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June 18, 2024 20 mins

Welcome to another episode of One Hot Mess. Today we're going to be talking about situationships and how to cope when commitment is unclear. Are they the one or just the one for right now?

So are you in a situationship where you are seeing someone but it's not exactly a relationship? You and your partner have fun as a couple and may even be intimate, but you haven't committed to each other or discussed a future together. If so, you may be in a situationship or a relationship without a commitment. Let's delve into what a situationship is, its pros and cons, and some next steps you can take if you find yourself in one.

 Additionally, we will explore the four stages of a relationship: the euphoric stage, the early attachment stage, the crisis stage, and the deep attachment stage. Understanding these stages can help you navigate your relationship successfully.

So, let's talk about this and learn how to handle situationships, and what steps to take to ensure your emotional well-being. Thank you for listening to One Hot Mess. Please make sure to hit that follow button and share with a friend. Have a beautiful day!

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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
Music.

(00:06):
Hi everyone, it's Brittany and welcome to another episode of One Hot Mess.
Today, y'all, we're going to be talking about situationships and how to cope
when commitment is unclear.
Are they the one or just the one for right now? now.

(00:29):
So are you in a situationship where you are seeing someone but it's not exactly a relationship?
You and your partner, you have fun as a couple and may even be intimate but
you haven't committed to each other or discussed a future together.
If so, you may be in a situationship or relationship without a commitment.

(00:55):
So let's talk about this and learn what a situationship is, its pros and cons,
and some next steps that you can take if you find yourself in one.
So situationships, they can be defined as romantic relationships with no clarity or label.

(01:15):
They might include affection, sexual behaviors, and spending time together,
but also involve low levels of commitment.
So, put simply, a situationship is essentially a relationship without any commitment.
And this type of arrangement allows people to experience the benefits of being

(01:39):
in a relationship and being single at the same time.
But a situationship can also leave you unsure what to say when someone asks
whether you're seeing someone.
It's complicated, maybe the only response that seems appropriate.

(02:02):
So how do you know whether your relationship could be defined as a situationship?
Well, here are some characteristics that you could look for.
The relationship is undefined. You and your partner may not have had the what
are we conversation to define the relationship, set expectations,

(02:24):
and outline boundaries.
It may feel too early to have the conversation, or you may not feel comfortable bringing it up.
Also, there's no consistency. and a
lack of consistency is a major
sign that you are in a situation ship it

(02:45):
can be hard to know what to expect from your partner for instance you may not
know when you'll see them next or how long they'll take to respond to a text
or whether they'll make the effort to reach out and there's no mention of the future.
You know, because people in a relationship, they often plan for the future in some capacity,

(03:10):
whether it's going to an event a few months down the road or longer term plans
to settle down and have a family.
In a situationship, there's typically no discussion of the future.
The connection is superficial.
Though you and your partner may spend time together or are even intimate with

(03:33):
each other, you may not have developed a deep emotional connection.
The conversation, it might just be superficial and you may notice that they
never ask you personal questions.
And the relationship is based on convenience. You and your partner may not prioritize
each other or go out of your way to see each other.

(03:56):
Instead, you tend to make spur-of-the- moment plans based on convenience.
Like if you have a gap in your schedule or if something else doesn't work out,
for instance, and the relationship isn't exclusive.
In a situation you and your partner may not have discussed being exclusive and

(04:17):
one or both of you may be seeing other people and there isn't much follow-up.
You and your partner may be in relationship mode in person, but switch back
to casual mode when you're apart.
And you may also notice that they don't take a lot of initiative or follow up

(04:39):
with you on conversations or plans.
Now, I guess there's both pros and cons of a situationship.
So let's go over some of these advantages.
So the biggest advantage of a situationship is that there is less responsibility.

(05:02):
Relationships can consume a significant amount of emotional energy.
Situationships, on the other hand, don't require a huge emotional investment.
People who tend to gravitate towards situationships are those who want emotional
connection and intimacy with a partner in a compartmentalized way.

