What Happens When You’re Dating… But Not: Student’s Stress Over the “Situationship”

Exclusive relationships are pretty rare among college students nowadays. Everyone is looking to explore their options, while there are a few select couples that turn heads. Then there is that other category: dating, but yet not dating. This is when things seem to get complicated hence the label “situationships”. The term could be defined as seeing each other for months yet not having the label as boyfriend and girlfriend. Now that’s a sticky situation.

Tons of people have been in this awkward situation. The most awkward part is definitely initiating the conversation to talk about the subject. That is probably what prolongs the situation even more, which is what results in the “situationship.”

When you are “together” but haven’t had the “dating” talk, fights could arise. One partner could think they can date other people while dating someone else. It technically is, since there is no relationship label. But misunderstandings are likely to occur unless some previous understanding that it was okay to do so was made prior.

These situations seem to be an epidemic more so with college students. Everyone is young and just wants to have fun. Barely anyone wants to be tied down and worry about the responsibilities of a relationship, especially with the stress of college. There are always those exceptions though. If you truly like the person you should obviously be with them. If both people are willing to make the effort and really like each other I think it is worth it.

There are a myriad of views people have on this topic. Is a “situationship” worth it?

Kaitlyn Robertson, a freshman special education major, said, “There is no point of being together if someone is not going to take a step further to make a relationship out of it. Both partners times are wasted when no initiative is taken to make a lasting relationship. Either call it off or try to make it work.”

Roberston continued, “The more the situation is prolonged, the more stress is added to your life. Also, you could have used that time to find another potential partner that could have actually worked out.”

Tim Convery, a freshman criminal justice major, had a very good point to Robertson’s answer.

“It is like a trial period. It is also an excuse to get with other people and not feel as bad about it because you are not 100 percent committed,” said Convery.

Jill Murphy, a freshman communication major, has had experiences with this situation before. “Well, what happens is it usually causes a lot stress for the partners, since there is so much that goes unsaid between one another,” she said.

Murphy continued, “You both could be on two different pages and not even know it, which also is a worry for both or one of the partners. It is easier and a relief if one you just brings up the situation.”

Dr. Gary Lewandowski, a professor of psychology that specializes in relationships, said, “Being together without having ‘the talk’ about your relationship is quite common. In fact, one of the most common taboo topics (i.e. those things couples avoid discussing) is the relationship itself. Though people avoid it, talking about your relationship is important and a sign of a healthy relationship.”

“Often, reasons for hesitation in discussing the relationship can signal lack of commitment (you don’t really want to have a formal relationship) or insecurity (you are not sure how much your partner really likes you). Yet, in both cases, these are exactly the types of things you should discuss with your partner,” continued Lewandowski.

Being in a committed relationship is clearly not an easy task. What is love anyways? Us college kids are honestly too young to understand the true meaning. This hesitation of not knowing how we truly feel is what results in the prominent “situationships.” With age, maturity will help us out to understand what a real relationship is. All we can do now is just go with flow and see where our actions take us. Who knows? Maybe one of us will be in an exclusive relationship. If not, we can move on, we are all young anyway.