A situationship can be a healthy part of the dating process — but at some point you will have to have “the talk”.
By Orna & Matthew Walters
Written on Sep 07, 2023
Photo: valio84sl, pixelshot, fizkes | Canva
Being stuck in a situationship, or unofficially dating is not the way to grow the long-term relationship you want.
A situationship means you’re spending time together in a romantic or intimate way but have not yet defined the relationship or made it official. Unofficial dating has been called many things over the years – friends with benefits, booty call, or fun buddy, and now the dreaded “situationship”.
The signs for when to talk about the relationship’s status, and if there’s a future for you together can be difficult to recognize and more challenging to act on without seeming pushy.
Be honest: are you unofficially dating … or is it something else?
Unfortunately, many people who want an exclusive relationship find themselves in situationships because they don’t date with intention and instead, they go with the flow. Some single people never evaluate if they’re a good match in the beginning of the dating process, and they end up in a lot of short-term situationships that eat up valuable time.
You can get stuck in murky relationship situations because one or both of you are making assumptions instead of sharing your needs and wants. Another common mistake of situationships is becoming physically intimate and emotionally attached before clarifying what intimacy means to you, and what you expect from a committed relationship.
The strategy of “love by accident” keeps you stuck in a lather, rinse, repeat cycle of short-term relationships. These situationships never go anywhere and leave you frustrated, apathetic, and lead to dating burnout when you realize lasting love hasn’t magically happened for you yet.
If you find yourself stuck in a pesky situationship look for these signs you are unofficially dating.
11 clear signs you are unofficially dating
1. You’re planning future dates.
One clear sign you are unofficially dating is when you regularly make plans for the future. Whether it’s a concert weeks away or a trip together, making plans for the future is a huge sign your situationship is actually becoming a relationship. If your calendar is booked with your new guy weeks in advance, it’s time for the two of you to admit you both want more.
If you’re not talking about or planning future dates and instead are just getting together when it’s convenient, then it’s still casual. Nothing to see here.
2. You’ve introduced each other to friends or family (or both!)
An apparent sign you are unofficially dating is when you’ve met his friends and family, and you’ve introduced him to yours. If this is the case, it’s time to spill the beans and admit your feelings for one another.
If the relationship is kept secret from important people in your lives, then you’re in a grey undefined situationship. Not including other people in your time together means there’s no level of commitment — even unspoken. An integral part of a budding relationship is meeting one another’s friends and family.
3. You’ve made it through your first conflict.
Disagreements and conflict are inevitable in every relationship. Being able to navigate through a bump in the road and create a deeper connection is key to lasting love. If you’ve had a disagreement and found your way to the other side, then it is a good sign you are unofficially dating.
If you both avoid the uncomfortable reconciliation after a conflict, you’ll never create an emotional bond. You’ll excuse bad behavior, and your relationship will always lack trust and commitment.
4. You’re in it for more than physicality.
It’s easy to have great sex with someone who isn’t a good match for you. If you spend a fair amount of time together that isn’t about hooking up, there’s a good chance there’s more than just mutual lust going on.
The classic sign of a situationship is getting together only for physical intimacy. There’s nothing more going on here than pure animal attraction. No one will fall in love with you because you’re great in the sack. It may be fun at first, but it’s not going to be satisfying long term.
5. You’re each other’s plus one.
An obvious sign you are unofficially dating is counting on being each other’s plus one. Whether it’s a wedding, a dinner party, or any celebration that requires an RSVP, you’re willing to be seen at significant events together.
However, if you’re going solo when your sister gets married, then your situation isn’t ready for the next step. You’re free to play the field at the reception.
6. You’re comfortable with emotional intimacy.
An evident sign you are unofficially dating is being comfortable enough to be emotionally vulnerable with each other. No one spills their guts to a stranger, so when you both share your innermost thoughts and feelings then whether you admit it or not, you are unofficially dating.
If you’re both still guarded and monitoring the topics you discuss, then you’re not ready to make things official. Keep your Match.com profile active.
7. You’re talking/texting daily.
When you’re talking daily and sharing your ups and downs together, then maybe it’s time to make things official. You wake up to a good morning text and a sweet goodnight at the end of the day, it sure looks like the two of you are unofficially dating.
If you only talk or text to confirm your next date or hookup, then your connection probably isn’t that strong. This situationship doesn’t have much potential for growth.
8. You’ve left some belongings at each other’s homes.
Whether it’s a toothbrush or an extra sweater because it might get cold, leaving your things at his place or vice versa is a sign you are unofficially dating. You’re comfortable enough with each other to not worry you’ll lose your favorite sleep shirt.
Sneaking out in the early morning so you can rush home and brush and shower before work probably means you’re still just hooking up. Probably best to keep this one to yourself.
9. You can count on each other.
Maybe he’s rescued you from a flat tire or you’ve helped him pick out the perfect shirt to match his eyes, you can count on each other and go out of your way to be supportive. This sweet sign you are unofficially dating brings a smile to your face.
If he’s the last person you’d call in an emergency, then don’t invest your heart. You don’t know each other well enough to ask for a ride to the airport.
10. You’re sharing inside jokes.
When you both find yourselves giggling at the same things, and you share knowing looks between you when you’re out in a group, you are unofficially dating. You’ve crossed over to having a secret language unique to romantic couples (and best friends) — the inside joke. If you’re having this much fun together, it’s time to take the next step and make it official. You’re dating, just admit it.
11. Neither of you is interested in seeing anyone else.
Look, if the two of have taken down your profiles and aren’t interested in seeing anyone else, then what are you waiting for? This is an apparent sign you are unofficially dating and it’s time to make things official already!
Taking the next step can feel a little uncomfortable and scary. Love requires you take a risk, so maybe it’s time to risk your heart and turn your situationship into a budding relationship.
Eventually, you’ll have to have a formal talk about where the relationship is going
When you see enough signs you are unofficially dating and it’s clear you want to make your relationship official, then it’s time to have the talk. You don’t gain anything by keeping your situation murky and vague.
If your situationship has grown into something more, you’ll want to know if he feels the same way. So, how do you have the talk without asking him directly? You don’t want to seem too forward or step into your masculine side, and you don’t want to just sit back waiting and hoping that he feels the same way about you.
Asking him outright forces him to respond to you instead of stepping up to claim you. He may like you but feel unsure if he wants to make it official. On the other hand, he might agree to make it official because he’s not ready to lose you, or he may feel pressured and back off. Either way, you’ve lost a great opportunity to know his heart.
Instead, let him know how you’re feeling and share what’s important to you. Let him know what you desire and you’re looking for a man who shares the same vision. He won’t necessarily pick up your subtle hints so don’t be coy. Be clear about who you are and what you want and most importantly leave space for him to either see his future with you or be willing to set you free.
You’ve got to be ready to move on if he wants to leave things in the gray. If he doesn’t share your feelings, you don’t want to waste your time hoping someday he’ll come around. A guy who isn’t clear about his feelings for you now may never be ready. If he shares your feelings and wants a relationship with you, he’ll want to take you off the market and claim you for his own.
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Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. They’re the authors of the free ebook, 7 Steps To Soulmating.
This article was originally published at https://www.loveonpurpose.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.