Education Reform Initiative | ERi

10 Telltale Signs You’re In A Situationship, And Not A Relationship

Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action. Frankly, every person involved in casual relationships will have their own set of rules to follow. Casual dating is seeing one or several people on an ongoing, light basis.

If you go on a date or two and decide the person just isn’t right for you, let the person know in a kind and respectful way. If casual sex is out of the question for you, you’ll need to make this known as well. For instance, maybe you only check your dating app for 15 minutes three days a week instead of checking it constantly. If dating limits your time for hobbies or other things you enjoy, consider cutting back on dates for a bit. Boredom, loneliness, anxiety about your future, sexual frustration, stress —dating often seems like a good solution to these problems.

At a certain point in any relationship, you are bound to be introduced to the friends of your partner. If you have been seeing someone for some time, and have yet to meet anyone that’s important to them, then this is probably a sign that you are not in a relationship. If things are getting serious, and your partner is ready to start making you a priority in their life, they will start to introduce you to people that are close to them. This can be through group outings or even inviting other couples along to date night.

You’re meeting each other’s family and friends

Figure out what your basic needs are early on, Cramer says. If you there’s something you can’t live with long-term, this new relationship may not be the right one for you. While your differences in hobbies and interests can add some excitement to a relationship, it is important to have similar values and goals for the future. If you and your partner are on different pages about the pacing of your relationship, you’ve had a conversation about it, and they still keep wanting to push forward really fast, they may not be the one for you long-term.

If you do want to establish physical intimacy with a partner, casual dating can offer consistency in this respect as well (i.e., having sex with the same partner). Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future digital Valentine, it’s time to start browsing. This is where the significant differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in women’s hands; men can’t even contact a woman unless she’s first expressed interest.

Be honest and transparent about expectations

If you’re dating when you’re not ready for a relationship, be open to all your options. If your partner starts making more plans with friends and isn’t making the effort to include you, Morgenstern says, that’s an early sign your relationship may not last. When this happens, the tendency is to cling onto the relationship so that you don’t lose it. But as she says, “that is the absolutely worst thing to do.” For non-daters younger than 50, having more important priorities is the dominant reason why they are not looking for a relationship or dates (61% say so).3 Meanwhile, 38% of older non-daters say the same. A small share of singles report that they are, in fact, currently casually dating someone.

If you feel nervous about what to say, gather your thoughts and write them down before having an in-person conversation. Or practice what you want to say with a close friend or confidant. Kahan says no matter how tempting technology is, the most important thing is to have a face-to-face conversation. “It’s never ok to do it over email, phone, or text,” she says.

It can be painful to find out that the person you are seeing is not being exclusive, especially if you assumed as much, but because the situationship is so undefined they aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong. Talks about exclusivity can often elucidate whether you are in a situationship or a relationship. If you feel confident at this point that you want things to be serious, go ahead and tell them that you’re ready to move from a casual to a committed relationship, says Trespicio. “Explain what kind of relationship you want and why, defining what commitment means for you without giving an ultimatum,” she suggests. If they aren’t open to a discussion, let them mull it over for a couple of weeks.

In a relationship there’s commitment from both of you

In other words, evidence that shows couples as less happy and more likely to divorce may be influenced more by the specific couples and not the couples’ relationship style. Casual dating may or may not lead to more divorce rates in the future, depending on the person you are dating and the likelihood of a long-term relationship. Casual dating implies a desire to maintain a relationship, even though it is deemed casual.

Not only can you video chat with dates, but you can also broadcast yourself live to various communities. If you are seeing someone who is seeing other people, it’s a sign that you are in a situationship. That is, unless you have already talked about your relationship and decided that you are going to be open, but if that is the case, you probably aren’t reading this….

At first blush, casual dating can seem like an effortless way to forge new connections and ease loneliness without having to get too attached. “If someone’s casual, you don’t care if they don’t get along with your best friend,” says Mendez. The connection is about you and that person, as well as what you do and talk about together, not about how they can be further incorporated into your life. Additionally, there may not be a long list of activities you do with your partner in a casual relationship.

You’re not putting all your eggs in one basket—you’re still deciding whether you’re a good match and want to take things to the next level. You’ll likely have moments where you feel nervous, self-conscious and sometimes overthink things. You know you’re in the dating phase still when it feels like you’re both still sizing each other up.