The Definitive Way To Know If You're BOTH In Love And In A Real Relationship — Or If It's Just A 'Situationship'

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How To Know If You're Really In Love Or If He Has You Stuck In A 'Situationship'

Here's how to know for sure.

Every Tuesday and Thursday on YourTango's Facebook Page I host a show about love, sex, and dating called "Becca After Dark." Yes, that is shameless self-promotion, but it is also the valid and authentic introduction to this particular story.

On the show, people write in with questions and I do my best to give them my honest and totally unlicensed take on their query.  

Hopefully, upon hearing my response they feel a bit more at ease with how things are, a bit better primed to try freaky things in the bedroom, and/or, worst case scenario, a bit tickled in their funny bone (should they have one).

It was during one of these chats that I made a HUGE discovery about relationships which I want, nay, that I NEED to share with you.

A woman wrote to me about her passionate feelings for the man in her life. He reciprocates those feelings — so far, so awesome — but... yeah, there's a but... he is currently in a relationship with another woman and has stated clearly that he will not leave her for some nebulous but "very good" reason. She, as should be expected if you've been staying with me so far here, wanted my advice regarding how to handle her relationship.

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It was then I found myself in the unfortunate position of telling her that she is not, as she believes, actually in a relationship. She is in a "situation-ship."

Allow me to explain...

A romantic relationship is a dynamic between two or more people who agree to become partners in love, after a fashion. The "rules" are completely up to the two people involved to decide.

Maybe they are monogamous. Maybe they are not.

Maybe they have sex with buckets on their heads, or perhaps they pleasure each other using summer squashes.

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I don't know. Go live your own lives, weirdos.

Regardless of the specific parameters, however, these relationships all have one thing in common.

Both of the people in a romantic relationship KNOW they are in it, CHOSE to be in it, and acknowledge to themselves and to others that they are in it.

They are there to be a force for good in each other's lives, and they make sure this is clear to everyone, themselves included.

situationship is something else, and it's something practically every one of us has been in, whether we knew it at the time or not. The definition far is more broad than that of a romantic relationship, but hell, that's part of its charm.

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Essentially, a situationship is any dynamic between yourself and at least one other person who IS NOT DEFINITIVELY your "boyfriend" or "girlfriend."

Maybe you guys hooked up once. Maybe you've been friends with benefits, but now one of you caught feelings for the other. Maybe the two of you were originally in a romantic relationship, but you broke up and now sometimes you cuddle and make out and stuff. That last one, in fact, is a classic situationship. 

A situationship also resides in a different category than those of the made-famous-by-Facebook "It's Complicated" ilk.

When you say your dynamic with someone is complicated, you aren't defining the relationship so much as you are describing its nature. Because guess what? Even your average romantic relationship can get complicated from time to time. Marriages get complicated.

"Complicated" isn't a romantic status. It's a descriptor, and it can apply to a lot of things.

When you're in a situationship, your brain and heart are invested with the same degree of time, energy, and emotion you would invest in a romantic relationship, yet you are not, in return, gaining the same sense of comfort, security, and reliability.

A situationship is one-sided, with one party willing to invest the time, effort, and energy into building a solid relationship, while the other party remains passive and/or disinterested.

While all relationships have their ups and downs, at the end of the day, there are two active and willing participants engaged in doing the work necessary to figure things out and continue moving forward.

If you're in a situationship, there's probably an air of romance and drama that keeps calling you back, but there is also a great deal of pain and stress for the person who remains alone in the active fight to keep things evolving. 

Basically, being the actively working partner involved in a situationship is particularly brutal, because there is no concrete reason to end things, such as an outright rejection, and yet there is also no clear decision made to progress. The ambiguous dynamics are always sustained and prolonged, which is agonizing. 

Things aren't really complicated, so much as you are being manipulated.  

You deserve to be in a REAL relationship with someone who also wants to be in a relationship with you. While a situationship can be dramatic and exciting, they can also be exhausting and demoralizing. You deserve clear, open communication with someone who is willing to put in the work and don't you dare settle for any less. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.