How To Talk To Your Situationship When You Catch Feelings

Do you remember the older generations when people seemingly dated primarily for marriage or at least serious relationships? Fast-forward many years: Hookup culture has taken over, throwing romance out the window and embracing a no-strings-attached dating approach, one which has both benefits and drawbacks. After all, there was even a 2011 movie titled "No Strings Attached" starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. But, now that we're in the 2020s, society has shifted to somewhere in the middle: the situationship. While individuals with more traditional beliefs may think that situationships are always a bad thing, they can be super convenient and fun for people looking for more than sex but less than a classic relationship.

"Situationships are characterized by a lack of obligation or exclusivity, but the real hallmark is a lack of clear boundaries or labels ... essentially, you have many of the benefits of a traditional relationship without having to make a commitment," psychologist Susan Albers told the Cleveland Clinic. But, similar to what tends to happen in friends-with-benefits dynamics, people put themselves at risk of catching feelings for the other person when entering situationships. If that happens to you, just be honest and communicate how you feel.

Be honest about your feelings

When you enjoy your casual, free-spirited situationship at first, only to suddenly feel jealous when the other half of the situationship posts with another woman, or you wonder why you randomly start missing the person from your situationship when you go a week without seeing them, you may feel embarrassed. If these scenarios occur, it's likely you caught feelings, whether or not you want to admit it. People tend to panic after catching feelings; for example, TikToker @itschammies posted a video expressing the denial, stress, and frustration the TikToker feels when this happens.

However, catching feelings is nothing to be ashamed of and isn't something to hide. To avoid confusion, stress, and disappointment, tell the person the truth sooner rather than later. "The issue with many daters today which causes them to feel stuck and dissatisfied is that not enough people are willing to express what they truly want due to fear of rejection... If you're seeing someone casually and want it to be something more, you owe it to yourself and to them to express how you're feeling," Damona Hoffman, a certified dating coach who hosts "The Dates & Mates Podcast," told Bustle. So, if you find yourself in this situation, please just be honest.

Communication is crucial

While confessing feelings takes guts and can lead to nervousness, not doing so can cause issues between you and the other person because, by hiding the truth, you both won't be on the same page. For instance, if you choose to avoid that individual because of your feelings rather than talking to that person about it, they'll likely feel confused and wonder if they did something wrong. "Being on the same page at all times requires vulnerability alongside communication, but it will be beneficial in the long run. You both need to know what you want and where you'd like the situationship to head, if anywhere at all," Nicole Schafer, a relationship coach and counselor, explained to MindBodyGreen.

So, if you have the conversation and decide your relationship isn't going anywhere, you have to accept the truth. It's normal to feel angry initially when someone doesn't reciprocate your feelings — TikToker Victoria Pla even posted a relatable video on the topic — but you shouldn't lash out at someone for telling the truth as long as they do so respectfully. Instead, be honest about your disappointment.

Moreover, if you decide to stop talking to the person in your situationship because they don't feel the same way, explain to them why it's too painful to continue seeing them rather than ghosting them — ghosting is not a mature way to handle a situation unless the person was truly disrespectful or rude.