(05:29):
This type of relationship, it allows them to have an emotional presence and
connection in person, but when apart, they can have their freedom. them.
It also offers a fun, stress-free way to enjoy the benefits of a relationship
without a major emotional commitment.

(05:49):
That is, as long as both partners are on the same page.
Disadvantages of a situationship. Well, a major disadvantage is that each partner
may have different expectations for the relationship.
Even though both partners might agree on the dynamics when they enter the situationship,

(06:12):
one person might grow to want more than the other is willing to give.
And it can also be stressful to be in a relationship without stability or consistency. Consistency.
And this is particularly true if you start to develop expectations of your partner,

(06:33):
but they have not committed to meeting those expectations.
And relationship status can also contribute to your identity and play a role in social dynamics.
So there may be times when not having a committed partner can make you feel,

(06:57):
you know, a little deficient.
All right in in
a situationship neither party may be
honest about what they want out of the arrangement
and in some cases one person
might be content with the casual relationship type

(07:18):
of setup while the other is hoping
that it turns into something more and the mental health impact it can be greater
for the person wanting more as they may begin to connect their sense of self-worth
with gaining the approval of the other person.

(07:39):
And also because situationships tend to be superficial,
the partner wanting more usually does not know the other person well and this
causes them to idealize their partner and in turn devalue themselves.
And people who repeatedly find themselves in these types of relationships,

(08:03):
they tend to struggle with self-worth and find themselves attracted to partners
who make them feel they must earn love.
And this can lead to an unhealthy dynamic.
So what to do if you are in a situationship?

(08:24):
Well, be honest about your feelings.
And it's important to be honest with yourself and to be clear about your intentions for the relationship.
And ask for what you want if you are interested in a more serious relationship.
Consider stating how you feel about the person and asking for what you want.

(08:49):
Either they feel the same and want to pursue a more serious relationship with
you, or they don't and you can move on and find someone who does value you.
It's always better to have an answer because it enables you to move forward.
Avoid the passive approach

(09:11):
if you do want something more from
the other person than a casual relationship taking a
passive approach may be more harmful than you realize spending time without
making your intentions or needs known perpetuates the illusion that you could

(09:33):
still you'll have a chance,
but in reality, it does little to actually change your situation.
Communicate your position. If you're in a situationship and genuinely content
with it, it is important to communicate that effectively to your partner.
Communicate your needs, boundaries, and expectations from the very beginning

(09:58):
to prevent hurt feelings in the future.
So a situationship is a
casual undefined committed or commitment
free relationship and if that's
what you are looking for at the moment it can give you a chance to enjoy the
benefits of a relationship without expending too much emotional energy on the

(10:24):
other hand a situationship can be a difficult place to be if you are looking
for a committed relationship,
the lack of stability and consistency
it can be stressful and you
may find yourself disappointed if you
start to develop expectations either way it is a good idea to communicate with

(10:49):
your partner Let them know what you want so you can check whether you are both on the same page.
All right now let's

(11:11):
talk about the four stages of a relationship navigating the four stages of a
relationship okay falling in love is easy but relationships can be hard despite
Despite what Hollywood tries to sell us,
like anything else in life worth having,

(11:34):
relationships take work.
Some couples successfully weather the storms that inevitably arise,
while others simply drift apart.
And when it comes to coupling, there is no instruction manual.
Continual remember that old

(11:54):
playground mantra first come
love then comes marriage then comes
so-and-so with a baby carriage well if only
were that simple right while some couples follow this traditional trajectory
many people do not fewer couples are getting married some are having children

(12:17):
before marriage and some are choosing not to have children at all.
Every relationship, like every individual, is unique regardless of the path
one chooses when it comes to romantic relationships.
Relationships, whether it's down the aisle or across continents,

(12:39):
the inherent stages of love and attachment essentially remain the same.
A couple's ability to navigate these stages is often the key to their relationship satisfaction.
Neuroscientists and experts in love have outlined four stages of a relationship.

