I think everyone has one song in their musical Rolodex that is either the perfect song for the right moment of sadness or one that results in a weeklong spiral. For me, that song is “When” by Dodie. The amount of times I have slid down the shower wall to the bittersweet lyrics of this song is embarrassing. She really didn’t need to go that hard.
The song documents the inner feelings of anguish one feels after yet another failed would-be relationship falls apart.
The crux of the lyrical masterpiece for me is in the second verse when she says, “I’ll take what I can get, cause I’m too damp for a spark. Kissing sickly sweet guys because they say they like my eyes, but they’ve only ever seen me in the dark.”
Like I said, she didn’t need to go that hard. However, I’m glad she did, because in this day and age with rampant non-committal situationships running amuck in my and every other person’s life I know of, we need an anthem for the emotional cancer that comes with situationships.
If you talk to someone every day, hang out with them, consistently have sex and do all the things normal relationship partners do but never put a label on it, you my friend, are in a situationship. And you aren’t alone.
At this point, it is the bane of many 20-somethings’ existence, and unfortunately, situationships seem to be the trendier version of friends with benefits but with less boundaries and more scathing trauma.
In my experience, when the end comes it’s just as painful, if not more so, than a breakup. But everyone and their brother seems to think it shouldn’t hurt like a real breakup because there was never a label on the relationship.
With a normal breakup that had all the boundaries and expectations of a committed relationship, we are active agents in the eventual demise of the relationship.
We made all the memories and had all the experiences: the good, the bad and the ugly. Even when the relationship is over, there was some fair warning and an understanding of how it all happened. It’s called closure, and with the gray lines of a situationship, we tend not to have that reassurance.
When the end eventually comes, we are left with all the memories that could have been made and all of the expectations we had but never demanded. When a traditional relationship concludes, we are able to grieve what was, but when a situationship concludes we are only left to grieve all the things that could have been.
In my opinion, letting go of situationships is a lot harder than grieving a traditional breakup.
Situationships blow massive chunks when they’re over. We also can infer that, despite this blowing of chunks, situationships are very in style with our age bracket. Considering all that, I feel like we are left wondering, “How on earth do we avoid these corrosive relationship practices altogether?”
The first thing to take with you on your future relationship adventures is solid boundaries. Figure out what you actually want in a relationship and if you even want one. I think a big reason I have ended up in so many situationships is because I had no boundaries, and I wasn’t even that sure of what I wanted. I was just taking what I could get because I thought I wasn’t good enough for anything else.
Once you’ve figured out what you want, don’t settle. Not for anyone. I don’t care how tall the medium ugly but charming brunette from your bio class is — if he doesn’t want to take you on a date or if he says the words “I’m not looking for anything serious” and then proceeds to kiss you on the forehead — drop him. He’s an indecisive boy, and we’re out here looking for men.
If you find someone who seems decent, I would advise you to keep texting at a minimum and opt for calls, FaceTime, and in-person hangouts. It’s easy to dismiss someone who lives in your phone 90% of the time, but when you talk and you hear the inflections in someone’s voice, you realize they’re a person, and people tend to be much more averse to screwing over an actual person they know.
Finally, if it starts going south and you can sense the end of the affair, don’t be afraid to be confrontational. You can either end it in a mature, self-aware way, or you can give them an ultimatum. If they aren’t willing to give you what you want, leave, and there’s no issue with making that known.
Some people (men) might attempt to make you feel crazy for it, but that’s on them. There’s nothing wrong with showing up for yourself. Hopefully, as time goes on, the situationship — just like bell-bottoms — will go back out of style. But for now, with some carefully created boundaries and the penetrating lyrics of Dodie, we’ll get through the trend and maybe even avoid it all together.