Are You in a Situationship?

So, you are in a situationship. But what exactly is that? Recent research sheds light and poses important questions about this newest iteration of relationships.

Grant H Brenner MD DFAPA
5 min readMar 25, 2024
Markus Winkler / Pexels

Key points

  • Situationships describe a sexual-romantic relationship without a clear definition or future.
  • The term “situationship” rose to prominence in 2017, a term increasingly used in popular culture.
  • Younger people do not want to label their relationships, making “situationship” a useful non-label/label.
  • Situationships involve a lack of definition about committment. This can reduce tension but harm connection.

The concept of the “situationship” has taken culture by storm. Apparently, romantic relationships and their close cousins, friends with benefits and being in the friendzone, leave a lot of people scratching their heads about their relationship status. Things aren’t clear-cut anymore.

Writer Carina Hsieh popularized the term “situationship” (Cosmopolitan, 2017) to describe romantic-sexual relationships without a clear nature. Two people can be hanging out but not dating, going out or going steady. Labels like “partner” and “significant other”, let alone “boyfriend”…



Grant H Brenner MD DFAPA

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Disaster Responder, Advocate, Photographer