Modern dating can sometimes feel like a fucking battlefield.
If you don’t go into it prepared, you can bet your ass you won’t make it out alive.
And by “alive,” I mean heart fully in tact and successfully setting into the relationship that you’ve been looking for. Not the opposite of dead. I’m just dramatic.
So like anything else that’s grueling and potentially dangerous, you need to be prepared or you’re gonna get burned.
Or worse: fall into a never-ending (or ending and brutally painful) “situationship.”
Dun, dun, dunnnn. (see? dramatic.)
If you don’t know, now you know: a situationship is a relationship that’s not yet a committed relationship but is more than just a hookup situation.
One or both parties’ emotions are more invested in situationships than in hook up situations because you typically spend more (and higher quality) time together and communicate on a deeper level than if you were just hooking up.
This often causes this type of relationship to be toxic and emotionally draining, especially if you’re the one who’s looking to seal the deal and make the relationship “official” but you either don’t know where the other person stands or you know they don’t want to be committed to you but hope they’ll eventually change their mind.
Hence why it’s important to avoid falling into a situation-shit…er, ship.
Here’s how to avoid falling into a situationship when you know you want to be in a committed relationship:
1. Think about the specific kind of relationship and partner you want.
Get crystal clear on your values, your non-negotiables, and what you want and need out of a relationship.
What qualities are you looking for in a partner? (The important ones like shared values and lifestyles, not that they’re toned AF and own three mansions. While those are nice, they won’t guarantee a healthy and successful relationship.)
How do you want to be treated and loved?
Do you want a monogamous relationship or an open relationship where you’re primarily committed to each other but can date or sleep with other people without consequence? Or something else?
Do you want to get married and/or have kids?
It’s crucial to think about what is important to you in a relationship and what you want the future of your relationship to look like so you know what to look for (and ask for) when dating.
2. Know your worth.
Here’s where you do the inner work. If you don’t truly believe you’re worthy of being loved and loved well, you will accept less for yourself.
The tricky part is that often we consciously think we’re the shit but unconsciously have wounds that need to be healed which affect our behaviors and thoughts. When this is the case, we act in a way that doesn’t reflect that we think we’re really valuable and worthy of love.
Luckily, you can tap into your unconscious mind by becoming more aware of your patterns in dating.
Think about the kinds of partners you tend to go for. What do they have in common? Is the way they treat you aligned with how you want to be treated? If not, what do you need to change? How can you love yourself enough to find and accept the love you truly want?
This is deep work that often requires help to navigate. Therapists and coaches are great resources.
3. Practice saying what you need.
Write your needs down, then recite them to yourself or a friend. Hell, tell them to your dog if you have to. Whatever it takes to get comfortable expressing them.
It sounds corny but you must be able to be vulnerable and communicate what you need. And practice makes perfect.
Yes, it can be intimidating and scary but what’s scarier is being stuck in a situation that is toxic and making you miserable.
4. Voice your needs honestly and establish your boundaries early in the dating process.
I repeat: early in the dating process.
Be open about your needs. If you’re asked what you’re looking for, be honest. If you’re not asked, you do the asking. You and your potential partner must be on the same page for it to work.
It’s vulnerable to ask for what you need when you’re not sure how the person will react but remind yourself that it’s better for you to know now.
5. If your needs can’t be met at the present time, move on.
If the person can’t honor them now, move on. Don’t stay in the situation thinking the person will change their mind. More often than not they won’t.
You deserve to be with someone who sees so much value in you that they say “yes” a million times to being in a relationship with you. Wait for that person.
These five steps are tried-and-true for finding the relationship that you’re looking for without falling into a situationship disaster. The sooner you can eliminate romantic prospects who want different things than you do, the sooner you’ll be on your way to finding the committed relationship you want and deserve.