You’re not just friends, you’re not hookup buddies, and you’re not romantic partners. So what are you? Do you want more? Find out what it takes to turn your situationship into a relationship.
If you’re caught in a web between all those titles, you might be in a “situationship”.
There’s nothing wrong with casual dating. But situationships aren’t just casual relationships. There’s an emotional connection and usually at least one person who fantasizes about something more. This could well be a motivation if you want to turn your situationship into a relationship.
If that person is you, here’s how to turn your situation into a relationship.
What do I need to know?
But first: What Is a Situationship?
A situationship feels like a relationship but without any set relationship status. You and the other person share more than just a casual or a friends-with-benefits (FWB) arrangement.
There’s an emotional bond, though it might not be as strong and consistent as in an official relationship.
What you share is one confusing, undefined situation (hence the name).
One or both of you may still be seeing other people, but it might feel like you’re each other’s number one. Or it may be that neither of you are dating outside the situationship, yet the reason you’re not in a real relationship remains vague.
In some rare instances, though, this confusion serves a function.
When Situationships Work (and When They Don’t)
The term “situationship” is still relatively new, following similar casual relationship styles like FWB, sex buddies, and one night stands.
With time, perhaps the situationship will be embraced as its own category of relationship, perfect for those who want more than a casual relationship but less than a significant other.
The situationship works when:
- It is intentional. For example, a situationship might be comforting if you recently got out of a breakup.
- It can be the perfect option if your lifestyle or living situation is temporary (like if you plan to relocate soon).
- The situation is a great option if you’re still not sure about what you want from dating. You can be interested in having a close connection while wanting to maintain a no-strings-attached approach.
In these instances, a situationship and all its confusion might actually feel safe and practical, as long as the other person is on the same page.
But the murkiness of situationships can also make them extremely toxic and taxing to your mental health. A lack of clear boundaries and the blurry combination of FWB and a romantic relationship can be stressful to deal with.
And typically, it’s normal for at least one person to catch feelings because of the closeness and intimacy involved. And this can feel very frustrating when you don’t know if you really have a future together.
The only way to change that is to turn your situationship a relationship with the other person.
7 Steps to Turn Your Situationship Into a Relationship
Can you turn your situationship into a relationship? Short answer: yes. If you’re looking to progress from “situation” to significant other, there are a few steps you can take to turn your situationship into a relationship.
1. Know Your Worth
If you’re someone who prefers an undefined situationship, that’s great! There’s nothing wrong with preferring to keep things casual.
But if you want a serious relationship, know that you’re worth nothing less than that.
Sometimes, when we’re really into someone, we’ll settle for breadcrumbs and situationships just to have them. But then, we’re putting them on a pedestal while ranking ourselves lower, as if this is the best we can do.
You can have more if you decide you want more by moving to turn your situationship into a relationship.
2. Consider Why You’re in a Situationship in the First Place
Think over any practical concerns or reasons for your situationship.
For example, will one of you be moving soon? Do you have busy schedules, making a real relationship difficult to prioritize?
Or are there major red flags and compatibility issues that have kept you from deciding to turn your situationship into a relationship?
Make sure that now is a good time to turn your situationship into a relationship (but only if you want it) and that you’re actually a good match for each other.
3. Take Responsibility
If you want to turn your situationship into a relationship, it’s important to identify your part in it first.
You don’t want to be in a situationship, yet part of you might be scared of a committed relationship. Settling for a booty call and casual hookups might feel safer.
Know your role in the situation and how your own actions or feelings may have played a part in creating it.
It’s okay to change your mind about what you want, but just be sure to check in with yourself and your feelings as your relationship progresses.
4. Start Changing Your Communication Habits
Stop talking to the other person like a friend or hookup buddy. Start sharing more personal information (if you feel comfortable doing so), and try asking for their opinion or advice more than you would have in the past.
You might also want to stop relying on text messages and memes to connect. Take your communication offline and start initiating face-to-face time on a regular basis.
5. Bring Them in Your Circle
If you were serious about someone you started dating, you’d want to introduce them to the people in your circle. The same applies if you want to turn your situationship into a relationship.
Invite them to outings with your friends, or think about introducing them to your family.
