Love Island is back, this time with a new All Stars format with former contestants heading back into the villa at a second chance of finding romance.
Of course, as well as teaching us a whole new language, the series also offers a reflection of some of the real-life relationship set-ups many modern daters find themselves in, including the 'situationship'.
This term is defined as a relationship which crosses the line of friendship into romance but lacks clear definitions and commitments.
The very nature of the show sees islanders navigating uncertain romances with potential love interests, without clearly drawn boundaries. Situationship is the perfect word to describe this kind of entanglement where there are no labels yet, but one partner might assume it to be exclusive.
Take Mitch and Liberty, for example, the on-again-off-again duo have been arguing like a couple, without having any commitment.
Then there's talk-of-the-series, Georgia Steele, who appears to be stringing along Callum in their own situationship, as he's unaware she is telling Tom she "fancies him more".
But it isn't just in the Love Island villa where this kind of undefined couplings are occurring. Searches for "What is a situationship relationship?" have risen by 800% in the past 12 months, so it's no surprise people are feeling confused and misguided about their own pairings in the dating world.
Unlike conventional relationships, situationships can leave individuals feeling uncertain about where they stand with their partner, especially if they want something more long-term.
Thankfully, relationship expert and founder of Chapter2, Nicky Wake, has shed some signs to look out for which could indicate you could have stumbled into your own situationship, and how to decide if it’s the right path for you.
Signs you're in a 'situationship'
1. Undefined labels
One of the primary indicators of a situationship is the absence of clear labels. "Unlike committed relationships, where a partner defines their status as official or ‘off the market’, non-committal relationships lack definition," Wake explains.
2. Conversations about the future
In healthy relationships, partners will discuss the future together such as booking holidays or celebrating milestones. "In a situationship, discussion about future events is notably absent," Wake notes. "If conversations about long-term goals, such as meeting their social circle, are met with discomfort, awkwardness, and a shift in topics, without genuine reason, it could be a sign that your connection isn’t long-term but situational."
3. Last-minute plans
Everyone gets busy in their daily lives, but when you’re dating someone, you should be able to book time to see them. "If you’re finding it hard to plan dates with your partner, and instead confirm only a day or a few hours before, you might be low on their priority list," Wake explains.
Situationships lack consistency, which can leave you feeling anxious, and unhappy. "Effective communication is the backbone of any successful relationship," says Wake. "If your interactions are confined to sporadic texts or one-off meet-ups without meaningful conversations about emotions, you might be in a situationship."
5. Limited emotional support
Mutual emotional support is key to building a firm foundation together. "This is especially important if you’re new to dating due to the loss of a partner or divorce," Wake explains. "You need to look for someone who can help you navigate life’s challenges and be each other’s emotional anchor. If your partner is not compelled to provide the level of emotional support found in committed connections, it might be time to take a step back."
6. There’s always an excuse
If you really like someone, you want to make time for them. "In a situationship, you might hear frequent excuses in response to arranging meet-ups," Wake explains. "This can cause upset and knock your self-esteem. Try to talk to your partner about your feelings towards this, and their response will help you decide if the situation is right for you."
7. Lack of reassurance
You don’t need reassurance each day, but every now and then, it’s nice to hear how someone feels about you and the relationship you have built. "When communicating any concerns, your partner should reassure you of their feelings," Wake advises. "If you leave the conversation feeling more confused than before, chances are you’re in a one sided situationship."
How to decide if a 'situationship' is right for you
Determining whether a situationship is right for you involves a careful evaluation of your own values, needs, and long-term goals.
"Reflect on your own expectations and desires from a relationship in your current period of life, considering past experiences," Wake advises.
"If you are comfortable with ambiguity and enjoy the freedom that comes with an undefined connection, a situationship might align with your preferences. However, if you value clarity, defined roles, and long-term commitment, a more traditional relationship may be a better fit."
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