Navigating life as a woman in the world today is interesting. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their experiences on everything from sex to politics right here. This is Zikoko’s What She Said.
Relationships are complex because humans are complex. But if relationships seem to be getting a lot more complicated, it might be because they are. With millennials and younger generations embracing more non-traditional forms of relationship, a new type of relationship is made every other year. This week we’ll be learning about situantionships from a 24-year-old woman who doesn’t just embrace them but advocates for them.
What does a situationship even mean?
A situationship is what you get when people try to force labels on everything. What people call a situationship is pretty much what casual dating in the ideal sense should be. But casual dating doesn’t exist anymore. It’s seeing one or more people casually for varying lengths of time at varying degrees of seriousness. But just so people don’t confuse it with dating in the sense of getting into a relationship, let’s call them situationships.
Casual dating doesn’t exist any more?
No, it doesn’t. Go on just two dates with one person and family, friends and strangers will immediately start asking you – ‘so are the two of you dating now?’. And when they say dating they mean are you in a relationship. When I tell people I’m seeing someone they automatically assume it’s a boyfriend and girlfriend type of situation when it’s just you exploring a casual connection with someone and having occasional sex. But a situationship becomes that when you exploring that casual connection for more than a couple of months.
A situationship occurs when you are seeing someone seriously enough for it to not just be casual sex but not seriously enough for it to be a relationship. You care about the person, you might even go on dates and call each other once in a while but there are no deep connections.
So situationships are born out of casual dating?
Exactly. If you find yourself casually dating the same person or couple of people for more than a couple of months, then you are in a situationship.
They sound a lot like open relationships
People say that, but here’s the difference. In an open relationship, you have a main partner who you love and are committed to and all that jazz. Both of you are allowed to see people outside of your relationship casually. But nothing too deep because you already have primary partners. That doesn’t exist in a situationship, there are no primary partners. What’s that thing Buhari said – I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody. It’s the same principle, you belong to everybody and you belong to no one at the same time. It frees you from the burden of being held accountable to anyone.
And you can be in multiple situationships at the same time?
Yup, I’d even advice it. If it’s just one person then the two of you are at risk of falling into the trap of being in a traditional relationship. Which is fine when it’s what you both want. But more often than not, you find that it’s one person doing what they want and the other person sticking around hoping the relationship becomes more defined. You can be in multiple situationships in varying degrees of seriousness. One could be strictly a booty call the other could be someone you could call if you found yourself in a sticky situation, or had a really bad day at work.
Are you in any situationships right now?
I’m in three. There’s the one I could end up settle down with. We’ve been friends forever and we sort of fell into this habit of having sex semi-frequently. We talk pretty frequently, about two or three times a week. We wouldn’t do Valentine’s Day but we’d buy each other presents on our birthdays.
The second is an older guy we talk a little less frequently let’s say two or three times a month. And have sex even less frequently like that. I like talking to him, he’s the one I run to when I’m having any sort of existential crisis because he always gives me great advice.
The third guy is just sex. He’s super nice and polite and the sex is amazing. But the only conversations we ever have are to plan hookups.
How long have they all been going on?
3 years, 2 years and a year and a half respectively.
I’m most curious about the guy you say you could end up with, why not be with just him?
What will now happen to my other men? They all serve very different purposes in my life and I’m sure I in theirs. I like the way their roles are set up it works for me.
Do they know about each other?
In a sense. They all know that they aren’t the only people in my life. The one I’m closest to at least knows the other two’s names. He knows who they are and what they do. The other two know I’m obviously not seeing just them but don’t care who else I’m seeing and they’ve never asked.
How does sex with three people work?
Not in the way it sounds. I’m not seeing them all at once. It’s not Monday for Femi, Tuesday for Sola, Wednesday for Dayo, then rinse and repeat. It’s more every week in a month for Femi, then I don’t see Femi for about two weeks and so I go see Sola. In the rare occasion, I’m neither seeing Femi nor Sola, I’d see Dayo.
So is it death to traditional relationships forever?
I’m young now so I’m honestly just enjoying my life. I know when I turn like 32 I’ll suddenly realize that settling down with one person isn’t a bad idea, then I’d end up dating someone and marrying him 6 months after to the dismay of all my friends and family.
Could you describe a perfect situationship?
I’m going to give in and describe a situationship as a type of relationship. Like with the way you have open relationships. So it’s a relationship with no defined roles and no commitments. It only works when the two parties are on the same page. If one person is hoping for a relationship and the other person only wants a situationship then it can’t work. Communication about that is very important.
I think situationships get a bad rap because some people try to use it to exploit others into situations in which they are getting all the perks of relationships but none of the responsibilities like accountability. If both of you are on the same page and you are sure you are on the same page, then go for it. It’s especially great when you are looking for a connection with someone that is more than just casual sex but you are not burdened with the responsibility of being the person’s number one.