Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Situationship turned Complicationship: Red Flag Addition

Updated Published
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 U Mich chapter.

Why does that 3-month situationship breakup hurt so much more than that long-term relationship? Why is our bar so low for those silly situationships? Why won’t they stop liking our pictures? Spooky season has arrived, and we’re discussing the spookiest thing of all – situationships and the horrors that come with them.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with situationships and the unreliable commitment that comes with them. After so many failed situationships, I’ve begun to call them (lightheartedly) complicationships. The crazy, and absurd, things that go on in situationships make us sit back, laugh, and throw out an “it’s for the plot” line.   

So, what are the red flags? When is enough – enough? How do you cope? And what are the lessons we learned from yet another lesson relationship? We’re going to visit the past, present, and future of situationships and the scary red flags they possess.


When you’re finally in that not-so-officially official relationship, that’s a little more than just talking – you’ve officially entered a situationship. By this point? Your rose-colored glasses are on, and you cannot tell a red flag from a green flag. You’re infatuated with this person; they could do absolutely no wrong in your eyes! You just love love! Harsh truth: If your bestie’s significant other did any of the things your situationship was doing to you, you’d lose your mind and tell her to leave! RED FLAG ALERT! Run for the hills, my friend!

College girls are no strangers to knowing what the red flags they look for in potential relationship partners are. We’re all just a little color-blind from time to time. I asked around what their top red flags are, and surprisingly a lot had the same issues to say.

An honorable mention? Disrespect to service workers. This is a huge ick for me included. The way people treat others matters and shows you a look into how they’ll treat you. As someone who has worked as a server, I’ve watched people cringe at the disrespect from their partner toward the staff and have heard horror stories from my coworkers. This type of treatment is not cute. One of the girls I spoke to even let us share her red flag, ick moment. She was at a casual sports bar-type restaurant with her boyfriend when he realized he needed his beverage refilled. His waitress was visibly busy, and he was impatient and slightly entitled. His way of getting her attention? Snapping his fingers at her. Repulsed by the act, she corrected him kindly, but he didn’t pay much attention to it. But this isn’t a girl’s only ick or red flag… After asking around to see if there are any common red flags or things someone does that make us cringe. There were the top 5 most common red flags we found:

  1. They’re hard to make plans with
  2. Lacks accountability, tends to play the victim, and invalidates your feelings
  3. Talks poorly about friends, exes or family in a negative light
  4. Bad at communication and lying
  5. Substance overuse, abuse, or dependency


When someone is hard to make plans with, it involves more than just plans falling through. For the girls we asked this has a few different branches for them, including them changing plans or being late. We all can understand that sometimes life gets in the way, causing issues to occur with plans previously made. But when it happens multiple times? Cringe. It’s becoming more concerning and a turn-off when your plans seem to be the last priority consistently. When you show up late for plans or a date, it’s bad punctuality. Show that girl she is important! There are only so many chances you should give with this type of behavior, my rule? 3 strikes and you’re out. Someone’s opinion I value greatly once told me that she gives the person 3 chances when she makes plans. She’ll switch up the plan idea each time to give variety and find something that sparks interest and entices. Sometimes going to the bar is just not ideal, so try something else! Next time, try the park or a sporting event. Don’t let being pushed off a habit for you, you’re important and deserve quality time.


A waving red flag that should count as three warnings in one, and personally sends me rolling my eyes is playing the victim or lacking accountability. My special rule for myself is I give myself three days to sit with an emotion, and by that third day if it still is bothering me? Then I can discuss the matter. I carefully watch the way I say things as well, wording is important. We all know “I feel…” statements, and honestly this should apply to emotional discussions. I don’t favor using the word “you” when discussing something with someone who has done something to upset me. So, when I am carefully trying to solve an issue with you, and all of a sudden the roles flip, and blame is placed? Displeasure. This red flag was one of the most commonly said red flags. Trying to express your emotions and then it turning into an entirely different direction is distasteful. Some girls have even mentioned how confrontation about their partner’s infidelity became an attack on them! I find it hard not to roll my eyes when you say something you are upset with and then they give you in return a “I’m sorry I’m so bad to you”…. Stop. This red flag blends into the act of invalidating one’s feelings. When your feelings are invalidated, it can genuinely feel so draining. The girls are right to view this trait as a big warning.


