Dealing with breakup

4 Reasons Situationship Breakups Hurt More Than Actual Relationships


I’m so sick and tired of all those situationships. Those in-between phases of relationships, the gray area where two people aren’t quite committed, but still care about each other a great deal.

I’m tired of talking with strangers about my hobbies, goals, likes and dislikes over and over again..but that isn’t even the worst part of it!

If you’ve ever experienced a situationship breakup, you know what I’m talking about. 

There are plenty of reasons why these gray areas hurt more than any actual relationship, and the whole essence of it lies in two things: It’s POTENTIAL and your INVESTMENT.

1. You became addicted to them

sad woman in deep thouhts looking at street

The pain isn’t about the amount of time you were together. It never was. The real pain is about the intensity. You’re on and then you’re off again – crazy HIGHS and then crazy LOWS.

It’s your first few months of romance and you’re filled with love drugs (oxytocin, dopamine, beta-endorphin and serotonin), and as with every drug – you become addicted to it. So, once your relationship ends abruptly, you’re cut off on a high.

Being in a heavy withdrawal is what makes the pain so INTENSE. On the other hand, when you’re in a relationship, the initial romance decreases as time flies. You create tolerance for this love drug and there are no crazy highs that can hurt you now.

Kimberly Rae, a relationship coach, speaks a lot about this topic on her TikTok account, so you might want to take a look at it.

2. You were emotionally invested

The ugly truth about every situationship is that neither one of you is sure what they want, and yet, emotions tend to run high.

You’re in too deep to just be friends, but not quite there for a real relationship. Even though you’re aware that being emotionally invested in this situationship is the literal definition of self-sabotage, you just can’t help yourself but to continue.

Think about it. In a situationship, you’re putting in all the effort and emotional investment without getting any of the rewards that come with a real relationship. You’re making the same level of commitment, but you’re not getting the same level of commitment back.

And judging by this Tweet a lot of people agree with this.

The natural thing that follows is pain. Lots of PAIN. Because all the time you were holding onto the hope that it will eventually turn into a real relationship, but it didn’t, and now you’ve drained all the emotions you’ve had.

3. You had the potential 

serious woman with glasses sitting in deep thoughts

When you’re in a situationship, you’re basically dating potential and when it ends, you’re dealing with the death of that potential. So, you’re probably thinking why would this be the cause of why situationships hurt so much.

Well, look at it like the death of what could have been. When you’re in a situationship, all you actually have are the possibilities of what might be (the fake scenarios you create everytime you go to sleep).

“Hm, this guy loves to travel and go to music festivals and I love to travel and go to music festivals..I can only imagine how fun and adventurous life we’re going to have.”

So, all you have is this idealized fantasy of what could be and when it ends it’s painful that this fantasy never got off the ground.

It’s easy to romanticize a relationship that could’ve been perfect rather than one you knew for a fact wasn’t.

4. You need a closure 

In a real relationship, when it’s over, it’s over. You can go your separate ways, mourn the end of the relationship, and move on.

This, however, isn’t the same for situationships. It’s the hope that hurts and disappoints you. You’re constantly thinking, “Oh okay, I haven’t heard of them today, but maybe tomorrow they’ll text me.”

The whole ending makes you feel ridiculous and like the grieving isn’t justified. Also, it doesn’t help that they seem completely unbothered which further invalidates how you feel.

But remember, disrespect is all the closure you’ll ever need.

The Closure You Needed

The fact that you’re in a situationship gaslighting yourself into believing you have a future with this person already means you’re in a vulnerable position.

Then the rejection comes. It’s like betting everything you own on something that has a 50% chance it will fail.

So, yes, long story short: the title and the length of time doesn’t determine the threshold of your pain. Emotions are measured by your experience and unfortunately, situationships tend to have plenty of them.



Category: Dealing with breakup

Roberta Carroll

My approach is eclectic and holistic with a focus on mindfulness. I have received certifications in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (trauma), among others. I spent over 10 years at the Veteran’s Administration in Louisville, KY, working as a psychotherapist with veterans of all ages and genders on a wide variety of issues. Prior to that my focus was on young adults and their families and older adults dealing with loss. Individuals have met with me for help to address depression and anxiety, grief, trauma and relational issues as well as work-related/everyday stressors. The therapeutic process provides a safe place for the client, in collaboration with their therapist, to process distress, discover areas of “stuckness” and move forward into a life of increased meaning and joy. Accepting our imperfections and practicing self-compassion can be a difficult as well as rewarding process. I have lived and worked in different areas of the country, have come to understand how regional differences affect our outlooks and appreciate the contrasts. I have relished the opportunity to assist clients as they carry the burdens of life. It would be my privilege to hear your story.

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