In an ideal world, you’d meet someone you like, they’d like you back, you’d start dating, and then live happily ever after. For some people, it works out like a dream. But for everyone else, there’s a lot more uncertainty.
One thing that can really throw you off is not knowing where you stand with the person you’ve been dating for some time now. For instance, you act like a couple when you’re out together, they treat you like their significant other, and they’ve slept over more than a few times. But despite all that, you can’t confidently say you’re “in a relationship.” As confusing as it can be, it does happen a lot. In fact, there’s even a name for it.
“A ‘situationship’ typically involves a no label relationship,” Katarina Phang, “Man Whisperer” and dating coach, tells The Date Mix. “It’s basically casual dating in which there’s no firm commitment from either side.” These are tough situations to be in because one person usually longs for commitment while the other isn’t ready or willing to give it to them just yet.
The good news is, you can turn a situationship into a real relationship. In fact, it happens all the time. Here’s what the experts recommend.
Bring your partner into your world.
One way to transition your situationship into an actual relationship is to introduce your significant other to your friends, co-workers, and maybe even a couple of family members.
“Whether the situationship evolves into a relationship or not, this is one step you don’t want to skip when deciding if someone is right for you,” Kevin Darné, dating expert and author of My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany) says.
If you do become a couple, your partner is going to spend time with them anyway. So why delay the inevitable?
It’s a good move to pull if you’ve been seeing each other for months already. This can also clue you into how your partner is feeling about taking things to another level. If they try to avoid meeting people in your life, this may be a sign they’re just looking to keep things casual.
Replace casual activities with more intimate ones.
“Take activities that are more often seen in situationships and tailor them into something that a ‘real’ couple might do,” Jeannie Assimos, Chief of Advice at eHarmony, says. For example, instead of ending your date night with some fun in the bedroom, end it with ice cream and a really good conversation.
Make it exclusive.
Everyone’s situationship is different. If your particular situation allows you and the other person to date other people, try changing that. According to Assimos, this will be a gateway to a real relationship. There’s also a sense of comfort knowing that your partner is only interested in seeing you, even if they’re not quite ready to commit to an actual relationship.
Limit the texting and talk more in person.
Texting is a great way to stay in contact throughout the day, but too much texting can create a false sense of intimacy and connection. Texting consistently back and forth for a month doesn’t mean anything if you’ve only seen each other in person once or twice over that time. So if you want a real relationship, limit the amount of text conversations you have.
“In texts you can be ignored, tone gets lost, and the flow and timing of the conversation can dwindle,” Tzlil Hertzberg, relationship counselor at MyTherapist New York, tells The Date Mix. “Besides, moving into a real relationship means spending more time with each other. So set the stage from the get go.”
If you’ve been stuck in your situationship for months now and you want a real relationship, speak up. Let your partner know that a relationship is what you want. “This isn’t about ultimatums; it’s about not being afraid to tell people what you want,” Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting LLC, tells The Date Mix. “If the other person doesn’t share this goal, then the dynamic will dissolve and you can go on to find someone who shares the goal of also being in a relationship.”
There’s nothing wrong with being in situationship if that’s what you’re looking for. But if it’s not, it’s OK to want what you want. If your partner is on the same page, you can turn your situationship into an actual relationship.