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Situationships: The Killer of True Love

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 West Chester chapter.

Jayden and Rory met through a Harry Styles’ fan page on Twitter. After texting non stop and talking 1-on-1 with each other, Jayden knew within a week. Jayden says, “at one month when we saw each other in person the first time, I knew I wanted to be with her as long as I could.” 

My sister (Miriam) and her boyfriend (Ben) are my blueprint. A year ago, Ben came into Miriam’s life, and she was hesitant because she enjoyed her independence and alone time. However, she had to be honest with herself because she knew very early-on that she wanted to be with him for the long haul. I asked Ben, “How long did it take for you to realize that you wanted to be with Miriam?” He asked for clarification, “Do you mean why I wanted to be with her as a couple or be with her forever?” He continues, “I remember when we were in Brazil, about 6 months into our relationship, I realized that she was the one. It dawned on me that she was my best friend; I could do anything with her and it becomes my favorite thing to do.” 

I asked my best friend’s Mom (Mrs. Steffy) about her relationship with her husband. After dating for 6 months, Mr. Steffy proposed. I was shocked by how little time they spent together before becoming engaged. So I asked, “How did you know he was the one?” She replies, without any hesitation, “We spent every day together, for a year and a half, until we were married. I could see myself being with him every day for the rest of my life.”

Do you see this type of love nowadays? The love that is expressed openly. The love that is genuine. The love that makes you feel secure in yourself and your partner. If it were not for those examples, I fail to remember that this love still exists. Where did it go? Why has true love become rare

I blame situationships. According to Oxford Languages, a situationship is “a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.” However I prefer the Urban Dictionary definition, “When one or two *censored* take part in a relationship, but out of fear of making things serious or messy, do not label it, leading to said relationship, ironically, becoming more serious and messier.”

Raise your hand if you have been/or are currently in a situationship. If you raised your hand, give yourself a pat on the back because you are a warrior! A survivor! Situationships are not made for the weak, I can attest from personal experiences. 

Today we will explore the idea of situationships, how it exists, and why it should not be an example of modern-day love. 

If we are exploring situationships, it is only fair if I share mine. So let’s have a lil’ girl talk! 

  • April 5th: First date with the boy; we got bubble tea, went outside and talked for a few hours
    • Date tip: get something quick to drink or eat (like boba or ice cream) for a first date. This prevents any awkwardness in the beginning because you are figuring out what to order. Then you can talk about what you ordered while you wait.
  • 2nd date: This date also was the first time we had the conversation. My goal was to ask him about where this is going. I wanted to be on the same page as him, but I also wanted him to know that I was not ready to commit and would like to take this slow. He agreed and the status of our relationship was “let’s see where things go.” 
  • 4th date: This was a cute date: we painted mugs, all while talking about red flags and green flags in relationships. I said my biggest red flag in a relationship was ‘fear of commitment.’ We also started ‘Too Hot to Handle’ with each other (It’s giving commitment).
    • Date tip: Go on DIY dates, for two reasons specifically. First, there is no awkward tension because you both are actively doing something. Secondly, and most importantly, you both can keep what you made. So, EVERY TIME your partner looks at it, they will automatically think of you. Boom! How-to-be Toxic 101! 
  • May 12th/5th date: BIG DAY! It is time for the “what are we” conversation. Our situation was a bit complicated because we were going to be long distance, but there were still some questions left unanswered about the distance situation. Therefore, it could also be the end of our “relationship”. We went to a cute nearby park (Everhart Park in West Chester: it’s beautiful and full of Cherry Blossoms in the Spring) and decided to be exclusive with each other!? Although I was hesitant, I knew I liked him and didn’t want to regret anything. 
  • By August, before we both returned to different colleges, I wanted to make us official. By now, we had known each other for  5 months, and have been exclusive for 4 months. The time finally approached, and unfortunately, we did not make things official. As cliche as it sounds, it was the wrong time for us.

This is an example of a common situationship: two people who want to commit, but are too scared to fully commit for whatever reason. This “reason” is how situationships continue to exist and thrive in today’s society. Some reasons include fear of intimacy, fear of heartbreak, or fear of commitment. Many people, like myself, tend to self-sabotage good connections because we have a fear that things will not work out so we ruin it in order to prevent getting hurt too much. We have endured hurtful and toxic situations, and don’t want to experience it again especially with a person we have formed a deep bond with. 

However, as a reminder for myself and others who can relate to this: I understand that someone from our past has broken our trust; however, that should not be the reason why we limit ourselves from experiencing future relationships. As humans, we crave human connection, love, and companionship. We are more than deserving of this. “I hope you have the courage to let go of your fear and stay open enough to let all the good things flow right in,” written in the Thought Catalog. Good people will find good people.   

Another common reason situationships thrive is because of a lack of communication. Either one or both parties are afraid to speak about their desires, potentially making them feel like a burden or having their needs be unmet. 

Another reminder for you: although communication is difficult, it is one of the pillars of a healthy relationship. It is important to have these conversations, even if it feels uncomfortable. Whether or not this is a clearly-defined relationship, it still is considered a connection which requires communication and openness. Your thoughts, emotions, and feelings are valid and should be voiced. It is just as important to create a safe space for the other party to feel comfortable in communicating their emotions with you also. However, if you or that person is not able to clearly articulate their intentions, their feelings or facilitate an emotionally deep conversation then it is time to walk away from the relationship. The longer you are staying with people who do not satisfy your needs, the longer you are staying away from people who will satisfy your needs. 

Lastly, situationships occur because either one or both parties do not want to settle down. They are not looking for anything serious, but rather, they’ll see where things go. Soon, one person will begin to want more, yet the other refuses because they never wanted anything “serious”.  

This can feel frustrating and overwhelming because you think “we aren’t even dating, I cannot be mad or upset. It’s my fault for getting attached.” However, your emotions are valid because you both shared an emotional connection with each other, you spent a lot of time with one another, and you treated each other like significant others. Yet, they do not want anything serious, as if the word “relationship” is what makes it serious. 

The entire concept of situationships derives from the idea that it is not a relationship. However, people in situationships will act as if they are in relationships; so it is simply an undefined relationship. I believe this is why situationships are difficult to recover from. When you are in a situationship, you fall in love with the potential of what could be (disclaimer: I use the term “fall in love” very lightly. I’m not saying you are in love with your situationship, but if you are, that’s okay too). You experience hints of what a relationship could be like with that person; yet, is any of it real? 

At the end of the day, it is up to you. If a situationship is what you want, then go for it. But, I want to remind you: you are NOT a “maybe”, you are NOT a “second choice”, you are NOT an option, you’re not a “when it’s convenient”, and you are NOT a “wait and see.” You ARE an absolute yes. Do not settle for being treated anything less than that, which can be how situationships make you feel. You deserve genuine love: a love like Jayden and Rory, a happiness like Ben and Miriam, and a forever like Mr. and Mrs. Steffy.

Rachel Jason

West Chester '26

Rachel Jason is an Elementary Education major with a minor in Journalism at West Chester University. Rachel's love for writing began in her pink diary and watching reruns of Rory Gilmore becoming the next Christiane Amanpour. She is ready to spark conversations on white privilege, self-love, and her favorite foods! With her beautiful readers, Rachel is ecstatic to explore the world and all it has to offer.