Is it friends with benefits? Is it the beginning of a relationship? Is it confusing as fuck….? Then It's probably a situationship. You know, it's like a friendship but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship. Basically you're fucking each other (or thinking about it) and the rest is all just a little too confusing to deal with.
Modern relationships are becoming less and less like those of our parents. Going out to dinner and a movie is something from a bad romance film. Once upon a time, a lady courted a man she liked and then began, after several lovely romantic dates, a relationship. Drinks and a shag seems to have become the new version of “dating”, quite often ending in more than a few casual dates.
Luckily enough this 'friends with benefits' style relationship has become, although not without some controversy, a relatively normal thing in the modern dating world; but what about all the other shades of “complicated” that you go through when dating?
When it comes to sex, sexuality and relationships our society is obsessed with making it black and white, defining it, labelling it. If it can’t be defined then it’s probably not “normal”, and we probably don’t want to talk about it. I would very much like to argue that it’s not necessary, you should just embrace the loving feeling and go with it but my logical brain says otherwise.
In the beginning it is easy to embrace the situation and just let it flow but eventually, regardless of what style of relationship or situationship you are in, you will reach the point where somebody begins to question the exclusivity clause and if you haven’t agreed one way or another somebody will get hurt.
So how do you know what category you’re “it’s complicated” relationship falls under? And does it really matter?
I’ve had the long term relationship, the properly defined, permanent boyfriend/girlfriend situation and the friends with benefits thing. I have had short term situationships where I wanted more but they didn’t and visa-versa. I’ve covered all the bases and the defining factor between those that worked and those that ended in heartbreak? Communication. No matter what style “situationship”, relationship, you are in they all have the potential to work, so long as you know what you are and what you both expect.
Firstly the friends with benefits. You sleep together, but don’t stay over, you go for drinks but not dinner and unless you are sending sexy texts or arranging your next shag meet, do not text this eachother. This is the ultimate no strings attached relationship, you're both there for the sex and if feelings start to develop, you either get out or get ready to sail into “situationship” territory.
The situationship. So you go on dates, you hang out, you stay at each others houses, you text all the time, you’ve met their friends and they knows yours. But you don’t want to label it. Great story… it’s relaxed, it’s casual, it’s fluid… the definition of modern love. But then they meets someone else and suddenly you realise with stabbing jealously the real depth of feelings.
The key word of paramount importance to remember once you’ve sailed into these waters is “non-committal”, for me this is the simple, one word definition of a situationship. It’s like a relationship but you are keeping it open and relaxed and both know that there is a chance that one another may sleep with or go on a date with someone else. And without that exclusivity chat, you are both within your rights to do so.
Lastly there is the relationship. You began with the casual dating, you slowly sailed into the situationship, and now you’ve both realised there are some pretty strong and loving feelings involved. So you have the discussion, you’ve agreed that you want exclusivity, but is there a need to label it?
Labels are really only there for other people to understand what your situation is. If you know what you are, and your partner knows what you are, fuck the label, fuck each other, and fuck what anybody else thinks.
*Originally published at Losingit.co.uk
Image: Gem van Heyst
Anna Wall is a self-confessed hedonist and self-appointed travel expert. She drinks coffee until its appropriate to move on to wine and believes that there is nothing more satisfying in life than good wine and a good book. She's scared of balloons, the dark and of growing up.