The “situationships”, these false relationships that change the rules

The “situationships”, those fake relationships that change the rules

X and Y meet. X and Y like each other, do activities, have sex, kiss, give each other affection, communicate and see each other on a regular and prolonged basis. Are they in a relationship? At first naive look, we say yes, of course. But that would be ignoring a new trend that overwhelmed many singles in the early 1920s: situationships.

If you haven't heard this term yet, it's normal. The situationships are one of those concepts that name an emerging social trend that is difficult to circumscribe, but which has a very strong resonance with people who have experienced it.

A situationshiphas all the appearances of a serious relationship, without being. There's sex, long eye-to-eye conversations, shared dinners and brunches, moonlight walks, and more. In some cases, the person will even include you in their circle of friends and make room for your toothbrush in their bathroom. In still others, it will go as far as sexual exclusivity. But it's not a real serious and official relationship, because “the relationship label” is rejected by one of the two parties.

The situationship< /em>is halfway between friends with benefits (fuckfriends), whose interactions are essentially based on a sexual arrangement, and a serious relationship. It represents an in-between where affection and romanticism blur the boundaries.

The story of Valérie

Valérie's situationship started with a match on Tinder. For two weeks, datesromantic tours on Mount Royal included, Valérie is living a fairy tale. Then, her prince charming confesses to her that she no longer imagines herself as a couple. Despite this, he continues to write and call her four times a day, for eight months, all accompanied by activities such as French, long conversations, dinners and sex. .

“I have become a resource,” she laments. “He was just using me.”

Valérie had a constant feeling of insecurity. She felt she had to fight hard to be worthy of his attention, she says. “I always felt on the edge.”

By landing her dream job, Valérie regains her confidence, but does not yet feel 100% fulfilled. Something is wrong. Conclusion: it’s him. His lack of interest in her became toxic. When she asks him why he's so distant, he “goes crazy”.

“We stopped talking. I had a few relapses afterwards, but as my psychiatrist told me: there are doors that have to be closed and locked”, she laughs.

If a situationship is desired by all parties, so we observe the emergence of a new consensual relational model in our societies.

On the other hand, if we can conceive that two people can wish to have someone in a stable way in their life while freeing themselves from the responsibilities related to the couple, it turns out, according to the testimonies, that very often, the situationship is not desired by everyone… One verbalized his desire to be in a relationship, the other replied that he did not want it or was not ready, while continuing when even to act “as if” they were in a relationship.

Julie’s story

Julie had a real crush on his matchTinder last summer. The chemistry was good and the lovebirds did a myriad of activities together for a month. As Jay Du Temple would say, there were eventually intimate “reunions” during a camping weekend. Julie then begins to foresee a serious relationship, without anything being officially defined between them.

Then the news falls: her darling obtains a six-month work contract in a remote region.

>Julie is told that she is no longer a priority, and she accepts the situation. A relational vagueness then sets in, from a distance. But it does not work. He ends up telling her that he doesn't want to continue.

“I was disappointed, because I thought we had a good rhythm. There was no sign that it was going to stop.”

An imbalance of power that puts at risk

When it is not wanted by both people, the situationshipwould create a relationship where the emotional and sexual needs of one are met, while the needs for commitment and security of the other are not. It would thus very often be based on a win-lose relationship.

For the loser, not only are their needs not met, but there is also a risk: that of being manipulated. The confusion that arises from the paradox created by the loved one, who acts as if you are together while telling you that you are not, can jeopardize the mental health of the person who loves. And if the winning person has abusive tendencies, they can use the commitment like a carrot on the end of a stick to try to condition the behavior of the other.

“situationships”, those false relationships that change the rules

Stock Illustration

Psychologist Joane Turgeon, a specialist in domestic violence, believes that this way of using the refusal of a label can be associated with the manipulation sometimes used by abusive partners who will constantly threaten the other. to go away. These people place their partners in relational precariousness to better control them.

The situationships also remind the psychologist of the current of free love of the 1970s, which never resulted in egalitarian relationships.

According to Ms. Turgeon, if a person commits to another with actions, and this “other” develops feelings, then the person should stop maintaining this dynamic if they do not want commitment. “It's the responsible thing to do,” she says.

The situationshipalso risks making the losing party confused about the morality of their own actions, as even their single status becomes murky. Should she go away or wait for another? To be sexually faithful or not? Deactivate your profile on the applications or continue to meet people?

The story of Amélie

Amélie reconnected with her teenage love while she was in a relationship. Initially, she refused to leave her ex-husband. The lovers agreed not to define themselves, but Amélie eventually judged that her couple no longer worked and separated. She then turned to her lover, but he didn't want to be in a relationship.

According to Amélie, the most difficult thing to live with was not being able to define what they were going through .

“I had gone to see a comedy show and the comedian said, 'Single people, clap your hands!' I didn't know what to do.”

It was finally after her lover had a serious accident that could have cost him his life that they decided to officially get together. “It gave us a slap in the face, and we were like, 'What are we waiting for?'”

They are now spouses and new parents.

Three scenarios, one conclusion

When a person finds themselves in a situationship, three possible avenues await him: the fake relationship can lead to a real relationship; the fake relationship may end without ever having materialized; the fake relationship can last for months or even years after one of the two people involved admits their feelings. And it is surely this last option which proves to be the most damaging for the esteem and the mental energy of the losing party.

And even in a case where the two people initially said not wanting to put a label on the relationship, “you have to follow up on emotions”, advocates Joane Turgeon.

Sometimes it's as if we don't have the right to develop feelings for someone we meet regularly, when it's something normal. Human nature is to get attached…

Joane Turgeon, psychologist

The 1920s probably did not invent situationship, but the phenomenon seems to have gained momentum in recent years, likely fueled by the widespread use of dating apps. Because these lower the initial investment cost of meeting new people, they can encourage their users to “keep their options open”.

That's what what Valerie believes. According to her, Tinder has changed love patterns and the “three dates rule” is a thing of the past. Bye, bye Cinderella.

People don't understand the dating phase where you don't know where you're going. They are used that after three dates, it is caned. But there are too many options.


Is a situationship necessarily toxic? Not always. But if one person still feels confused, mentally drained, or feels like they have to constantly convince the other of their worth… it's time to consider ending the fake relationship and moving on. look for another, real one, somewhere else.

“If the discussion has already taken place, leave. Dump his ass. If the person is not able to see your qualities, it is not worth it”, recommends in other words Valérie.

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