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Situationship vs. Friends with Benefits: Differences and Similarities

situationship vs friends with benefits

Dating in the 21st Century is similar to a Rubik’s cube… hella confusing.

No wonder, given the many relationship statuses and entanglement opportunities we have. 

That’s why today I figured I’d dive into a topic that’s been on my mind lately: the difference between situationships and friends with benefits (fwb).

Both two situations I often warn about.

But to help you make an informed decision, I decided it’s time to explain the difference between a situationship vs. friends with benefits.

situationship red flags

5 Key differences between a situationship vs. friends with benefits

1. Emotional connection

One of the key differences between situationships and friends with benefits is the level of emotional connection involved. 

Situationships often involve a high degree of emotional ambiguity, with one of you (usually the woman) being uncertain about your feelings for the other. 

Friends-with-benefits relationships, on the other hand, are often more straightforward and focused solely on physical intimacy. Therefore, less emphasis on an emotional connection or becoming official.

2. Boundaries

Another major difference is the level of boundaries that are set between you and your intimate partner. 

Situationships usually involve blurred lines and undefined boundaries, making it difficult to know where you stand. 

Friends with benefits, on the other hand, are often based on clear, agreed-upon boundaries you communicate prior. Sometimes you even have a set duration of the relationship.

3. Communication

Clear communication is important in any type of relationship, but it can be especially challenging in a situationship. 

Because a situationship is often undefined and emotionally ambiguous, you may have difficulty communicating your needs and expectations to each other. 

In a friends-with-benefits relationship, communication is often more straightforward, as you are primarily focused on physical intimacy and sexual satisfaction.

4. Level of commitment

Another key difference is the level of commitment involved. 

Situationships are often characterized by a lack of commitment or exclusivity. Most men will be hesitant to define the relationship or make any long-term plans together. 

Friends-with-benefits relationships are also typically non-exclusive but may involve some level of commitment to each other’s sexual needs and preferences. 

5. Potential for a future

Finally, one of the biggest differences between situationships and friends with benefits is the potential for a future together. 

Situationships can be emotionally draining and unfulfilling in the long run, especially if you are more invested than him or if the relationship lacks a clear direction or commitment. 

A friends-with-benefits situation, while fulfilling in the short term, is not sustainable in the long term either. In addition, it can prevent you from pursuing a more fulfilling and committed long-term relationship.

Is a situationship the same as friends with benefits

Is a situationship the same as friends with benefits?

No, a situationship is not the same as friends with benefits. While friends with benefits and situationships share some similarities, they are not the same thing. 

Friends with benefits is a type of relationship where you engage in physical activity with someone without expecting a committed romantic relationship to come out of it. 

In contrast, a situationship is a very vague, undefined relationship that often involves some level of emotional connection but lacks clear commitment. 

Both situations are challenging to navigate because they often don’t have clearly communicated boundaries.

How long does a situationship last?

A situationship usually lasts around 3 months. However, it can vary from a few weeks, up to 6 months. And sometimes they even drag on for years. 

Situationships tend to end once one person becomes more invested in the relationship than the other. That’s when the lack of clear commitment or defined boundaries becomes emotionally draining and frustrating

While situationships are enjoyable and fulfilling for some people, they are generally not a sustainable long-term relationship option. Especially if you are a woman seeking commitment and clarity.

Is a situationship considered dating

What are the rules of a situationship?

The rules of a situationship are very murky and undefined, which makes it so complicated. However, some common situationship “rules” include:

  • Emphasis on the fun: Situationships are often focused on having fun and enjoying each other’s company, without the pressures or expectations of a committed relationship.
  • Openness to seeing other people: In a situationship, it’s often assumed that both of you are free to see other people and aren’t committed to being exclusive.
  • Inconsistent communication allowed: Communication in a situationship is often on and off. You are not required to make plans or go on official dates before meeting up. 

Of course, the rules of a situationship vary from couple to couple. However, the nature of the relationship usually includes accepting some sort of ambiguity and inconsistency. 

For more, read my detailed post on the signs you’re in a situationship.

What are the rules of a situationship

Is a situationship considered dating?

A situationship is considered a type of dating, but it’s not a traditional dating relationship. There are tiny but important differences between dating and a situationship.

In a traditional dating relationship, for example, both of you are typically interested in pursuing a committed romantic relationship and are clear about your intentions and expectations. 

In a situationship, however, your intentions of the relationship are often unclear or undefined, which makes it difficult to determine your relationship status. 

How long does a situationship last

Pros and cons of a situationship 

While I don’t ever encourage single women to get into situationships, I can see why some people do. 

A situationship can offer a level of flexibility and freedom that you might not have in a more traditional, committed relationship. 

You are able to pursue your own interests and goals without feeling tied down or restricted by the expectations of a committed relationship. 

This can be very appealing for someone who is focused on personal growth, her career, or just got out of a relationship and is not ready for a new committed relationship.

However, one major drawback of a situationship is the emotional ambiguity that often characterizes the relationship. 

You may be unsure about your feelings for him or uncertain about the future of the relationship, which often leads to anxiety, frustration, and confusion. 

This lack of clarity can make it difficult for you to communicate effectively or build a deeper emotional connection. Which, in return, leads to the breakdown of the relationship, if you want more from the relationship than him.

Pros and cons of a friends-with-benefits relationship

Pros and cons of a friends-with-benefits relationship

I also, don’t like to glorify friends with benefits but have experienced the benefit and downsides of it before as well.

Friends-with-benefits relationships offer physical intimacy and sexual satisfaction without the emotional baggage that comes with a committed relationship. Something I appreciated after my last breakup.

For someone who is not interested in a serious or committed relationship, a friends-with-benefits arrangement provides an outlet for sexual expression and exploration. 

You get to experience a sense of closeness and intimacy without the pressure to make long-term plans.

On the flip side, one major challenge of a friends-with-benefits relationship is the potential for emotional attachment or unrequited feelings. 

While you may agree to keep the relationship casual and physical at first, it can become difficult to separate sex from emotions as time goes on. 

If you end up developing romantic feelings for the other person, it can lead to tension or conflict in the relationship. 

And if he does not reciprocate those feelings, you create feelings of rejection and heartbreak as well as feelings of insecurity and jealousy, especially if he starts seeing other people. 

In conclusion, while situationships and friends-with-benefits relationships may offer some benefits, they also come with a boatload of problems. So, make sure to choose wisely before agreeing to either. 

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