Shifting red flags to green flags: how to avoid the “situationship”

Shifting red flags to green flags: how to avoid the “situationship”

By: Alison Printz, LSW

Swipe right on a picture of a cute stranger. Match with them. They message you. Go out on a few dates. A few dates turn into a couple months of dating. They’ve met your friends, they spend Sunday mornings with you having bagels, they’re best friends with your dog. Then when it’s time to define the relationship…they suddenly “aren’t ready for a relationship?

Welcome to the “situationship”.

Where you quite weren’t in a relationship, but acted like you were in one. It brings up all the feelings of a breakup: sadness, anger, confusion, frustration. It’s grieving a loss, just like any breakup, with or without a label. It’s a vicious cycle over and over again that is all too common in modern dating.



Counseling Hoboken; Mollie Busino, LCSW, Director of Mindful Power. Mollie has had extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Fertility Counseling, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Her work focuses on Anxiety, Depression, Anger Management, Career Changes, OCD, Relationship, Dating Challenges, Insomnia, & Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

Once you’re ready to go back out there, what can you do to change the pattern?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Be clear on what you want early on in the relationship:
    Communicating your needs and expectations in the relationship early and often provides clarity. Finding out if you and your potential partner are on the same page can save you from heartbreak down the line. This way, you can know if you want to continue or to cut ties.
  2. Pay attention to what someone DOES not what they SAY:
    A good clue to know if someone is committed to the relationship is through their actions. Does this person have consistent communication, or are they only in contact every so often? Are they making plans days in advance, or last minute ones? Is the communication more initiated on your side than theirs? Do they respect your boundaries that you set? These are often hints as to how they would act in a relationship long-term.
  3. Profiles tell all:
    On dating apps, someone’s profile can give you clues as to what they are looking for. Do they have thoughtful and articulate prompts or answers? Are their pictures appropriate and not gym selfies? Do they have anything listed on their profile that tells you that they are looking for a long-term relationship?

While there are no hard and fast rules, these guidelines might help in finding a person who may be emotionally available and ready to be in a relationship.

Looking for support?

Looking for support?

Does this sound familiar?

Are you looking for a supportive community of women in a similar position? We have a Dating Support Group starting on July 17, led by Ali Printz, LSW. The group will be meeting bi-weekly, virtually, Mondays from 7:30-8:30 pm. To sign up or receive more information, please contact us.