Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your loving relationship has devolved into a casual arrangement. It may have even started that way without you knowing. But it's more likely at one time you and your beau had strong feelings for each other and a spark that solidified your commitment. So how do you know when the passion has fizzled and your relationship simply exists instead of thriving?
Here are 4 signs you're actually in a situationship:
1. It's built on convenience
It makes financial sense to move in together after a while. But if splitting the rent was your main priority and the person you picked was less than ideal, your living arrangement trumped your love. And convenience played a major role in bringing you together. Other situations can conjure a convenient love affair as well. Like dating someone your kids love but you feel meh about. Or having a built-in babysitter and maid with a younger, less driven stay-at-home partner. If there are prominent practical reasons for your courtship you may have started out in a situationship.
2. It's easier to stay together
If you came together out of love you might be staying together out of simplicity. It could just be too expensive and complicated to break up. Ending your relationship could prove problematic, especially with children in tow or a mortgage to figure out. Dividing assets can be costly, and can have a negative impact on your family dynamic. Saving your kids or yourself from the stress, confusion and heartache of a break up may be your number one priority in a situationship. The decision does maintain stability, but it also keeps up a façade. You and your partner may choose to stay together as a family unit but there isn't much romantic love to go around. There is more cordiality and mutual respect than a spark.
3. It's fragile
A situationship is a delicate tightrope that depends on several factors fitting into place. It's a balancing act that can usually be easily toppled. This means even if you think your union is strong a small change in your arrangement could pull you apart. Maybe your babysitting, housekeeping stay-at-home partner wants a real career. Maybe your children have grown and moved out, leaving your meh partner home alone with you all day. Maybe you've gotten a great promotion and don't need to split the rent with a less than ideal partner anymore to make ends meet. If your union was built on a better foundation these changes wouldn't rock your relationship.
It's easy to end up in a situationship when you, your partner, or both of you are simply afraid of starting over. You've spent years together building a family, making friends and working toward your goals. Now splitting up would mean jumping back into a dating pool that looks totally foreign to you. You might know how to be in a relationship or marriage, but you may have lost your mojo when it comes to dating.
Then you have to learn how to live with another person. You've gotten used to the partner you picked and experienced all their quirks. Now you have to see if you can do that all over again. Dealing with new, unfamiliar baggage can be a daunting task. And new love interests can try and pick you apart for your flaws as well. Sometimes it's just easier to tolerate the one your with than risk picking again.
Situationships can occur in any phase of life. It's important to know that as a relationship ages it often evolves into close companionship. But you can still maintain fun and passion at any stage. Think about what's important to you and how dedicated you are to those things. If love, respect, joy and affection don't make the top of your list, your situationship might be showing.