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The Debate over Situationship vs Friends with Benefits: Which is Right for You?

In today’s dating scene, the terms “situationship” and “friends with benefits” have become increasingly common. Both refer to non-committed, casual relationships, but the two have distinct differences. 

A situationship is an undefined romantic relationship with no clear boundaries or labels. On the other hand, friends with benefits refer to a sexual relationship between two people who are already friends. 

As more and more people opt for non-traditional dating structures, it becomes essential to understand the pros and cons of each and determine which one may be the best fit for you. 

couple hugging together

In this article, we’ll explore the following: 

  • The debate over situationship vs friends with benefits. 
  • What is a situational relationship? Signs of a situationship. 
  • What do friends with benefits mean? 
  • Situationship vs Friends with Benefits rules. 
  • Which one is best for you? 

Do you desire an intimate relationship with someone but also don’t want it to be hectic and stressful? Perhaps, what’s an intimate relationship that is not demanding? Is it a situationship or friends with benefits? 

Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into this topic! 

Situationship vs Friends with Benefits

When it comes to dating, the options can be overwhelming. Do you want something serious? Something casual? Something in between? Should you enter a situationship or become friends with benefits? What exactly do these terms mean, and which one is the right fit for you? 

What are situationships? 

A situationship is that undefined, “it’s complicated” relationship where you’re not quite sure where you stand. Think of it as the gray area between friends and romantic partners, like when you’ve been casually dating someone for a while but haven’t made it official. 

On the other hand, friends-with-benefits is a sexual relationship between two people who are already friends. It’s that “no strings attached” type of arrangement where the focus is on physical intimacy and not so much on the emotional aspect.

Imagine you are in an undefined relationship with someone for a few months. You both have fun together but are still determining if you’re ready to take the next step. That’s a situationship. 

Now think of a scenario where you are good friends with someone, and both of you are attracted to each other but don’t want to be in a committed relationship. That’s friends with benefits. 

Both situationship and friends with benefits can be great options for different people and situations. However, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision.

Further ahead, you’ll get detailed information about what a situationship and friends with benefits are, their pros and cons, the difference between them, and some frequently asked questions to help you out! 

Situational relationship

Meaning of situationship: Situationship refers to a romantic relationship that is, and remains, undefined. It is known to be “less than a relationship, but more than a casual encounter or booty call.” 

In a simple situationship definition, this type of affinity is an undefined relationship between two people that is more than friendship. However, you remain single without a tag of relationship. It’s one where you feel, “we spend a lot of time together but not dating.” 

Also, history says that many situationships later turn into loving, committed relationships. The sad part is that it’s not always the same for everyone. 

couple laughing together

How do you know if you are in a situationship? 

When you start dating someone without a label, many questions may cloud your mind, like, “am I in a situationship, or are we in a relationship?” If yes, “are situationships bad or good?” or “what are the signs of a situationship?”  

To clarify, if you’re casually dating someone without labeling your relationship, you are in a situationship. You go on dates, have romantic talks, and even enjoy physical intimacy. However, you do not label your relationship or have any commitments. 

For example, you talk daily and make each other happy. But doing that is not a responsibility, and both of you may stop it whenever you wish. 

Situationship psychology can be suitable for people who aren’t ready to make commitments but are still looking for physical and emotional connections. Meanwhile, situationships are bad for individuals who are searching for long-term togetherness. 

Falling in love in a situationship blows up everything. As situationship relationships develop emotional and physical support, it becomes tough for people to get out of it, and one or the other is left heartbroken in the end. 

Signs you’re in a situationship 

Fortunately, there are some sure signs of a situationship to know whether you’re in a temporary connection or not. : 

1. There’s someone else involved. 

This means that one or both parties in the situationship are not fully committed and may be seeing other people! 

Examples of this include: 

  • dating multiple people at the same time, 
  • maintaining an open relationship, 
  • or having a “friends with benefits” arrangement.

If you find out that even though you’re there, your partner seems interested in others, or there are more people involved sexually or romantically in their life, you’re in a situationship. 

It’s easy to figure out by how they talk about other love interests and behave around them in your presence.  

2. No consistency 

Another sign that proves you’re in a situationship is there’ll be zero consistency in all the essential relationship activities like:

  • They will only ask you to hang out occasionally. 
  • They call or text less. 
  • They treat you like a secret sexual connection. 
  • No emotional support
  • Zero emotionally intimate communication. 

