Skip to main content

lottienorton2
5th February 2020

The problem with normalising ‘situationships’

With labelless relationships promoted by reality TV, is having no expectations the new expectation?
Categories:
TLDR
The problem with normalising ‘situationships’
Relationship photo: Valentin Antonucci @Unsplash

Reality shows depict people and situations which are supposed to be relatable. However, it is near impossible to name a reality show in which there is not an ‘on-off’ couple, one person yearning for an established relationship, while the other refuses ever to name the situation, which can only be called a ‘situationship’. And despite the unfulfilled, unhappy half, the audience will remain gripped to this ‘couple’, cheering them on. In this way, we risk romanticising toxic relationships and normalising harmful behaviour.

Love Island, for example, promotes disposable relationships. Individuals couple up, but the mentality is: ‘keep your options open’. Afraid of being ‘mugged off’, the contestants fail to commit and are always ready for pastures new. Audience tweets show that they encourage re-couplings, shuffling the deck of kings and queens, and normalising a disposable mentality.

Relationships in the villa often come with the labels removed. As a result, contestants never know where they stand. Those in a couple will witness someone try to change the mind of their ‘partner’. Instead of leaving the situation, they rise to meet their competitor. How would you feel having to compete for your bae? Would you fight or flight? Actually, it seems that millennials are becoming more tolerant of non-committed relationships. Few escape the ‘what are we?’ predicament and many are happy to settle for an almost-relationship.

Yes, sometimes these ‘situationships’ become something more, but what about the side that television programmes don’t illuminate—when both individuals are in fact on different pages and one never intends to commit. There can be many reasons for this. Some people are scared of getting hurt because of past relationships. Some want to keep their options open. Some just do not want to settle down.

TV shows present unlabelled relationships as the result of a lack of communication, yet they are glorified all the same. The message being conveyed seems to be this: tolerate an unhappy ‘situationship’ in the hope that, one day, the feeling will be mutual. Our society should not treat people so disposably.


More Coverage

A ‘quarter-life crisis’?: Finding your feet after a break-up

Do you feel like you are experiencing a ‘quarter-life crisis’ in your final year? Have you experienced a break-up? Read on to find out how you can find your feet in these (perhaps not so) difficult times

Little luxuries that make uni life more bearable

Treat yourself! Life as a university student isn’t always easy, but some things can make it that little bit more enjoyable

How to live a European lifestyle in Manchester

Life in Manchester may feel very different to continental Europe, but with our compilation of advice, you won’t feel so far from other European cultures as a student in the city

Why you don’t need New Year’s resolutions in 2024

With every New Year comes the same pressure to set resolutions and make personal changes, but this needless pressure won’t provide the route to fulfilment