A huge red flag we should all see, (often too- apparently), is when your situationship talks dirt on people they were close with or are close with. It makes sense to view this as a warning, if they’ll talk poorly about them what is stopping them from doing the same to you? That ex may have done you dirty but watching you drag them through the mud and say horrible things does not make you look better. There are also times when that ex wasn’t as bad as they made them out to be. We’ve all been a little frustrated with family and friends too, but it also doesn’t give you the right to disrespect them behind their back. I’m huge on loyalty, especially when the person being discussed is not around. My friends can count on me not trashing their name no matter what the situation is.


Communication is key, so when you’ve been lied to or constantly lack good communication skills, it becomes a red flag. A girl always finds out, by the way. Every girl possesses FBI skills, and most accidentally stumble across the information they didn’t really want to know.

For instance, there was a situation where a girl had a long term situationship turned complicationship. He was an athlete, traveling a lot for the sport he played. He went a few states over travelling for an away game and when he came back he talked about his friend on the other team, telling her about his friend’s interest in a girl there. She paid no attention to this random tale until later he was trying to prove a point to her. He sent her a screenshot of something on snapchat, the list of people he had recently responded to in the picture. She knew most of the names, they were friends of his she knew (yes all but a few were girls) but she saw a name she didn’t recognize. For privacy, we’ll call the unknown user Catherine. What her situationship did not realize? She knew of a Catherine from the state he just visited through a different friend who used to play there. Our main character gave her man the opportunity to explain before she jumped to conclusions and made a fool of herself. She asked him who Catherine was and he shrugged it off, saying “A friend from my childhood, I was friends with her sister”. She chose to accept that Catherine was just an old childhood friend, nothing extreme or worry some. Her distrust didn’t ping again until she got curious about the childhood Catherine, and she searched for the name of who he follows. To, probably, no surprise, she found very few Catherine’s but the one being a familiar name she heard from that friend. She went back to the self-incriminating evidence he sent and took note of the days of the streak and the look of the girl’s Snapchat avatar – a purple character with a dragon suit, something very distinctive. She simply asked her friend about Catherine’s snap avatar, and once that added up she looked at the days since he was there compared to the streak. She had all the evidence she needed. When she brought it up to her situationship again, he cracked and spilled the tea.

He was lying to her the entire time and fabricated story after story to cover his tracks and justify his actions. She ultimately chose to forgive him but she definitely did not forget the waving red flag lying is.


We understand that a night out with friends can sometimes include the use of alcohol, but when it seems to be a nightly routine? Red flag. A few of the girls I spoke to about their red flags mentioned how it becomes unattractive when the person they are seeing overuses or abuses substances. One girl mentioned how watching her ex drink to black out multiple times each week was a turn-off for her and ended up giving her the ick. An unredeemable ick. Another girl mentioned how when she saw her situationship couldn’t do anything without smoking, she found it unattractive and not someone she would see being a long-term partner.


We know a red flag when we see it, but we don’t always pay much attention to them. We wear our rose-colored glasses and just focus on the good because that’s all we want to see from someone we’re infatuated with! Unfortunately, no matter how hard you close your eyes, there can come a time or situation where you just cannot ignore it… and you leave the relationship in the dust. So what are some of those defining factors or final pushes? We asked the girlies! A few noted how disrespect in general is enough to make them finally walk away, no matter how enamored with the person they are. A little more specific, in the disrespect category, was for their partners to be disrespectful behind their backs, and then pretend like nothing happened and nothing is wrong. Others said when they realized their situationship was too selfish to prioritize other people when they needed them. Selfish tendencies were enough for her to walk away, and realize it wasn’t going to work out. Lastly, we’ve had a girl relate her final push out the door to being revolved around communication issues. When asked the question at hand, she said:

“When caused a large amount of anxiety through lack of communication, as I believe almost anything can be solved with communication”

University of Michigan Student

 Poor communication skills causing unwanted anxiety were enough for her to step on the rose-colored glasses she wore and walk away. 

A situationship is super fun to have, but when things start to get more complicated than not… is it worth the added stress?

Meet Carly Boccia, a retired college athlete turned aspiring plant mom. Carly is a junior at the University of Michigan studying psychology and English. She's worked in social media content creation and graphic design for 4 years while attending college. Before settling in Michigan for school, Carly has moved between Southern California and Ohio her entire life. She has a plethora of passions from sports to traveling.