Move Up or Move On From Your Situationship
Are we dating? Are we just hooking up? Should I introduce them to my friends? My family?
We've all been there, the weird in-between space between friends and something more—commonly known as a "situationship." Likely, you're sleeping with this person or you're involved in nonplatonic activities such as cuddling that can make it feel similar to a relationship, but with some stark differences.
Typically, a situationship hasn't been labeled as anything. You may find yourself having a hard time bringing this person into other social aspects of your life, if only because you wouldn't know how to introduce them. "Friend" is too little, "partner" is too much.
While the undiscussed dynamic may work for some, the trappings of a relationship lead others to yearn for something more. If you've caught feelings, here are some tips for moving beyond the situationship.
Assess the interactions
If you find yourself longing for more time with this person, or want them to be a major part of your life, the first step is to take a step back and assess your interactions with this person. Often, some signs point to whether this person also wants more or if you're the only one invested.
Signs that they want a relationship with you are initiating plans, being quick to respond when you reach out, being in contact outside of making plans, wanting to see you frequently, offering to do things for you that aren't convenient for them and planning future activities with you.
If your contact with this person consists of "You up?" and "Hey, big head" texts at late hours, canceled plans, activities only in a bed or on a couch, or a generally flippant attitude around your time, they probably are content with the way things are.
Evaluate your expectations
Before you have the define-the-relationship discussion, you must know exactly what you're looking for so you can be clear in your communication and firm on your position. If you're happy with the way things are right now, but you'd like the situationship to eventually progress to something more, make sure you express that. Perhaps you don't want to lose this person, but you want to let them know that without going on proper dates, you're not sure if you want to stick around for just sex. Or maybe you're uncomfortable with the idea of a nonexclusive relationship.
Now is the time to decide how you'd like to change the dynamic of the situationship for the better.
Have the talk, prepare for the worst
Forcing a situationship to become more can be scary. You're introducing the concept of emotional intimacy to someone who may or may not feel the same way. While every situation is different, the difficult truth is if you're bringing this conversation to the table without any signs of positive reinforcement, it's highly likely your situationship partner isn't looking to pursue a relationship with you—if they wanted to, they already would have.
Having this conversation may be the end of your situationship, as the other person might be uncomfortable continuing knowing they don't return similar romantic feelings. So when you have the talk, be vulnerable and honest, but respectful of how they feel, too.
You've been brave and told your romantic interest you want something more, but they don't. Instead, they propose to keep things the way they are. Are you willing to take the deal? Sure, they check some of the boxes you're searching for in a romantic partner, likely the physical aspects like sex and cuddling, but you should ask yourself if that's enough.
Settling into a situationship when you want a relationship can be more emotionally straining than being alone. Don't accept anything less than what you want. If this person doesn't want to move up to a relationship status or can't entertain the idea of it happening in the future, it may be best to move on. Chances are good you'll find someone else who wants to check all your boxes.