I was at lunch with co-workers a few weeks ago and one of them remarked that their “situationship” was now a relationship...
Of course, I was intrigued. Any new word to describe a new concept peaks my interest.
She was describing a man she has been dating for the past few months. She didn’t believe that that was a relationship. She believed that it was kind of a situation she was managing until such time as she was ready to call it and allow it to be something more. Ergo, situationship.
Fuck, have I had a few of those! Of course, I called them relationships, which now I have another word to use to describe them. I have also had some hostageships (me and/or them), lopsidedships, completelyfuckingwrongships...I will be honest, at 51 there have been a lot of ships.
Are situationships what we have until we reach the next level of relationship? Is situationship just another word for fooling ourselves? If we are spending time, energy and interest (and usually sex) with another person on a consistent basis but our intent is not really there for it to be lasting, what the fuck are we even doing there to begin with?
Are situationships just tire kicking prolonged? Do we situationship until something better comes along? Do we hang here with a relatively low emotional lode until we are sure we want a relationship with this person? Or are we just labeling a relationship something else so that we feel like we are in control, to make the whole loving thing a little less scary?
I have considered the term and its use daily now since I heard it. It has knocked around in my brain like bricks in the dryer. I have arrived at the following conclusion:
Caring is scary as fuck. Really allowing someone in is hard and terrifying. What if it doesn’t work out? What if they hurt us? What if, what if, what if?
But the pain of uncertainty is the price of admission to all relationships that mean anything at all. You can hang out in situationships forever. Neither person really jumping in, both too terrified to love, care and commit. And for me, why even bother? The effort required to keep someone at arm’s length seems silly. Either let them in or don’t waste anyone’s time, yours or theirs.
I am pretty sure that calling something a situationship is usually done by one person to manage their abject fear of being hurt. They call the thing they are doing with this other person a “situation” to minimize it and hold it at bay. Holding it back, calling it something less than a true, life altering connection, dumbs it down and makes it less scary. Makes it feel more manageable.
BUT, do you really want love to be manageable? I don’t. I want it to feel like I am falling off a cliff, diving into the love abyss. I want to feel that other person falling towards me similarly. I want to be consumed with thoughts about them and feel 15 again. I want to fall in love with all that entails, means and costs.
I got my heart smashed to smithereens a few years back. And it has taken me a long time to get over. A very long time. But it was worth every painful second because I learned so very much and I grew exponentially. So even though it didn’t work out, I went for it. I dove in head first and loved with all that I had. It wasn’t enough but fuck if it wasn’t fucking fabulous.
I have likely had a lot of situationships in my life. People who I kept around and diminished their importance in my life because I was afraid or I wasn’t really all that interested. I can honestly say now, I do not want anymore situationships in my life. No one is going to stay anywhere close to me if I am not willing to let them in and they do not want to be granted access. This doesn’t mean that everyone gets invited in. No the invitation is extended very infrequently, and I vet people way better than I used to, but seriously, if you are worthy and make an effort, I will fling wide the door and show you my shit. If we are gonna do this, let’s get fucking started!
I do not need the diminishing vernacular to make me feel safe anymore. I am good here on my own, I can discern, I can decide, I can take care of myself so you (whomever you might be) do not need to be relegated to a situation in my life. You are either important or you are being moved the fuck on.
For me, the problem with allowing situationships in my life is that they take away time and energy for the foundational relationships in my life, the ones required for me to ever have a loving, committed, caring relationship with pretty much anyone else: me and God. Situationships are just detours. Dead ends that sap me of my strength and energy leaving me depleted and wrung out. I give the time I would devote to myself and my relationship with a Higher Power over to a person that I don’t even like enough to give them the honor of calling them a relationship.
I am sure situationships have their purpose. And I am not judging anyone else’s decisions or relational moniker. I am simply saying that for me, now at this time in my life, if I am not calling something relational, that is a pretty big red flag. Why am I afraid? What is it about this other person that makes me want to minimize my relation with them? Why are they kicking off all my defensive strategies? And if I were to continue with the sitiuationship, I would never, ever get answers to these questions because I would instead be spending time fending off my situation, instead of asking important questions about what the fuck I am doing and why.
I am at a place in my life where I can have fun and I do. I can date and I do. But I am super clear that I am playing for keeps. I want what I had before except this time with staying power. This time, a guy that is willing to do the work and not be afraid to stay and love each other.
I have no idea whether this is in the cards for me. But I know that it is worth doing the work. I know that it is something worth dating for...and I really loathe dating. However, apparently, if you want to find lasting love, you have to date. Who knew?
Situationships are fine. But not for me, not anymore. I would rather work on my relationship with myself and God. I would rather spend time with my kids, family, friends and animals than waste my precious time, fending off another passing folly, a near miss. And I think that I finally love myself enough to allow those people not really meant for me to just pass right on by. No clinging to those who are not right for me. And recognizing the many that I am not right for either.
I guess what I have learned is that I am still really and all or nothing girl and that is not likely to change. And I like this about myself. It shows me where the value is, I either care enough to jump in or I care enough to tap out. Either way, I fucking care and am not allowing myself and my life to be co-opted into some mind numbing situation that doesn’t serve anyone. I have learned that my fear is there to teach me something, always. And for me, if I am legislating someone into a situation instead of a relationship, that speaks volumes.