3. There’s no future talk. 

Any relationship that doesn’t involve futuristic talks is temporary! 

This means that the parties involved in the relationship do not discuss or make plans for a future together. They may not talk about things like moving in together, getting married, or having children. They may also avoid discussing long-term relationship goals and aspirations in general. 

If your partner doesn’t talk to you about the future, chances are you’re in a situationship. They don’t see you fitting in the future; that’s why there’s no conversation about it. 

couple dreaming of a house together

4. They show you they don’t want to get serious. 

Some people make it easy for you by showing they’re not looking for anything serious! 

This can be verbalized through statements such as “I’m not looking for anything serious,” “I’m not ready for a commitment,” or “I just want to keep things casual.” 

It can also be demonstrated by not introducing you to their friends or family, not including you in important events or gatherings, or not making the relationship a priority. 

They won’t call or text you daily, won’t ask for hangouts, and will treat you according to their mood. They may even flirt with other people around you and not take you seriously.    

5. There are short-term and last-minute plans. 

People with serious relationships make plans for weeks and weeks. Although in situationship, your plans often get canceled, and your partner makes particular excuses or meets for an hour a week. 

Pros of situationship  

Sometimes, these undefined relationships can be fun; you get enough time to know a person without developing feelings for them. The best part is that you can be sexually satisfied without needing the tag of being in a relationship. 

Not just that, there are many other benefits of a situationship. Below mentioned are some pros of a situational relationship: 

  • Your life is your number one priority—In a situationship, you can prioritize your life over all the other things, which is excellent. 

As I said, it’s an undefined relationship, so you don’t have to run around achieving relationship goals or standing up to your partner’s expectations. You can have your passion or create your passion while being in it. 

  • Physical Intimacy—Another advantage of situationship is that individuals don’t discuss basic relationship needs. From the very start, this unlabeled relationship allows physical intimacy. 

According to situationships, it’s normal to feel the urge to be close to someone without developing feelings; there’s nothing wrong with it. 

  • Explore—Before you genuinely commit to somebody, there’s always a chance to explore and learn new things in dating or relationships. Situationships are relaxing and allow closeness that is more than friends but not dating. 

Cons of situationship

With good, there’s bad too! A situationship can be very fruity and exciting until one or the other person catches feelings. Once intense emotions get involved, it can blow the whole connection—one of the many situationship red flags

couple not being on the same page

Here are some cons of situational relationships: 

  • You’ll always wonder where it’ll take you

If you develop emotions, you’ll always wonder where your feelings will take you. 

At times, it can be stressful because you’ll constantly overthink things like: Do they have emotions for me? Are we more than friends? Can it turn into a relationship? Does the other person have feelings for me? Do they feel the same for me?

Falling in love in a situationship can blow it all away, and you’ll start overthinking every little thing. That’s where the trouble begins.  

  • No announcement of being a real couple 

Since there is no announcement of you being a real couple, your partner can form new relationships without any boundaries. Given that you’re aware this is not a relationship with serious commitments, be ready to face jealousy or insecurity. 

  • No real commitments

Situationships are undefined and uncommitted, which means a person can walk out of it anytime. Your partner can be ready to leave without any guarantee of returning to your life again. 

  • It can affect your mental health.

Not knowing where you stand with someone can affect your mental health sooner or later. If you start developing feelings for the other person and they don’t feel the same, that’s when the problems start arising. 

  • It’s not worth the risk. 

Situational relationships are only for people who don’t quickly get emotionally attached in a short time. If you’re an individual who’s looking for something serious and long-term and are ready for commitments, it’s not worth the risk. Be with someone who wants the same as you. 

Friends with Benefits 

Now that we have explained the ins and outs of situationships, it’s time we move forward to our second type of undefined relationship—Friends with benefits! 

What are friends with benefits? 

Friends with benefits definition: A “friend with benefits relationship, commonly known as (FWB), is one where two close friends are physically intimate with one another, yet they’re not committed to each other in any way.” 

In other words, when two friends mutually agree to have a physical relationship without developing feelings while also setting certain boundaries is known as friends with benefits. 

Are Friends with Benefits right for you?

Friends with benefits is an excellent idea for those with sexual desires and who want to explore them with a partner. Not only physical intimacy, but you could also explore a lot of things in it. 

