Situationships: The Relationship That No One Wants To Be In

Photographed by Renell Medrano.
Have you ever dated someone or had a friend with benefits who you spent so much time with that it felt like you were in an official relationship, even though technically, you weren't? Maybe you saw each other multiple times a week, had sex regularly, texted all the time, and told each other everything… for months on end. Maybe you were dating but hadn't yet defined the relationship, or maybe you were "just hooking up." Whatever you called it, even though it was casual on paper, it didn't feel casual. If this has happened to you, you've been in a situationship.
The highest-rated Urban Dictionary definition describes a situationship as, "A relationship that has no label on it... like a friendship but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship." The example really hits home: 
Me: Me and this guy have been talking for six months now.
Friend: Are you guys together?
Me: It's like we're together but we're not... it's more of a situationship that's happening.
The second-highest-rated definition hits at the reason why many people get so frustrated with situationships: "Let’s just chill, have sex, and be confused on the fact that we are not together but have official emotions for each other." 
And the IMDB summary of a short film called "The Situationship" puts it perfectly: "What happens when you find yourself in an almost, kind of, maybe pseudo-relationship with someone who is not on the same page as you? A situationship."
As someone who's been in a situationship or two herself, here are a few other signs you may be in one: You see each other every weekend, but you only make plans last minute. You've hung out with their friends and might have even met a few coworkers, but they would never consider taking you as their +1 to a wedding. And you talk about everything — their high school breakup, your work drama — except for your future. 
And that's the key to ending a "situationship": talking about it. It's scary — terrifying, even — but if you want things to change, you have to tell the person what you want, and ask if they're open to it.
"In general, people enjoy ambiguity because it feels safer," Kayla Knopp, a clinical graduate student who studies facets of commitment in relationships at the University of Denver Centre for Marital and Family Studies, previously told Refinery29, "but my argument there is that it's always better to know." 
So if you've caught feelings and want to turn the situationship into a relationship, say so. If they insist they want to keep things casual, at least you'll know where you stand.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series