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The Reality of Moving On From a Situationship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bucknell chapter.

Heartbreak can stem from any type of relationship, whether that be a friendship, a parent-child relationship, or a romantic relationship. A relationship that remains largely unaddressed yet often leads to some serious heartbreak is one that many of us have been witness to or experienced ourselves: the classic “situationship.” The situationship is complex for many reasons. First, it is often an unstated “are we or aren’t we” situation where neither party fully understands where they stand with the other. Second, there are an inordinate amount of unwritten rules that govern the way we engage in the relationship like whether or not we have a right to be sad if they kiss another person given your relationship status is “not exclusive” or whether it’s standard to expect an invitation as their plus one to the parties and events they attend. 

This is not to say that all situationships are bad, it is sometimes nice to get to know a person in a partnership type of way without the pressure of a label. All this is to say that the constant confusion and questioning inevitably leads to some cases of heartbreak; heartbreak that I have endured myself. In my ongoing attempt to move on from a complicated situationship, I have amassed some different strategies that have helped quicken the process.

The first is a pretty basic one, but surprisingly overlooked: talking to friends and family. Despite how it may feel, you are not the first person in the world to experience this kind of thing. While the title “situationship” was only recently coined in the late 2010s, in practice they have been transpiring since the dawn of time. If you confide in your friends and family one of them is bound to empathize with how you are feeling and be a helpful hand. Even if they have not experienced a situationship themselves, the people you love are there to lend a sympathetic ear and comfort you when you are feeling upset. The second thing that has been a great help to me is picking up a hobby and engaging in it anytime you start to think about that person. We all fall back into bad habits sometimes, especially when those bad habits are people. Even if perpetually returning to the old patterns we shared with the person hurts us in some way, the relationship was comfortable so it is easy to want to revert back to it. One of the ways I have learned to break the habit of texting or calling my ex-situationship is to participate in an alternate hobby or activity every time I feel the desire to contact them again. This can include journaling, turning on an episode of your favorite show, drawing, cooking, or doing anything else that you find comfort in. Eventually, the comfort you found in the other person will be replaced by this activity. 

Part of what makes healing from a situationship so difficult is that we often don’t feel as if we have the right to grieve. We cycle through the thoughts of “it’s not like we were dating, so I shouldn’t be this upset about it” or “people suffer breakups from real long-term relationships, so why am I crying over someone who I wasn’t even official with.” We berate ourselves over and over again, telling ourselves that we have no right to experience the full intensity of our heartbreak because our relationship wasn’t “real.” But the truth is, we do. In any circumstance, the loss of someone we feel close to in some way, shape, or form is going to hurt us. We have a right to immerse ourselves in the enormity of our feelings so we can eventually give ourselves the space to move on when we’re ready. Diminishing our feelings by downplaying the gravity of our connection with another person isn’t going to help us move on any faster. What will help us is acknowledging the validity of our feelings, soaking in them for a minute, and then eventually, letting them go.

Grace Liberman

Bucknell '26

Grace is a student at Bucknell double majoring in English - Literary Studies and Sociology. She enjoys reading books with her cat and crying over the unnecessarily heartbreaking endings as well as being an avid listener of Noah Kahan, Hozier, and Bon Iver.