A situationship describes an undefined intimate connection. The bond between people in an intimate situation that is more serious than a ‘friends with benefits’ but is not defined with a rigid relationship structure. The term is a blend of the words situation and relationship. It implies that the connection between people in a situationship is more of a situation than a relationship.

A situationship typically has sexual and romantic components, like a relationship. These elements make a situationship more than a platonic friendship. People in situationships often feel connected to one another. They talk freely and enjoy spending time together. They may go out socially, but these outings aren’t defined as dates. Many people in situationships are more likely to spend time together in private watching TV at home or simply hanging out. However, unlike a relationship, the people in a situationship have no clear commitment to one another. A situationship is informal and often described as ‘complicated,’ because neither party is quite sure what they are to one another.

A situationship also doesn’t progress as a relationship does. During relationships, couples reach certain milestones following a path sometimes called the “relationship escalator”. These milestones vary between couples, but may include meeting the partner’s friends and family, traveling together, becoming exclusive, moving in together, and having children. Situationships often don’t progress forward in this way. People in situationships might be ok with this, or they might feel their connection is stuck or stagnant.

Situationships are becoming more common as people choose to marry later or decide long-term commitments aren’t for them. A situationship can give people many of the perks of a relationship without the pressure some people feel committing to someone else. People in a situationship are free to opt out at any time, theoretically without any hurt feelings or other difficulties.

A situationship can lead to a relationship if both parties decide they want more from the connection. This occurs during a define the relationship (DTR) talk. A relationship may also dissolve in time, perhaps after a DTR talk or if someone gets into a relationship. Alternatively, it might remain as a situationship.

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