What to do when your situationship goes south

Dictionary.com defines a situationship as a “relationship that is more than a friendship but less than a committed relationship.” Though most high school students probably don’t need to define a word they already know so well. With the ever-growing influence of social media, relationship culture is changing in a dramatic way. There seems to be a decline in commitment and a surplus of people stuck in the purgatory that is the “talking” stage. 

It must be stated that situationships are, in theory, not inherently wrong. Don’t let this disclaimer get to your head. Your situationship is probably terrible. A clearly communicated, uncommitted relationship with defined boundaries is not a bad thing. However, problems arise when there is an unequal power dynamic or lack of communication between parties, which almost always exists for teenagers. 

The harm lies in imbalance. When one person is more attached than another, or more in charge, or more experienced, it can lead to a lack of communication and breed emotionally damaging negative self-talk. For both parties, the situation can quickly become toxic. Societal pressures might lead us to shut our own feelings down, leading to self-doubt. 

Ask yourself, are you gaining anything from this relationship? Do you see it going somewhere in the future? Are you benefitting from it at all, or only hurting your own feelings? If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask yourself: Are you sure? The first step to solving the problem is addressing it. 

If any of your answers to these questions are conditional, let me make this abundantly clear: YOU CANNOT FIX THE PERSON YOU ARE WITH. If you find yourself making excuses for your situationship, or telling yourself that you can fix it on your own, just know that you absolutely cannot. Romantic media may lead you to fantasize about saving your partner, or miraculously fixing the relationship somehow. That is not realistic. Some damaged things need to fix themselves. Taking responsibility for another person’s well-being is never healthy, and if you find yourself beginning to do it, take a step back immediately. 

So we’ve established that your situationship is bad. The question becomes, how do you get out of it? Truth be told, leaving a bad situation can be scary, especially if you’re not sure it’s the right thing to do. Let me assure you, it is. 

Reach out to a support system- Whether it be friends or family, surround yourself with the people you love. Sometimes when you are so consumed by another person, it’s easy to forget how severely you are adored by those close to you. Don’t forget that you are loved, with or without the person you are trying to solve like a Rubik’s cube. 

Look inside yourself- To love another person, you must first love yourself. Situationships can easily lead to self-esteem issues or lack of self-confidence, so it’s important to build yourself up before breaking it off. Remember that no matter how hard it is, you will always have yourself. 

Tell it like it is- When the time comes to let your “friend” down, don’t lie. Communicate your feelings openly and honestly. This will help both you and your “friend” come to terms with your “split.” Even if you weren’t really committed in the first place, letting go can be difficult. 

Don’t be ashamed- We’ve all made our fair share of bad decisions. Staying in a bad situationship is not the worst thing a person can do. Don’t let it get you down!

Lastly, don’t beat yourself up about what could have been. There are better things than the person you liked in high school. In ten years, it’s likely you won’t have any recollection of this. And some situations are better forgotten!