However, a relationship agreement like FWB can also backfire pretty quickly. As people tend to break boundaries, ask for more and make it difficult for each other then. The reason behind this is the emotional connection between friends who are getting into such a connection! 

Though it’s different for everyone, if you’re an individual who likes exploring things in relationships, give it a shot. Also, remember to walk out from any affinity where you’re not respected or appreciated enough. 

couple dancing together

Pros of Friends with Benefits

Here are some advantages of friends with benefits that you shouldn’t miss if you’re going to give it a try:

  • It fulfills your fantasies

Friends with benefits allow you to explore your wildest fantasies without having the label of the relationship. The other person cannot judge you; even if they’re not cool with it, you can end things without any hard feelings. 

  • There’s less drama

Many people are scared of serious commitments that bring drama into their life, which is why they go for friends with benefits. FWB brings no drama into your life but great peace of mind. Your friend cannot go demanding things, and you can live your life your way. 

  • You are open to other people.

Another advantage of friends with benefits is you always have the freedom to see new people and date them. There are no rules about not visiting or dating other people, which makes FWB more exciting and cool. 

Cons of friends with benefits 

If you’re thinking of having friends with benefits, there are some cons of FWB that you should know before you start it. 

  • It could be a distraction. 

Friends with benefits can often distract you from your life. You may start focusing less on your life and more on these new sexual advantages. 

  • It can be stressful. 

Even when there’s a mutual decision about everything, it can be emotionally exhausting. Friends with benefits don’t last long, and your friend will leave as soon as they find something more interesting. 

It will start getting complicated as soon as the differences between the two of you come. You’ll begin to overthink things that will affect your mental health. 

  • Some can go beyond boundaries. 

Friends with benefits might bring joy, but it also comes with risk. The risk is that a partner’s boundaries and limits are sometimes forgotten, which leads to unexpected actions. Undoubtedly, there’s less talk and more action in friends with benefits. 

  • The urge to want more 

Even after you set certain boundaries in friends with benefits, there are always chances of partners wanting more. One of the partners might end up asking for more than you agreed. 

This is where the most complications begin in the relationship, and you end up separating. However, it’s better to make some specific boundaries clear to each other from the very start and be strict about them.

  • Losing a friend 

One of the significant drawbacks of friends with benefits is that it can make you lose your precious friend. We often make decisions without thinking about the outcome of it. 

Friends-with-benefits is not a forever thing; after a particular time, you can lose your friend. 

Difference between a situationship and friends with benefits!  

Situationship vs FWB have their own differences that make them contrast with each other. Below are some differences you need to know before stepping into a friends-with-benefits relationship or a situationship.  

1. Situationship can lead you to heartbreak, while friends with benefits don’t hold feelings.

This is one of the major differences between a situationship and a friend with benefits. Friends with benefits don’t hold any feelings at all; both partners are very clear about their needs in the relationship (mostly, it’s for sexual desires). 

They both agree to avoid developing feelings, plan things together and have certain boundaries in place. 

Meanwhile, partners in situationship need to know their limits. In most cases, people don’t see what’s happening but are happy to be in it and enjoy their time. In situationship, they’re unclear about their boundaries until the other person makes a challenging move that can make one heartbroken. 

couple with broken heart

2. Situationships can be more complicated than friends with benefits.

Undoubtedly, situationship is more complex than friends with benefits. Uncertain emotions and feelings are involved in situationships, making them more complicated. 

People often fall in love when in situationship, and that’s where the trouble begins. Situationship is more tricky because you’re in physical intimacy with a person and develop emotions, attachment, and several other things.   

This is very unlike friends with benefits, where no emotions or feelings are involved. Partners are straightforward about their needs and wants from each other. 

3. A situationship is more valuable than friends with benefits. 

Like many other differences, here’s a positive one for situationships. But how exactly is situationship more valuable than friends with benefits? 

In friends with benefits, there’s no real bond or connection. Everything happens as per the agreement between friends. But a situationship allows you to form unexpected real bonds with your partner without faking it. 

The following are some benefits that situationships have over friends with benefits:

  • It’s unpredictable and can turn into one of your best life decisions. 
  • Whenever there is an involvement of feelings, things become more beautiful. On the other hand, they might also become a nightmare! 
  • You cannot fake your feelings in a situationship; whatever you do, you do it from your heart. 
  • It offers a tremendous emotional connection that you two can have. 
  • There’s intimacy without any tag of relationships.
  • Since situationship doesn’t commit, it allows you to experience the benefits of being in a relationship and being single. 

