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My Imperfect Life
My Imperfect Life
Danielle Valente

So, you're in a situationship—here's how to survive, according to dating experts

a closeup of a confused couple on a pink background

Surviving a situationship—much like the connection itself—can be tricky. 

With a situationship, there's plenty of grey area and unknown territory that you don't get a chance to romantically explore. You get to enjoy all that comes with an intimate connection, but a lack of labels stops you from taking things to a more serious level. 

Though it's a trend that can quickly lead to dating burnout, it is possible to make this murky situation less stressful. Let the experts explain it all. 

For more about the phenomenon, have a look at our expert-backed advice for ending a situationship and what to avoid if you want a relationship, not a situationship.

The keys to surviving a situationship

You're diving in! You're seeing someone but still not quite in relationship territory. Here's what you need to do if you believe you're in a situationship.

1. Understand the situation

No pun intended, but assess the situation from the get-go. Is your partner looking for something short-term, or developing something serious? In situationships, it's likely the former. Narrow down the basics before things get going. 

"Knowing and understanding the very definition of a situationship can set you up for ‘survival," said Dr. Callisto Adams. "Know what your boundaries, expectations, and needs are. If you believe your boundaries are being respected, expectations and needs met, and dignity respected, then you’re on for a successful exploration of situationships."

2. Be realistic

Let's say you've met a match but know they might not potentially in it for the long haul. You might not be in it for the long haul. Perhaps it's all just a temporary case of wanderlove. Whatever the case might be, take off the rose-colored glasses and see the connection for what it is, not what you want it to be. Dating coach Jacqueline Fae is all for practicality. 

"Make sure that it is a real romantic relationship and be realistic about it," she previously told My Imperfect Life. "Sometimes it's not and it might not really go anywhere—and that's OK. Make sure you're on the same page before you invest your time and energy."

3. Communicate clearly

The only way to get on the same page with someone is to express what you're looking for. How are you supposed to know that the cutie on your morning commute is only looking for a summer romance if he or she doesn't say it, and vice versa? Candid talks weed away matches that don't work well. 

"Communication is considerate in any partnership, regardless of the level of commitment, so it’s best to make your level of attachment clear if you want to be considerate of the other person’s feelings," Maria Sullivan, a dating expert and vice president of told us.

4. Don't change your values

Regardless of whether you want something to last forever or only until next month, that's totally fine. Do what works for you, and do not switch up your ideals in favor of someone else's choices. 

"Now, if [your match] acts the opposite of what you communicated despite them being aware of what you told them, then you know what the right thing to do is," Dr. Adams noted.

5. Know when it's time to move on

The thing about situationships is that they're temporary. Should the connection not be progressing the way you'd like, know when it's time to call it quits. Do not hold out in hopes for something that likely will not happen.

"If you know in your heart that this isn’t the right situation for you, you must follow that feeling," dating coach Rikki Dymond told us. "Sometimes those hard decisions come with guilt (especially if you care about the other person), but remind yourself of what you want, need and desire—and that you are worthy of having all of those things!"

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