All relationships are founded upon communication, even ones as seemingly informal as the so-called situationship. A situationship is something less clear-cut than a committed relationship, but more than a typical friendship, and they have become increasingly common among younger people. There’s a lot of controversy around the success of situationships as they often lead to a misalignment in the level of commitment between partners. However, situationships can be healthy and beneficial if boundaries and emotional needs are expressed and understood between partners.

The idea that a situationship does not require work like a typical relationship does is a fallacy. In some cases, it may even require more time and focus. In order to have a successful situationship, it cannot be considered easier or less impactful than committed relationships. That assumption is what leads one person to feel cheated by the other.

The concept of situationships, or friends with benefits relationships, are less concerning to young people who don’t think of these trends as an issue. Younger generations are delaying other events such as becoming homeowners or having children, highlighting that the younger generation is more open to teasing the boundaries of traditional practices. These relationships have been described as a culture of “fast sex” and “slow love” by Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at the Kinsey Institute. In other words, it’s a show of growth that people aren’t engaging in cultural norms simply because they are cultural norms, but are instead exploring and learning what is right for them and their life journey.

A theme that appears in many articles on situationships is a pushing of blame onto men for not wanting to be in committed relationships and engaging in situationships. Now, it has to be said that for a situationship to work, there has to be some level of emotional maturity and emotional availability. Without that, these situationships can and do become toxic and manipulative for either partner. But when someone has clearly communicated their needs, it’s not right to blame them for sticking to it. It’s imperative that one stops thinking they can change people when they have effectively communicated their ability and desire to commit or not. People change in their own time, and thinking people will change on someone else’s time leads to heartbreak and disappointment.

If someone is unable or unwilling to communicate their level of emotional availability or what they want in a relationship, they shouldn’t be entering a situationship in the first place. They should be working on personal growth first.