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Sex + Relationships

Situationships and the Lessons They’ve Taught me

It has become very clear that our generation’s definition of relationships is a lot different than those of our parents and grandparents. They had that “Say Anything” kind of love! The boombox outside their window at night, the huge and extravagant portrayals of their love for each other, and the commitment to one another. Watch out! I just said that big scary word: commitment! Did that make you nervous? Did you tense up? Did it repulse you? Well, you’re not alone. There is this stigma around “commitment” and the idea of making things official with someone else. Why? Where did we all of a sudden decide that there was no longer a need for clarity in our personal relationships? I guess what I’m trying to say is, what the hell is a “situationship” or “talking stage” and why do we do this to ourselves? 

I unfortunately have fallen into the dark abyss that is situationships plenty of times and let me tell you I have learned a lot from it. Simply put, a situationship is a romantic relationship that is undefined. You go on dates, express strong emotions towards each other and do regular couple things, but they’re not really yours. You’re not really dating, but it’s also not just hooking up? Yeah, that’s a situationship! It’s not only super lonely and bewildering, but also stressful! Even though I was never exclusive with these people I often find myself upset and hurt over no longer having them in my life, but I am grateful for the lessons they have shown me.

So, consider yourself lucky, because I am going to share with you the top 5 things that being in a situationship has taught me, so you don’t have to go through it too… unless you’re in one now! 

1. Fall completely in love with yourself 

This is at the top of my list because I really believe this is the biggest thing I have learned and the points that follow this one relates to establishing a good relationship with yourself. After a failed talking stage, I go back to a favorite quote of mine from The Perks of Being a Wallflower that says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” You need to spend quality time with yourself to see just how much you are worth and know that you deserve more than you’re giving yourself credit for. Combat the emotions of rejection, guilt, and shame on your self-love journey and realize you are worth it. You’re perfect and lack nothing! You’re worth more than a cheap, greasy burger on a random Friday night and you are worth more than a random “You up?” text at 2:00AM, and once you are able to see it without needing reassurance from anyone but yourself is when you start finding what you’re looking for. 

2. Communication is key 

An unclear understanding of each person’s intentions is typically what starts a situationship and I’ve learned this the hard way. Once you realize you’re in a situationship it’s kind of hard to be clear about your wants and needs because you’re technically not even in a relationship, so what do they care? If you’re too scared to come forward with what you actually want, you will forever be stuck in the unknown. This isn’t just helpful in relationships, but in day to day life as well. 

3. Dating apps are not the move

I recently gave online dating apps a try and it was… interesting. One thing I noticed a lot of though was that most people were getting on the app for a quick little fling or a no strings attached friends-with-benefits relationship. What I’m saying here is that you can’t rush things or try and set yourself up. I am in no way shaming those that use these apps for some simple pleasure every now and then because you go girl! I get that! But if you’re looking for something serious, I’m sorry, but these apps are not relationship friendly.  

4. Your emotions are valid

You know when you’re so invested in a relationship and after is all said and done you just feel embarrassed with yourself? Those “Oh my god, why did I act like that,” moments? You start to see clearer because it is true, love is blind. Yet, even after it’s all over and you realize you learned a lot you can’t help but continually ask yourself, “What the hell was I thinking?” Those feelings come easily to those after a relationship, but for someone that got comfortable in the fake fantasy of the relationship, it can be really hard. You can’t really call it a breakup even though it feels like one. You feel silly feeling sad about the end of this, whatever it was, because they technically weren’t ever yours. All the time you spent with this person trying to initiate a relationship you could’ve spent with someone else who was serious – they wasted your time! Of course, you feel angry, sad or even guilty. All the energy and affection you gave was thrown away like it was nothing after you were hopeful something would come from it. So, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for being upset and don’t let anyone invalidate your feelings. Allow yourself to feel these emotions and know that it is okay to be sad because of their absence. 

5. Actions speak louder than words

If someone really likes you and is thinking of an actual commitment with you, they won’t leave you confused or wondering. They can say one thing, but at the end of the day you need to look at how they treat you as a person. Are they only hitting you up in the late hours of the night? Are they not introducing you to their friends? Are they showing you they genuinely care about you? Be honest with yourself and don’t brush away their inconsistency and make excuses for them. You want a partner who doesn’t leave you guessing how they feel about you and not just tell you how much you mean to them, but continually show you just how special you are. 

The biggest takeaway is really knowing how to value yourself and putting yourself on a pedestal! You are a strong independent person who needs no one’s approval in this life but your own! 

Sitlali Cortes

Washington '23

Sitlali is a third year student at the University of Washington and intended communications major! She's from Yakima, Washington and when she's not busy with school or work you'll find her with friends and family! She also enjoys reading and writing poetry and making playlists.
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