(13:02):
They go from falling in love to living
happily ever after or at
least for a while but so let's
go over yeah the stages
they found along the way along with
ways to success successfully navigate each

(13:23):
one so you can
break these stages down based on when they typically occur
and the stages of a relationship by months are
stage one is the euphoric stage
in six months to 24 months stage two
is the early attachment stage and that's 12 months to 60 months which is five

(13:47):
years stage three the crisis stage five years to seven years and the deep attachment
stage which is seven years and beyond.
Okay, so in the early part of the relationship, you know, the falling in love
stage, the other person is the center of your life.

(14:10):
You forgive everything in these early stages. The other person has faults and
you see them, but it doesn't matter.
Maybe they leave their dirty dishes in the sink, but they make you laugh at
least daily, so it's okay.
Good things outweigh the negative here. One of the most significant findings

(14:31):
in the brain mapping studies,
which was determined to be a key factor in relationship success,
involves what's referred to as the suspension of negative judgment.
Judgment so in other words the longer a couple can maintain suspension of negative

(14:56):
judgment toward each other the better chances they have of relationship success so in this study,
they followed up with participants and the researchers found that the couples
who had had stayed together for three years or more, had the most decreased

(15:17):
activity in this part of the brain.
And how long does this romantic phase last?
Studies have estimated the euphoric stage can last anywhere from six months
to two years, although a small proportion of the population,

(15:38):
about 15 to 30 percent, say they are still in love and that it feels like the
first six months, even after 10 or 15 years later.
And for the general population,

(16:00):
the intoxication of new love will eventually morph into the next stage,
which is early attachment.
So in the previous stage of euphoric love, unconscious factors like attraction
and the activation of the reward system take over.

(16:21):
And in studies done, the brain scans of couples in the early stages of love
showed high levels of dopamine.
In this next stage, the more evolved part of the brain begins taking over.
The region of the brain linked with feelings of attachment and the attachment of hormones.

(16:46):
Attachment hormones oxytocin which
is sometimes referred to as the love hormone and couples
that had been married for at least one year described love differently it's
richer deeper it's knowing them better you know memories have been integrated

(17:08):
both positive and negative you've gone through through some difficulties,
and you've developed a strong attachment.
Then we have the crisis stage, the third stage, and this is often the make or
break point for relationships.
And what happens at this stage is crucial to what comes next.

(17:28):
Almost every relationship has a drift apart phase.
Either you will keep drifting or you will come back together.
You need a crisis to get through and to be able to talk about it together,
you've both grown and changed.

(17:48):
If a couple can overcome a crisis successfully, then they will move to the next
stage, which is the deep attachment.
And the deep attachment stage is the calm after the storm. And by this point,
a couple knows each other well.
They have been through the inevitable ups and downs.
They know that they can deal with crisis and they have likely made a plan for

(18:15):
handling future crisis.
And when developing, not developing, my bad, when describing this stage of relationships.
The term that has been used is calm.
When couples have been together for many years, it's just a very, very calm.

(18:36):
And it's secure.
The deep attachment stage can last a long time. And if you're lucky, it can last a lifetime.
And how can we keep love going?
According to researchers, one of the most effective ways to keeping the spark alive is novelty.

(18:56):
Studies that have followed couples for years and have found they have found
that doing new exciting and challenging activities together have huge benefits for a relationship and,
when you enter into a relationship you literally increase who you are you take

(19:17):
on and share in your partner's perspectives on the world in addition to your
own their social status their resources,
the benefits of new and challenging experiences together are enormous and they last.
And suspension of judgment, rekindling of the early stages,

(19:41):
and maintaining novelty just may be the keys to cracking the code of lasting love.
All right guys, that's it for today. Thank you so much for listening.
As always, I greatly appreciate it. Please make sure to hit that follow button
and share One Hot Mess with a friend, and I will talk to you guys next time. Have a beautiful day.

(20:05):
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