“Situationships” Are The New Black…?

Your phone is buzzing. Your heart instantaneously flutters at the sight of the furiously blinking notification light. You’re reaching for it and simultaneously throwing up prayers to the Lord in hopes that He’ll bless you with some sort of communication from that one person you’ve been waiting to hear from for  the past four days. You eagerly open that inbox, only to be greeted by a mass promotional text for some event boasting the irresistible offer of 10 cent wings and $4 you-call-its, or maybe even worse, an email from Rue La La with just enough fashionable ammunition to take you into an online shopping binge (you know, the kind where you fill the virtual shopping cart but never check out…riiiight.)

You feel a slight twinge of that bubble-bursting, high-deflating disappointment, and then attempt to assuage that sinking feeling by doing what you said you wouldn’t do the last time you were faced with this situation: you re-read the last text or BBM conversation the two of you shared. You’re analyzing each emoticon and “LOL” as if they’re a part of some sort of man-code that requires you to delve deep between the lines to locate a hidden meaning. Yes. You are tripping, but you’re not going to allow yourself to get angry, because, well, you have no right. (Or at least, that’s what you’re trying to convince yourself of.) See, this person that you’re waiting to hear from is not your husband, or even your boyfriend, but rather your “situation.” And no, this has nothing to do with a certain cast member of the Jersey Shore.

You and I both know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re not in a committed relationship, but sometimes (if not all the time) you act like it. You’re more than friends but you don’t have any other way to explain your relationship to people when you introduce him to new people. Does this sound familiar? I’m sure it does. These situationshipshave seemingly taken precedence over real relationships, because they’re ambiguous, and thus, “easier.” No commitment means no real responsibility, but that doesn’t mean that someone’s feelings won’t get the best of them in the process. As a matter of fact…someone’s feelings ALWAYS get in the way.

Let’s use fashion as an example. For this demonstration, good old committed relationships will be the classic black. It never really goes out of style, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect for every occasion or season. Situationships are trendy, like color blocking, or floral prints. They’re what’s in for the season, and are therefore on every rack of every trendy little store you go in. But what happens when it’s time to get ready for the next season? You have a bunch of left over bags filled with things that will not stand the test of time. And of course…all sales are final. Sorry, girl.

The problems with situationships always arise when they’re mistaken for real relationships. When people start giving up relationship privileges2 where there is no relationship, expectations are inadvertently formed. From experience, I’m sure you know that expectation leads to disappointment…and disappointment leads to resentment. From there it’s all downhill.

I read a piece a few days ago from writer Jozen Cummings that put things into perspective for me. On a blog post entitled: “Girls You Don’t Fall For: The One Who Loves You Edition,” Jozen recounts the adverse effects of an unbalanced situationship from the perspective of the person who is least invested. Here’s one of the most poignant points:

The last thing I want to do to this woman is love her back all because she loves me. That’s no reason to love anyone. One should never wear someone down into loving them. We have to have our own reasons, independent of other people’s thoughts and actions.

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t play yourself. Holding on, in an attempt to force a relationship on someone will only leave you and that other person in a tough place. So if you value that person…let them go. Other wise…you’ll find yourself in the back of last season’s closet…with the rest of the stuff no one is feeling anymore.

Have you ever been in a “situationship?” Did it eventually become a real relationship? Share your stories.

  1. According to Urban Dictionary situationships are defined as: any problematic relationship characterized by one or more unresolved, interpersonal conflicts. usually confused with dating.
  2. ESSENCE Magazine’s Relationships Editor Demetria L. Lucas (who is also the author of a really dope book called “A Belle In Brooklyn:The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life”) defines relationship privileges as those things that should be reserved for those who subscribe to the commitment. Privileges vary by level of commitment.

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