Somewhere between the realms of true love and casual flings lies a type of relationship that needs a bit more explanation. It’s a complex emotional connection that lacks a clear sense of commitment or future planning.

The conventional terms “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” would not apply, yet it’s far from being a mere casual hookup. This bond involves going on dates, pursuing intimate relations, and building emotional intimacy without a definite purpose. This nuanced and undefined relationship dynamic that has become increasingly common in modern society is called a “situationship.”

In 2017, Carina Hsieh coined the term “situationships” as a way to describe a new kind of relationship status that emerged with the increasing popularity of dating apps.

Unlike “friends with benefits,” which typically starts as a platonic relationship that develops into a sexual one, situationships involves a hookup with emotional benefits. What’s common between the two is the lack of commitment and clearly defined roles.

While some relationship advisers say that the lack of commitment in situationships is liberating, others opine that it’s simply a “waste of time” and can lead to stress as well as mental health issues.

Hence, Real Research, an online survey app, launched a survey on public opinion on situationship to understand the different perspectives people have on the various facets of situationship and why is it gaining rapid popularity among the younger generation.

Key Points

  • 43.1% think situationship is probably a testament to the pragmatic approach the current generation takes to most of their needs.
  • 40% think situationship should be considered an official relationship status
  • 30.34% think that the current generation generally prefers situationship over committed relationships.

Old Wine in a New Bottle

Based on the survey data, it appears that most respondents (27.89%) were aware of the concept of situationship but didn’t know it had a name or definition. This finding shows that even though the term is new, the idea or practice is not. It has been a part of society since the beginning of dating culture.

However, it’s worth noting that 24.86% of respondents said they were completely unaware of this concept, and 24.78% stated that they were only partially aware of it.

Interestingly, a minority (22.47%) of respondents stated that they were completely unaware of what situationships are.

Fig 1 Awareness of the concept of “situationship”
Fig 1: Awareness of the concept of “situationship”

A New Escapade

Data revealed that the majority of respondents (30.34%) believe that the current generation is more likely to engage in situationships for romance rather than committed relationships. From this finding, it’s safe to say that respondents think young people are more likely to opt for short-term situationships over long-term commitments or relationships, to possibly avoid the responsibilities of a serious relationship, while still enjoying the benefits of romance and companionship.

On the contrary, 27.23% think that it depends on the individual’s preferences whether they choose to pursue a situationship or a conventional relationship for a romantic bond.

However, 21.59% of respondents feel that the current generation prefers committed relationships over situationships, while 20.84% remained undecided.

Fig 2 Current Generations Preference of Situationships over Relationships
Fig 2: Current Generations Preference of Situationships over Relationships

Rationalizing Love and Sex

When asked whether situationships are evidence of the pragmatic approach taken by the current generation to fulfill their needs, a whopping 43.1% of respondents mentioned that it probably is. This was followed by 31.98% who believe that it is definitely a rational and pragmatic approach to seeking love, sex, and companionship.

However, 18.7% suggest that this probably is not a testament to the youth’s pragmatism, backed by 6.22% who think it is definitely not evidence to prove the current generation’s inclination towards the pragmatic approach over the idealistic ones.

In this context, it could be argued that not all of those who engage in situationships belong to the current generation. Nevertheless, an increasing body of research validates that members of Gen Z seem to take a particularly pragmatic approach to relationships compared to prior generations.

Fig 3 Situationship as a testament to the pragmatic approach the current generation opts for to fulfill all their needs.
Fig 3: Situationship as a testament to the pragmatic approach the current generation opts for to fulfill all their needs.

Final Verdict: To Be or Not To Be?

Weighing the benefits and pitfalls of being in a situationship, 26.64% think that one of the benefits could be that it can be a way to avoid social pressure to be in a committed relationship, particularly among younger generations, followed by 16.23% who argue that it can be a way to enjoy the benefits of physical intimacy without the expectations or responsibilities of a committed relationship.

Situationships can allow individuals to focus on their personal goals and interests without being tied down by a relationship, as suggested by 15.22% of respondents. 13.08% call it a good way to avoid feelings of loneliness or isolation, and 13.63% observe this practice as a way to avoid the potential pitfalls or downsides of traditional relationships, such as jealousy, fighting, or breakups. The remaining 15.2% choose none of the mentioned benefits.

What entices most people about situationship is that they get the best of both worlds—the perks of being in a relationship minus the responsibilities of a relationship.

Contrastingly, when asked about the downsides of situationship, 24.86% are of the opinion that it can be emotionally unsatisfying, as individuals may feel a lack of commitment or intimacy in the relationship. Inferring that the momentary romance from the situationship can leave one yearning for more, and the absence of commitment might make some feel insecure.

Additionally, 16.15% pointed out that it can lead to confusion and uncertainty about the status of the relationship, which can be emotionally stressful. Among the other notable concerns, 15.86% stated that situationship can prevent individuals from finding a more compatible or fulfilling long-term partner, as they may become emotionally attached to their situationship partner.

When “to be in a situationship or not to be in a situationship” is the question, 13.65% showed skepticism as they believe it can create jealousy and insecurity, particularly if one or both partners are still seeing other people.


Based on the data collected from the survey, a significant 40.60% of respondents strongly believe that situationship should be considered an official relationship status, while 31.22% disagreed with it, and 28.18% remained undecided.


Survey TitleSurvey: Public Opinion on Situationship
DurationMarch 15 to March 22, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.