“The next time you’re tempted to emotionally invest in someone before you’ve established what they want and if they qualify, evaluate the risks of your emotional investment.”
In my 20s, I frolicked through many siatuationships. It was usually due to me wanting a relationship with a guy but him stringing me along to avoid commitment. But in the midst of his commitment avoidance, we were doing everything a relationship entails but we weren’t committed to one another nor was there a title attached to what we had. Sounds extremely confusing right? Because it is! It is pure nonsense if you ask my current 32 year old self. But most people who end up in situationships don’t set out to be in them. They just sort of happen. Before I jump in, let me give a clear definition of a situationship.
Situationship: A romantic relationship without a commitment.
Speaking from my own experience, my goal was always a committed relationship. I wanted to be somebody’s girlfriend, not someone’s situation. But due to an eagerness to attach to men I thought were decent humans, I fell into this trap over and over and over. I would meet a guy and we’d start hanging out consistently, going on dates, having sex, all without discussing what the goals of our scenario was. I’d assume we were working towards something serious but you know what they say happens when you assume. My feelings would get involved after so much time spent and I’d ask “What are we?” and he’d say something along the lines of “You’re cool and I enjoy the time we spend together but I’m not looking for anything serious right now.” I’d then die inside but create false hope that one day, he’d come around and see me as more than just a situationship. But that would never happen and eventually, I’d have to choose myself and walk away with the little dignity I had left.
After years of repeating this nonsense, I told myself I would never subject myself to that tomfoolery again and I made good on that promise. I don’t play those reindeer games with nobody’s son anymore. Here’s what I did to avoid situationships for good.
Know What You Want and Say It
One of the main issues in dating today is a lack of self awareness. Most people have no clue what they want so they just go around using other people until they figure it out. This is why you have to know exactly what you want to 1) avoid being used and 2) know exactly what needs to be said up front. The reason most people fall into this trap is because intentions aren’t stated early on. When you don’t state what you want or what you need, your needs and wants will go unmet. This is why you must develop a habit of being completely sure about what it is that you need and want and stating just that. Many people hesitate to do this because they feel it’ll scare the people they like off. But isn’t that what you want? Why do you think companies put a “requirements” section in the job description? So that the people who are unqualified don’t waste their time applying. You should operate like that company. State what it is you’re looking for up front so you eliminate unqualified candidates.
Understand the Risks
When people settle, it’s never because they woke up one day and said “let me accept less than what I want”. It just happens because most get tired of waiting, fear that what they want isn’t out there, inability to be alone, and etc. I can list more but you get the picture. I think when choosing a person to entangle with, folks are looking too hard at the pros but aren’t weighing the cons.
They’re thinking things like…
- I finally have someone to go places with
- They’re so fine
- I can get my Netflix and chill on
- I can finally get some affection
But they’re ignoring the risks involved in entertaining someone that doesn’t fit your wants or needs. It’s truly a set up for disappointment. When you know you want a relationship, but you date someone who doesn’t you risk…
- Investing more effort and emotion than the other person
- Unrequited love
- Bitterness after realizing that person will never be who you want them to be
- Feelings of unworthiness after trying to figure out why you’re not “good enough” for them to commit to
Why would you want to subject yourself to these cons just to get a small dose of the pros? The next time you’re tempted to emotionally invest in someone before you’ve established what they want and if they qualify, evaluate the risks of your emotional investment.
Commit to Your Standards
A lot of people have standards, but only a few stand on them. Saying you don’t date men who are emotionally unavailable but actually telling a man “I don’t believe you’re in the emotional space to convene with me” are two different things. Standards only work when you work them. I see too many people ignoring their standards because they like a person. Chemistry and feelings are great but that’s temporary. The reason most of us established our standards is to avoid pitfalls from our past. I don’t date men who haven’t been single for longer than 6 months because I need to know I’m not a rebound. That’s a standard. I also don’t date men who refuse to go to therapy because that tells me he doesn’t take his mental health and growth seriously. That’s a standard. If I said “Let me ignore this boundary because he’s cute” then I’d be putting myself at risk. The best way to avoid situationships is by committing to not engaging in siatuationships. That is a standard.
Be Willing to Walk Away
This is the most important part of dating. You have to be willing to walk away. When a person has a demeanor that they will stick around in all situations, it sets them up to be taken advantage of. It says you don’t value yourself enough to choose being alone over mistreatment. In order to avoid siatuationships, you have to be willing to walk away when you find yourself in one. Unfortunately, people lie. You can follow all the tips I listed and the person can seem to be on the same page as you but you still end up in a gray area. As soon as you sense uncertainty, bring it up. If you can’t get clarity or concrete answers, leave. It’s that simple. If they can’t commit yo you, re-commit to yourself because you know you want more. You will find someone who wants what you want but you can only do that when you release yourself from the shackles of situationships.