By Cassie Owens
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In a “situationship” there are no titles. It’s a noncommittal style of dating whose players fall below the rank of a partner. Yet the made-up word connotes a longer arrangement than a hookup and more romance than comes with friends with benefits.
The terms, Aleya Smith remembers, were hers. They wouldn’t be boyfriend and girlfriend. They wouldn’t be exclusive. There’d be companionship and even intimacy, but she wouldn’t always be accessible. He’d have to understand that she was juggling college with a full-time a job, and that whatever it was they were doing came after that.
Her friends would reference her boo in conversation, and she’d let them know: It was only a situationship.
In a situationship, there are no titles. It’s a noncommittal style of dating whose players fall below the rank of a partner. Yet the made-up word connotes a longer arrangement than a hookup and more romance than comes with friends with benefits.
The phrase, which has gained currency in recent years, particularly in black social media communities, became even more popular last year after Cosmopolitan published an essay “What is a Situationship,” about one women’s non-relationship relationship.
While many millennials treat it a trial period, others treat it like the main event — a mutual understanding that their affection doesn’t need to deepen. Situationships cover a broad bracket, from summer loves whose time never made it past September, to years-long on-and-off-again sagas, each romance never graduating to that next level.
“We’re socialized to believe that if you like somebody, that person’s supposed to be your girlfriend, that person’s supposed to be your boyfriend,” said Yusuf “Yuie” Muhammad, 32, who started his events firm, Veteran Freshman, in Philadelphia. “I think it’s absolutely incredible that we’re dumping traditions and doing what works for ourselves.”