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Is It Casual Now? Exploring the Challenges of Gen Z Dating Culture

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Love declarations, letters between lovers, and cute messages are no longer so common in the 21st century. Gen Z has changed the way they relate to each other putting their’s own priorities before partners, and so, the current buzzword for this new form of relationship is called “situationship“.

What is a situationship?

A romantic relationship between two people who do not consider themselves a couple yet, but have more than a friendship. For many adults this can be confusing and scary, but for young people it is the best way to reconcile their love life with their personal desires.

“Right now, these agreements solve some kind of need for sex, intimacy, companionship – whatever – but they don’t necessarily have a long-term horizon,”

Elizabeth Armstrong – Sociology professor at the University of Michigan (UM); researcher on sexuality and “situations”.

Gen Z is known for being more focused on professional growth than on their relationships. This can be explained because, for them, career is something that brings certain, while dating has its doubts.

The climate crisis, unstable economy, and new political and social wars have caused adolescents and people in their early to late 20’s to become more involved in activism and seek personal, professional, and financial stability first and foremost. This generation seeks to improve society before committing to dating, due to the fact that they are in constant access to scientific research and exposed to innovations. 

The pandemic was also a great point for people to stop worrying about forming a serious bond, since at the time there were no accepted and safe ways to meet new people. Colorful friendships – another expression to talk about pursuing someone without labels – was a strategy to have something without worrying about “giving it away”.

These new relationships also became very famous because of TikTok, in which became common for users to share their personal experiences about lovers. 


whats your longest situationship i wanna see who wins #situationship #relationship

♬ original sound – Gabe Escobar
Content creator discussing the implications of the term situationship

Signs that you are in a situationship

Nowadays, there are plenty of videos online that can help you to find out if you are wrapped up in a casual fling. Here are a few tips to provide you with some guidance:

  • If you have been talking to someone for more than 3 months, and you know you enjoy being with them;
  • If you treat the person as your lover, but don’t have labels;
  • If you are in constant disagreement, that is, at one moment you love each other, and than after it you may not care about it at all;
  • If you feel jealous of the person who is with you, but you can’t say anything because, technically, you don’t have anything;
  • If you’re each other’s options, but not the priority.

Then the odds are that you are in a situationship.

There is one important perspective that should be discussed in this article. Although Gen Z can be more intelligent than previous generations in some areas, we sometimes find it very difficult to express our feelings. As a publication crafted by and for young women, we firmly advocate for the crucial role of communication in fostering healthy relationships. We caution our readers against solely relying on the perspectives of anonymous online acquaintances when making decisions.

Often, this type of relationship can be a bit toxic. When you enter a situationship and evolve  a feeling, it may happen that your partner doesn’t feel the same. Sometimes, one side is looking to have a stable and passionate relationship, while the other wants someone just to enjoy without worrying about the sentimental part.

So stay tuned! If you don’t want to be in this position, talk to your partner and focus on finding someone who has the same goals as you!


The article above was edited by Rafaella Angelotti Alcici.

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Fernanda Sivieri

Casper Libero '26

Estudante de jornalismo na Cásper Líbero. Amo esportes, livros, filmes e séries.