captivated enough to make a long term commitment and be dedicated to each other, therefore creating a situationship.
The situationship creates a short-term solution to a complex challenge but may also create its own complex set of challenges.
A situationship means that ‘you can be with me and I can be with someone else. You don't have the right and privilege to challenge all my movements and connections.’
This creates a challenge called “Ambiguous Jealousy.” A state where you can only ask limited questions and you have to leave the created gaps to the extent of your imagination.
You enjoy the benefits of being in a relationship but you don't have the rights to total access. Your partner can get romantically involved with someone else and you cannot challenge the matter. You will be required to become mature enough to handle it or look away and focus on your “situationship” role.
You may also come to realise that you are a placeholder or transit guide in your “relationship.” Your partner is waiting for the right person or waiting to get healed or have some conflicts resolved while holding on to your support.
At this point, doubt begins to set in.
You start asking yourself, ‘Is this really worth it?’ Do you really want to be that person broken into pieces after 5 years of a situationship; because it ends, you are now “swimming in premium tears” and you’re back to square one.
Come to think of it, did you really have a relationship or the illusion of a relationship, so why swim in premium tears for what never really started?
On the other hand, the situationship may bring you the “happily ever after” you are looking for.
To Stay or Not To Stay? To Go or Not To Go?
This is the key question. If you ask me, na who I go ask?
We will dive deeper into other possible challenges that come with a situationship in our next post.