I’ve always considered myself a "relationship person." The idea of dating more than one person at a time gives me the hives, honestly. I enjoy being a girlfriend, and everything that comes along with the title. Throughout my 20’s, I never had a problem beginning or maintaining a formal relationship. The process seemed pretty natural--meet someone you vibe with, build a friendship and a foundation, mutually agree to be exclusive. Facebook official. That’s pretty much it.
Even typing that out, it seems so basic and straightforward. I never questioned the process, because it just took care of itself.
So why is it now that I have entered my 30s, I can’t nail down an actual relationship to save my life? I keep wading into those fuzzy, in-between relationships. At a high level, this is the zone where you’re not quite ready to Define the Relationship (DTR), but your situation has all the classic markings of future exclusivity: spending quality time together, physical and/or emotional intimacy, meeting friends and family, etc. Yet somehow, neither one of you has worked up the damn nerve to sit down and tell the other person your needs and expectations.
Sound familiar? Welcome aboard, you’ve entered a dreaded Situationship.
The Situationship itself is not even that straightforward! It can be like a seven layer dip full of awful; but in the past year I have found that my Situationships fall into two categories: The WTF and the less serious, WTH.
The What The Fuck Situationship
About 18 months ago I swiped right on a guy who was extremely funny, unusually clever, and had charmed me right off the apps and into a real first date. Then it turned into a second date and that’s right about when I lost my mind. Let’s just say after weeks of chatting, plus that solid date No. 1, there was intense physical chemistry and it went the full distance. Listen, I realize this isn’t wildly out of the ordinary, but for me it was. Remember, I like monogamy and structure! Casual relationships (specifically physical) just ain’t my thang. Mainly because I am fucking horrible at them. Yet, three months and 3.5 winter holidays in, here I was--completely smitten and believing this guy felt the same way.
How did I come to believe he felt the same way? Certainly not by a verbal, sane discussion--I just assumed.
It is also safe to assume I was an idiot. I’ll spare you all of the details, but I later found out that after an impressive two-week ghosting period, and a half-assed Facebook Messenger apology (really, bro?), he had been sliding into a number of other girls' DMs, and had dropped me in order to spend a weekend getaway with one of them, guilt-free. Love is dead.
OK, that’s aggressive, but had I just grown some lady-balls and initiated an adult conversation about where I wanted the relationship to go, the complete and utter devastation mixed with total humiliation may have been avoided much earlier. (Pro tip: shouting the words I don’t want to be just some fucking broad off of Tinder! does not a conversation make.)
The What The Hell Situationship
Having been burned by that whole ordeal, I flew into sad-girl hiding for months. So much so, that I rolled right into 2017 with the completely original, ‘New Year New Me’ attitude. No dating! No douchebags! No time for that! This lasted approximately three months. Like I mentioned in my last post, right when I swore off dating, opportunity came knocking.
By some serendipitous order of events, I wound up being asked out by this super cute guy that I actually had my eye on for a while, so I was pretty pumped. This time around though, I considered myself much more sage and wise. I would take things slowly. I wouldn’t jump into a physical thing right off the bat. I’d build a friendship and really get to know this guy! Only then if I felt the connection was headed in a positive direction, would I bring up The Talk. A few months in, all was going smoothly. We had great chemistry, natural flowing conversation, and genuinely enjoyed being in each other's company. Apart from a few annoying growing pains regarding our rhythm and routine, I felt pretty confident in perhaps bringing up what might be ahead of us. Until it all stopped. Playful banter stopped, planning for dates stopped, all communication between us, stopped. Even as I sit writing this, it’s been days since we've had an exchange and I still don’t know what happened.
This is happening in real time, guys. I am literally Dear Diary-ing this shit.
Just when I think I have grown enough to know that I should be having these vital conversations, I am denied the opportunity to do so. Although the WTH has had less of a damaging effect on me than the WTF, it’s still extremely frustrating and disheartening. Perhaps it's because we hadn't yet become so entangled with one another. Or possibly that I was already bracing for the worst. Maybe I’ll find out why at some point, but likely I won’t. This seems to be the nature of dating in 2017.
So I ask, how are you supposed to put yourself out there and be vulnerable, when you can never get out of your own way and fall constantly into a Situationship?