Aptly defined by Urban Dictionary as “less than a relationship, but more than a booty call,” a situationship can best be compared to a cold war. One person wants change, the other wants things to stay the same, and both parties are too comfortable to actually do anything about it. The push-pull dynamic breeds an unspoken code of silence—it’s only broken if Person A decides to commit/end it (or torture someone else). Meanwhile, Person B withers away in a state of purgatory, hypnotized by the hope that it might just work out (along with an unwillingness to give up the mind-blowing sex).
If you’re reading this article, chances are you fall in the latter camp. And the harsh truth is that most often, the other person *knows* you can’t go 30 seconds on the elliptical without thinking about them—it doesn’t matter how cool you’ve been playing it. So, in turn, your time together becomes rationed. They’re free to pick and choose when you see each other, because let’s face it, you’re not going anywhere, right? And what’s even worse: when you finally get that dopamine rush of a “where are you?” text, you’ll do (and drop) just about anything to be with them.
We’ll use my friend Hailey (not her real name) as an example. A couple of months ago, we were at a bar downtown when Hailey mysteriously disappeared with an investment banker. The next morning, she texted me: “I found my husband.” In the following weeks, she started seeing the banker regularly. He asked her to casual drinks; they’d hang out with his roommates on football Sundays, and he even introduced her to his brother (a major feat for singles in NYC). In no uncertain terms, Hailey was convinced this was her boyfriend. And then one day, she posed the inevitable “what are we?” conversation—and the banker retreated faster than Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow. He began spit-firing a range of excuses from, “I’m just not ready for anything serious” to “work is really crazy” and the conversation ended with “let’s just see how things go.” So now, three months later, Hailey’s stuck wondering whether he’ll ever commit—and secretly hoping he’ll profess his love when he asks her to grab a last-minute drink at 8 p.m. on Friday.