Remember, though, that even in an already-defined relationship, meeting a partner’s friends and family can be intimidating, so go slow. Don’t put too much pressure on them if they are feeling unsure. Ask them to join a casual day with one friend at first, or introduce them to a sibling in a low-pressure setting.
6. Discuss Exclusivity
You don’t have to rush into putting a label on things. But consider bringing up the topic of exclusivity with your situationship partner.
Let them know that you’re comfortable being exclusive, where you won’t date or hook up with others. Then, ask about their thoughts and if they’re comfortable doing the same. This is an important step if you want to turn your situationship into a relationship
If they’re not, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to establish a serious relationship. The only exception is if you’re both comfortable entering into an open or polyamorous relationship.
7. Speak Up
The final step to turning a situationship into a relationship is to make your move and speak up about your feelings and what you really want.
Talking openly to the other person can be scary. It’s normal to fear their rejection or worry that you’ll ruin your future friendship. But once you decide you want something more, it’s too late; the easygoing, casual relationship you might be trying to protect is already gone.
What if They Don’t Want to Turn Your Situationship into a Relationship?
Not all situationships can evolve into a relationship.
There are two common scenarios you might face after confessing that you want to turn your situationship into a relationship:
- They agree that they want a relationship, yet you’re still not official.
- They directly tell you that they don’t want anything serious.
In both scenarios, it’s important to know when to let go.
If they express an interest in a real relationship, but they delay moving forward or say they need more time, set a deadline for yourself for how long you’re willing to wait.
In most cases, if someone really wants to turn your situationship into a relationship, there won’t be much delay or uncertainty.
However, be aware that their procrastination may be out of fear, which is normal and requires empathy and understanding. But it could also be because they don’t really want the relationship.
Either way, you shouldn’t settle for that. Whether it’s a couple weeks or a couple months, decide on the amount of time that you’re willing to wait, and be prepared to let go if that time has come and still nothing has changed.
And remember, the deadline you set is for you, not them. Hold yourself accountable to give up when you need to, and don’t try to give them an ultimatum or pressure them into a relationship.
In the event that the other person directly says they don’t want a relationship, respect their decision. Even if it stings, their honesty is a good thing.
Trust their word, and know that it is very unlikely that they will change their mind.
And even if, one day, they do want a relationship with you, there’s no need to wait around for them. Explore other options, date new people, and you might find someone who is ready to take things to the next level just like you.
Other Reasons to End Your Situationship
If you’re starting to feel exhausted from your situationship, and there are no potential solutions, it might be time to end it.
And that might mean cutting the other person off for good. These are the signs a situationship is reaching its expiration date:
- One person has already developed feelings for the other.
- The situationship drains significant time and energy from a person’s life, without offering consistent benefits.
- The relationship is unpredictable, with only last-minute plans and no commitments.
- You share deep intimacy like in an official serious relationship while skipping over the commitment stage, leading to insecurity and uncertainty.
- There are no clearly-defined rules or boundaries, making it hard to ask for what you want.
Conclusion: How to turn your situationship into a relationship?
Start by defining what type of relationship you want and why. Reflect on your part in making your situationship what it is. Then, align your actions and requests with the type of relationship you want. Finally, communicate openly about your feelings and needs with the other person in order to progress from situationship status to something more meaningful.
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FAQ on Situationships
Here you can find answers to common questions regarding how situationships work.
Is it bad to be in a situationship?
In most cases, there are more drawbacks of being in a situationship than advantages. In the rare case that both you and the other person are completely on the same page, a situationship may work. But without proper boundaries and clear expectations, it’s likely to lead to frustrations and unhappiness, rarely blossoming into a healthy relationship.
How long can you be in a situationship?
Situationships can last for months or even years. As a rule of thumb, expect that if someone wants to be in a real relationship with you they would usually act on it no later than the six-month mark. If you don’t want to wait that long, be honest about what you want in order to avoid prolonging the situationship.
How do you turn a FWB into a relationship?
Compared to a situationship, the expectations with FWB are more defined. You generally like and respect each other as friends, but there’s also a sexual element. And once that part is gone, you would still have a friendship. In order to turn a FWB into a relationship, communicate this desire. Then dial down some of the hookups and platonic distance and spend more time dating instead. Plan romantic evenings, start having more intimate conversations, and share details about your everyday life with each other.