Situationship, Ghosting and Breadcrumbing: Three increasingly widespread relational phenomena


If you’ve ever been in a confusing relationship situation where you weren’t sure what to expect from the other person or from yourself, you’ve probably been in a situationship.

It is a romantic relationship, but free from definitions and commitments, which can be fun and fulfilling, but also a source of frustration and dissatisfaction.

In this article we will explain what a situationship is, what are its characteristics, its pros and cons, and how to best manage it.

We will tell you about another increasingly common phenomenon in the world of relationships: ghosting, or the sudden and unjustified disappearance of a partner or potential partner. We will tell you what ghosting is, why it occurs, what its consequences are and how to overcome it.

Finally we will address the topic of breadcrumbing, a form of emotional manipulation.

What is a situationship?

The term situationship is a neologism that derives from the fusion of the words situation (situation) and relationship (relationship). With situationship we indicate an indefinite sentimental relationship, halfway between casual sex and a real relationship. Its main feature is the lack of clarity: it is not clear whether you are friends, lovers or boyfriends; you don’t know if you’re involved emotionally or just physically; it is not known whether one is exclusive or not. In short, we don’t quite know what we are.

A situationship can arise for various reasons: for example, because one is afraid to commit or be rejected; because you want to maintain your freedom and independence; why you are in a phase of transition or change in your life; because you need to experiment or have fun; why you are attracted to someone who does not match your standards or values; because hopefully the situation will evolve into something more.

What are the characteristics of a situationship?

A situationship differs from a traditional relationship for some typical characteristics:

  • The relationship is indefinite: there has never been a conversation to define the relationship, set expectations and limits. It may seem too early to have it, or it may be difficult to deal with.
  • There is no consistency: there is no regularity in contact or meetings. You live from day to day, without knowing when you’ll hear or see each other again. You communicate intermittently and unpredictably.
  • There is no mention of the future: there are no short-term or long-term plans. We don’t talk about what you want from the relationship or from yourself. You don’t share your dreams or aspirations.
  • The connection is superficial: even if you have fun together or have sex, there is no deep emotional intimacy. Conversations are trivial and not about one’s feelings or needs. We don’t really know each other.
  • The relationship is based on convenience: you don’t prioritize or make an effort to see each other. Last minute plans are made, based on availability or the alternative. There are no romantic gestures or special attentions.
  • The relationship is not exclusive: there is no agreement of fidelity or monogamy. One or both partners can see other people. There is no mutual trust.
  • There is no following: when we see each other, we act like a couple, but when we part, we act like acquaintances. We don’t write or call to find out how the other is or to tell him we miss him. We don’t get involved in each other’s lives.

What are the pros and cons of a situationship?

A situationship can have positive and negative sides, depending on one’s expectations, desires and personality. Here are some pros and cons of a situationship:


  • One can enjoy the benefits of a relationship without expending too much emotional energy. You have companionship, affection, sex, entertainment, without having to worry about problems or responsibilities.
  • You can maintain your freedom and independence. You have space for yourself, for your interests, for your friendships, without having to adapt to the needs or requests of the other.
  • You can experiment and find out what you really want. You have the opportunity to meet different people, to explore your sexuality, to understand what we like or dislike in a relationship.
  • You can live in the present without thinking about the future. You have a light and spontaneous relationship, without having to ask too many questions or concerns. Enjoy the moment without expecting anything more.

Cons :

  • You may experience frustration and dissatisfaction. One has the feeling of not having enough, of not being appreciated or respected, of not being on the same wavelength as the other. You want something more stable and deep.
  • You may suffer from anxiety and uncertainty. You are afraid of losing the other, of being replaced or betrayed, of not being good enough. We live in a state of expectation and dependence on the other.
  • Time and opportunities can be wasted. We get stuck in a situation that doesn’t satisfy us, that doesn’t make us grow, that leads us nowhere. We give up looking for other people who might be more suitable for us.
  • One can damage one’s self-esteem and well-being. One questions one’s own worth, one’s merit, one’s love. You suffer the other’s behavior without reacting or defending yourself. You neglect your physical and mental health.

How to handle a situationship?

If you find yourself in a situationship and don’t know what to do, here are some useful tips:

  • Be honest with yourself: ask yourself what you really want from this relationship and this person. Be upfront about your feelings, needs, and limitations. Do not delude yourself or deny yourself the reality.
  • Communicate with your partner: take courage and face the conversation to define the relationship. Express your expectations, your fears and your intentions. Listen to what the other has to say and try to understand if you are compatible or not.
  • Evaluate your options: Based on what you’ve discovered, decide whether to continue the situationship as it is, try to turn it into a more serious relationship, or end it altogether. Be consistent with yourself and with your partner.
  • Take care of yourself: whatever your choice, remember to respect and love yourself. Don’t accept situations that make you feel bad or that make you feel less than who you are. Don’t give up on your values ​​or your dreams. Don’t neglect your physical and mental health.

Ghosting in life and in the couple

Ghosting is an increasingly widespread phenomenon in interpersonal relationships, especially in the era of social networks and dating apps. It is a practice which consists in terminating a relationship, be it sentimental or friendly, without giving any explanation to the other person, but cutting off all forms of communication with them. In other words, it’s about disappearing like a ghost from someone’s life, leaving them in doubt and suffering.

But why ghosting? What are the consequences for those who suffer it and for those who do it? How can one react to this form of sudden and unjustified abandonment? These are some of the questions we will try to answer in this research, based on scientific sources and real testimonies.

Why is ghosting done?

The motivations that drive a person to ghost can be different, but in general they can be reduced to two categories: fear and comfort.