Frequently asked questions

Wondering whether to get into a situationship or friends with benefits relationship can form several questions in your head. Here are some FAQs to answer all the confusion: 

Q: Why do guys like situationships? 

There are various reasons why some guys may be attracted to situationships. Some reasons may include the following: 

  • Lack of commitment: Some guys may prefer situationships because they don’t have to commit or be in a formal relationship. They may enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with not being in a committed relationship.
  • Sexual desires: Since situationships avoid emotional intimacy, people can focus more on the sexual bits of the relationship. And who doesn’t like naughty things while being more than friends but not dating? 
  • Insecurity: Some guys may feel insecure in relationships and prefer situationships to avoid feeling vulnerable or exposed.
  • Lack of maturity: Some guys may need to be more emotionally and mentally ready for a committed relationship. They may prefer situationships to avoid the responsibilities and emotional work that comes with being in a relationship.

It’s important to note that these reasons may not apply to every guy and that everyone has unique preferences and motivations.

Q: Do situationships turn into relationships?

Yes, a situationship may turn into a relationship. 

A situationship can turn into a relationship, but it depends on the individuals involved and their feelings and actions toward each other. In a situationship, partners may not have clearly defined the nature of their relationship or have not committed to being in a formal relationship. 

However, if they become exclusive and commit to each other, the situationship can develop into a formal relationship. Communication and mutual understanding are vital in determining if a situationship will turn into a relationship.

Q: Can situationships hurt you?

Yes, situationships can make you fall in love with the other person and hurt you if your feelings aren’t reciprocated. As I said, it’s undefined, so there’s uncertainty about the other person most of the time. 

There’s no guarantee of anything, which is why you are more likely to get hurt in a situationship. If you’re in a situationship, it’s better to prevent yourself from developing feelings as they can affect you in the worst way. 

Q: How long should you stay in a situationship or friends with benefits? 

You must be wondering, “how long should a situationship last?” There is no timeline on how long you should stay in a situationship or friends with benefits. However, you should know when to walk out from it. 

If the situationship or FWB starts becoming extremely toxic and affecting your mental health, get out of it. Where there’s no mutual respect, it’s time you say goodbye to that person. Remember, you’re too good to stay at a place where you’re not appreciated or respected enough.  

You deserve to be treated the way you wish to be treated

Q: How to end a situationship? 

Ending a situationship can be difficult, as the relationship’s nature is unclear and undefined. However, here are a few steps that may help:

  • Communicate openly and honestly: Have a conversation with the other person about your feelings and the relationship’s future. Be clear and direct about your intentions to end the situationship.
  • Be respectful and considerate: Remember that the other person may have different feelings and views about the relationship. Be respectful of their feelings and try to minimize hurt or confusion.
  • Give closure: Make sure to give the other person a clear understanding of why you are ending the situationship and what the future holds. This will help them move on and find closure.
  • Take care of yourself: Ending any relationship can be difficult, so it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and engage in activities that make you happy.
  • Be prepared for the other person’s reaction; it might not be what you expect.

It’s important to remember that ending a situationship, like any relationship, can be difficult, and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. Take your time and be kind to yourself and the other person throughout the process.

Bottom line 

Whether it’s a situationship or a friend with benefits, each has its pros and cons. If you’re a person who wants to explore new things in relationships, it’s safe to learn about these undefined relationships before you get into them. 

There’s nothing wrong with having a physical relationship or being in one. But you know what’s wrong? To be at a place where you’re not respected or appreciated. Make sure that whatever your relationship is, make the best out of it! 

by Genesis Gutierrez

Genesis is an accomplished entrepreneur, advocate, and coach who has dedicated her career to empowering women around the world. As the CEO of Harness Magazine, a digital media company, she has grown a platform that celebrates and amplifies the voices of women from all walks of life.

A first-generation college graduate with a degree from UCLA and growing up undocumented, Genesis brings a unique perspective and a deep understanding of the challenges that women face in today's world. Her work as a coach has helped countless women find the courage and confidence to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals.

Driven by a passion for social justice and a commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive society, Genesis has become a respected voice in the women's empowerment movement.

Through her work with Harness Magazine and as a coach, Genesis continues to inspire and empower women to take control of their lives and create a brighter, more hopeful future for themselves and for generations to come.

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