The ascent of the “sidechick culture” has led me to the following conclusions:
There has been a change in the way we perceive relationships and if you disagree then it means you have either been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by perfect examples or you are simply failing to see the wood for the trees (which in essence means you are too involved in a relationship of your own to pay any mind to whatever heartache the rest of the world may be experiencing, which (I guess) is understandable. If I too were in a relationship, I wouldn’t concern myself with the cries of
peasant, single folk. However, the problem with that rather self absorbed perception is that like many endemics that have featured in our time, it affects us all. We are the no strings attached generation but the question I pose to the vanguards of the #NoStringsCrew (this hashtag doesn’t exist in reality sadly, I made it up) is, what is so wrong with strings? This article is not a thesis on the properties and utility of string (for that would be absurd and very much outside the remits of The Promiscious Pen) but an overview of things observed from a healthy “NotInARelationshipOrSituationship” distance.
Situationships are like relationships in that they are involvements between two people. However, relationships are characterised by effort and commitment, whilst situationships are characterised by nothing remotely close to the two words used to define a relationship. Situationships are notoriously short. They last about the life span of a mayfly (cue Google), their lives lasting only for 24 hours and this is not an exaggeration. The very appeal of a situationship is its timeframe, which makes it relatively easy to move on to the next conquest in a very short space of time. The parties involved are vocal about the fact that they “don’t want to be tied down” as if to say a relationship is akin to imprisonment or modern day slavery but there is something to note here about how relationships are perceived by these religious situationshippers.
Without sounding too technical, the idea of “return- risk tradeoff” is important here. The notion of high risk and high return is popular in the financial/investment sphere and the idea is that return i.e. gain corresponds with the risk i.e. uncertainty. Relationships admittedly are high risk when you consider the fact that two very flawed individuals, with their respective quirks and opinions are coming together to make things work and to exacerbate the problem further, there is no assurance of success. Thus, the reluctance to enter said relationship (although cowardly) is understandable. However, relationships are also generally characterised by high return. There is comfort in knowing that another person “has your back” but situationshippers don’t care too much for the return because they are preoccupied with the risk. The truth is, the risk doesn’t have to be burdensome but when there exists the propensity to fear the unknown, we will only ever view uncertainty as crippling.
Relationships will almost certainly end badly so it is better that the pretence involved in getting to know someone is avoided right? Situationships apparently offer the solution because their timeframes are short, both parties know what they are getting into, thus potential heart ache and pretence is avoided. However, the notion is far too simplistic. Too often we hear of stories where one person in the situationship develops feelings for the other person but can’t do anything about it because that would go against the basic rule of “no strings attached”. They have no choice but to mope in silence because openly sulking over something when you knew the “situation” from the outset would be silly. Therefore situationships do not alleviate anything; in fact more problems are created because at least in relationships you can break up. Within situationships you are not given that option. How can you possibly break up when you weren’t “together” in the first place?
According to situationshippers, “strings attached” signify the dwindling of your identity. Everyone wants to retain the things that make them. It is true that we all exhibit narcissistic tendencies i.e. self – focus and self elevation but the idea is once we are in a relationship those traits will be weakened by this piecemeal process called love but where there is no relationship, there is no transformation. Situationships allow a person tokeep their “autonomy”, fuel the desire for quick gratification with as many people as possible without the added weight of guilt.
Of course their perceptions are skewed but these are the very ideas on relationships that are driving people to less committed involvements. Then there are the situationships that just happen. The “friends with benefits” situation is a perfect example, or that awkward stage where it’s more than dating but the commitment is absent. The question now is how do you work out if you are in a situationship?
1.Do you constantly have to ask, “What are we?”- If your efforts to define the relationship are always met with hostility, then beautiful soul you are in a situationship.
2.When taking selfies does the other person always hide their face in this rather unconventional way or are they happy to make an appearance? The infamous “selfie” has become a measure of affection. If you take selfies together then you are in a relationship, if not then popular opinion suggests you are not in a relationship with someone else but yourself.
3.Have you ever seen their family? Meeting the family is a good indication that you are a permanent fixture in the other person’s life, if not you may just be ornamental.
4.Do you actually spend time with the person? A lot of us are in pseudo relationships with people we hardly see. Mobile communication is great but how much time are you spending gazing into each other’s eyes? If the answer is close to nothing, then you may be in a situationship.
We are a generation of commitment-phoebes and our fears may mean we end up alone or settling. Sixty and alone sounds sad but imagine being sixty and tied to a woman or a man you would have never chosen in your youth but because the prospect of a cold bed ( with no one to keep you warm at night) scares you, you had to settle. Both hypothetical situations are easily resolved. Let’s stop being so scared of commitment and just commit.
Love Cris x
P.S If I didn’t pursue law, I would have become a marriage/relationship counsellor. I would have thrived. It is my secret calling.