Fear concerns the difficulty of facing confrontation with the other person, of expressing one’s feelings and reasons, of managing the negative emotions that can arise from a breakup, such as anger, sadness, guilt or remorse. Ghosters fear hurting the other or being hurt themselves, and prefer to avoid the conflict and emotional responsibility that comes with ending a relationship.

Convenience, on the other hand, concerns the ease with which a relationship can be interrupted in the digital age, without having to face the other face to face, but simply by blocking or deleting him from one’s virtual contacts. Ghosters act in a selfish and superficial way, thinking only of their own well-being and entertainment, without caring about the feelings and needs of the other. The ghoster has no real interest in the other, but uses it as an object to be discarded when it is no longer needed or when it finds a better one.

What are the consequences of ghosting?

Ghosting is a form of psychological violence that causes serious damage to those who suffer it. In fact, those who are abandoned in this way experience a series of negative reactions, including:

  • Confusion: the ghosted person does not understand what happened, why the other disappeared without explanation, if he did something wrong or if there is still hope of resuming the relationship.
  • Doubt: those who suffer ghosting begin to question themselves and the relationship they had with the other, trying to find justification for the other’s behavior or signals that they should have caught before.
  • Anger: those who undergo ghosting feel a strong resentment towards the other, for treating them with contempt and lack of respect, for deceiving them and then disappointing them, for depriving them of the possibility of clarifying and ending the relationship in a civil way.
  • Sadness: those who undergo ghosting suffer for the loss of the other, for the emptiness they leave in their lives, for the sense of loneliness and abandonment they feel.
  • Guilt: Those who are ghosted tend to blame themselves for what happened, thinking that they weren’t good enough, good enough, interesting or funny enough for the other, that they did or said something wrong, that they didn’t deserve love or friendship with no one.
  • Fear: those who suffer ghosting develop a distrust of other people and other relationships, fearing being hurt or abandoned again in this way, avoiding opening up and trusting someone.

These reactions can have negative effects on the mental and physical health of the ghosted person, causing anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, low self-esteem, social isolation and relationship difficulties.

Even those who ghost are not immune to negative consequences, even if they often do not realize or admit them. Indeed, who does the ghosting:

  • He loses the opportunity to grow and mature as a person, avoiding facing his emotions and problems, remaining stuck in a condition of emotional immaturity and irresponsibility.
  • He damages his reputation and credibility, being seen by others as a person who is not very serious, not very reliable, not very respectful and not very empathetic, who does not take charge of his own choices and actions.
  • He deprives himself of the possibility of living authentic and deep relationships based on trust, dialogue, respect and mutual love, settling for superficial and fleeting relationships that do not satisfy and enrich him.

How can you react to ghosting?

If you have been a victim of ghosting, you need to know that you are not alone and that it is not your fault. Don’t let this negative experience make you lose faith in yourself and in others. There are strategies you can adopt to overcome ghosting and take control of your life. Here are some:

  • Accept reality: even if it’s hard to accept, you have to resign yourself to the fact that the other person doesn’t want to have anything to do with you anymore and that you will never receive an explanation from them. Don’t insist on looking for him or contacting him, but let go of the relationship and close it permanently in your mind and heart.
  • Express your emotions: don’t repress or deny what you feel, but let your feelings out, both positive and negative. You can write a journal, talk to a friend, cry, scream, or do whatever makes you feel better. The important thing is that you don’t withdraw into yourself and that you don’t hurt yourself.
  • Seek support: don’t isolate yourself, but seek the support of the people you love and who love you. Family, friends, colleagues, self-help groups, or mental health professionals can be invaluable resources in helping you overcome ghosting and regain confidence in yourself and others.
  • Take care of yourself: make time for your physical and mental health by exercising, eating healthy, sleeping well, meditating or practicing relaxation techniques. Also, cultivate your interests and passions by doing things you enjoy and that make you feel good.
  • Open your mind: Don’t let ghosting make you cynical or distrustful of other people and other relationships. Remember that not everyone is like the one who hurt you and that there are wonderful people who can come into your life. Be open to change and new opportunities, without being afraid to love or be loved.

In conclusion, ghosting is a cruel and immature practice that can cause a lot of pain to those who suffer it. However, it is possible to overcome it with strength and dignity, learning from this negative experience and transforming it into an opportunity for personal growth. Don’t let ghosting break you

Breadcrumbing in life and in the couple

Breadcrumbing is a form of emotional manipulation that involves keeping a person in suspense with vague messages, mixed signals, and broken promises. The term derives from the image of the bread crumbs left by Tom Thumb to find his way home, but which in this case do not lead to a defined destination.

Breadcrumbing can happen both in life and in the couple, and has the purpose of creating dependence and confusion in the victim, who is under the illusion of having a relationship or a possibility with the manipulator. The manipulator, on the other hand, has no real interest in the victim, but only uses her to satisfy his ego, his boredom or her insecurity.

Breadcrumbing manifests itself in behaviors such as:

  • send sporadic and superficial messages, without ever deepening the conversation or proposing a meeting;
  • disappear for long periods and then suddenly reappear with excuses or justifications;
  • make compliments or declarations of love without ever realizing;
  • show interest only when the victim moves away or shows signs of tiredness;
  • avoid defining relationship status or making commitments;
  • using social media to send mixed signals or provoke jealousy.

Breadcrumbing is detrimental to the mental health and well-being of the victim, who may experience anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness, guilt, low self-esteem and love addiction. Breadcrumbing can also prevent the victim from finding a healthy and fulfilling relationship with a person who appreciates and respects them.

To get out of breadcrumbing, you need to recognize the signs of manipulation and become aware of your worth. It is also important to establish clear and firm boundaries with the manipulator, avoiding replying to his texts or looking for him.

Finally, it is helpful to seek the support of trusted people or a qualified professional who can help you overcome the trauma and regain confidence in yourself and in others.


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