Sunday 16 May 2021
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what are we?

A ‘situationship’ is basically a pseudo-relationship. A placebo masking as a real relationship. It kind of smells like a relationship, sort of looks like a relationship, it may even feel like one. But it ain’t.

Fact is people are not even dating anymore; just chatting, catching feeling, doing the dirty and then about 6 months later, breaking up.

Urban Dictionary describes a situationship as “any problematic relationship characterized by one or more unresolved, interpersonal conflicts. Usually confused with dating.”

The dating climate is significantly changing; formalities are much harder to find. Now there’s this awkward winding through something that feels like something that leads to sex that may or may not be something that continues for a while until one person may or may not want to make it something permanent.

“You want to know how you get into a situationship?” asks Tess, a 25 year old retail worker. “It’s really easy. Boy meets girl. Y’all like each other and text for like 2 weeks. He says to come to his place to chill. So because he is interesting you go. You sleep with him, it’s a thrill mos. Rinse and repeat. This goes on for some time and because you have allowed it from day one without expectations, or boundaries or anything, it goes on like that until you get tired, or you finally ask that dreaded question; ‘what are we’?”

If you are questioning the relationship you find yourself in, here are some checkpoints:

*Do you have a title? Yes, titles are so 1950’s but they set a precedent for how you think of someone. Can you even call them your friend? ‘I mean, we’re not really friends, but like sorta, kinda, maybe dating and like …’ Ya, no.

*In your head you have ‘half a man is better than no man’ thoughts. You’ve resolved that they aren’t the right one for you and you are okay with that, while that song keeps playing in your head. You know the one. The one that says “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. You are just in it because you are lonely and the second a better option comes along, you are so out of there.

*You text. All day. Mostly about naughty things.

*You have not been officially introduced to each other’s friends. You most probably have met a few, but it was in that accidental and casual way and you are just introduced by your name while they stand a foot or so away from you. You may even get a surreptitious text that says ‘I don’t want this person knowing that there is anything going between us.’ And because of the situation you just smile and greet. I mean, why would you want to ruin a good thing?

*They don’t even know how your day goes; but ask your colleagues, your friends, they could probably tell you highlights of most of your days. When you need to call somebody, they are probably not the first call you will make. Because your situationship is so light and uncomplicated, the heavier stuff in your life is shared with the people who came before your current, whatever they are.

*The sex is good. Really good. Sometimes you ask yourself, ‘what am I even doing here?’ and then you remember. His social media doesn’t know of your existence. These pseudo relationships last as long as they do because parties aren’t quite ready to let go of the semblance of something. A situationship has the potential of developing into a full-fledged relationship. So you may very well have a lot of selfies together, in (un)compromising positions, but never expect to see those pictures on their WhatsApp, or stories or anything.

*You are a vampire. If you think about it, you will notice that a lot of the time you spend together is in a controlled or closed setting and invariably at night. You’re at each other’s place and usually there’s nobody else around and you may even spend the night. Bet none of your things stay over though.

Says Charles, 27 years old, who just exited from an 8 month situationship. “You can’t make any demands. Not of her time, not of her attention, nothing. I was constantly avoiding a scenario where I might hear the words, ‘but you’re not my man’. I would strategically suggest, or drop hints here and there. Ended up having to swallow my emotions a lot. It was hard. After so many excuses I realised that I was never going to be upgraded to ‘relationship’ status, so I decided to take some me time and scour the market. This time I will make my intentions and expectations clear from the start.”

Situationships can get messy when each person wants a different outcome than the other. If one partner wants a commitment and the other doesn’t, then being low on their priority list can be painful. Especially if you know that they are dating other people.

“Situationships tend to end up complicated and confusing,” Tess adds. “We are social beings and we want to know how we are perceived by people, what we mean to people and where we stand with people in relationships. If there is no clear definition to our relationships, it can get messy.”

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