Do you think of situationships in a negative light? We did too.
Up until now, situationships – the idea that you’re involved with someone but it’s not a committed relationship, rather a ‘situation’, like a modern ‘it’s complicated’ – have been seen as a bad thing in the dating world.
Situationships have typically been referred to as the kind of thing you don’t want to get in.
But new research from Tinder shows young singles are owning the situationship as a valid relationship status.
They key thing is that ‘everyone is on the same page’.
Tinder describes this as: ‘More than a hookup, but not quite a traditional relationship, the situationship is a casual – yet clearly defined – agreement.’
In a survey, one in 10 young singles said they prefer situationships as a way to develop a relationship with less pressure.
If two people are looking for connection without serious connotations, situationships can be a healthy and fun way forward.
Laura Wilkinson-Rea at Tinder says: ‘Situationships are often linked to authenticity as singles aren’t afraid to be clear on what they are looking for.
‘Reflected in this year’s Year in Swipe Report, singles are done with playing games.
‘Instead, they are setting expectations from the outset, with nearly 50% of Tinder members adding their relationship intent to their profiles and many of those favouring situationships.’
Dr Caroline, sex a relationships expert at Bumble, says situationships can be a opportunity to test the water with someone new.
She says: ‘People are increasingly seeing situationships in a positive light, as an opportunity to test if feelings develop organically, while giving both time to build deeper connections.
‘It’s a time to gauge your compatibility and measure if your likes/dislikes match up, or if there are any red flags that appear in the process.
‘Equally, a situationship might just be what two people are looking for at the time, with neither having the intention of evolving into a fully-fledged relationship.
‘This is still a very valid interaction as it can serve them positively, so long as they are both on the same page about the status of the relationship.’
Society prioritises traditional relationships between couples, and it’s seen as something to aspire to – hence why the situationship has been dubbed as bad, as it threatens that idea.
However, what’s happening now is that some people are embracing the benefits of a situationship – finding that it suits them better.
Caroline says one key benefit is it allows for more personal freedom.
‘Situationships are perfect for those taking their time to explore and learn about their own needs,’ she says.
‘They can be great for people that aren’t ready to commit to a full relationship, but are still looking for emotional and physical connection.
‘Situationships naturally call for setting boundaries to ensure that you’re dating on your terms.’
Bumble recently identified a trend of ‘guardrailing’ within its dating community, as the return of office culture and busy social schedules has led to more than half of people on Bumble establishing more boundaries over the last year.
This includes being clearer about our emotional needs and boundaries as well as being more thoughtful and intentional about how we put ourselves out there.
How do you clearly define a situationship so it’s healthy and not toxic?
Caroline says: ‘Communication is key. The negative outcomes from situationships arise when people feel unsure, anxious and confused about what to expect from the other person.
‘This means that whatever you are looking for is fine, as long as you are honest with the other person about your intentions from the early stages.
‘It’s also important that you regularly check in with your partner along the way, to ensure you’re still on the same page.
‘It’s not uncommon for feelings to develop during the course of a situationship, so keep that line of communication really open to ensure there are no hurt feelings along the way.’
It can also be a liberating way to date.
‘A situationship can offer the option to date multiple people without the need to commit, while learning more about yourself and the future partner that you do want to commit to, whenever that may be,’ Caroline adds.
‘Many relationships also start out as situationships and successfully develop into long-term, serious commitments as they enable people to get to know each other without the added pressure of a relationship status.
‘Whether you want to casually date, be in a situationship, relationship, or something else, you should feel empowered to pursue what feels right to you.’
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