In today's society, pseudo relationships or what we like to call “situationships” are literally the driving force behind why we fear intimacy and genuine connection. Situationships are relationships that create a semblance of a connection, but it’s really a bond rooted in fear, anxiety, and insecurity.
The reason situationships usually rarely ever turn into healthy committed relationships is because the foundation of the connection is built on quicksand. Anything built on relationship insecurity and unresolved wounding leads to emotional unavailability–and emotional unavailability is actually the thing that drives situationships to run a muck in today's dating climate and go unchecked.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situationship, it’s one of the most painful relationships to be in because it’s not a REAL relationship. These relationships are never clearly defined, and you do not have any clarity about where things are going. Communication is frequent, it feels like a relationship, but it’s not actually a relationship-it’s just a state of confusion with another person.
Situationships can be dangerous because you start to lose yourself in what feels like a connection, but really it’s just a reenactment of attachment wounding with another person. You find yourself disowning your standards and complying with what the other person wants to maintain, which feels like a connection.
These types of relationships are the hardest to walk away from because, deep down, they are not relationships, they are addictions that feed on our deepest wounds. They make us question our entire sense of self and reinforce the idea that we have to prove and alter ourselves for love.
Healing from these types of relationships requires you to turn within and explore what made you a match for this type of connection to begin with. The only way that we can heal from situationships is to heal our relationship with ourselves.
If you are contemplating walking away from a situationship or if you just recently walked away from one, here are some tips to get you started on your healing process so you can attract more meaningful relationships with people who are a reflection of your heart rather than your wounds.
Refrain From Abandoning Yourself for Connection
As social beings who long for a sense of connection and belonging, we tend to adopt OTHER people's standards to avoid the discomfort we feel in standing on our own. We fear the thought of ever having to stand alone in relationships, especially if the other person's values and standards do not align with our own.
But when you’re clear and confident about what you desire, you won’t wait months and years for someone to make up their mind about you.
Emotionally available people don’t stick around waiting for other people to become available. They accept people for who they are and move accordingly. Knowing that you want a relationship and sticking around waiting for someone to make up their mind about you is unloving to yourself. The first step in your healing is becoming more confident and honest about what you desire so you can attract individuals who want the same thing.
Explore Your Connection to One-Sided Relationships With a Licensed Professional
I don’t think anyone really desires to be in a one-sided relationship. Still, sometimes when we have unresolved childhood wounding around abandonment, rejection, and feelings of unworthiness, we tend to recreate those same relationship dynamics in our adult relationships.
In a recent tweet, I wrote:
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we will seek constant reassurance from people who trigger our insecurities around not feeling “good enough”— Imani.intouch (@imaniintouch) April 22, 2023
We want these people to love us because deep down we think:
“If I can just get the unavailable person to feel good about me-it will finally make up for my own lack of self love and what I didn’t receive from my caregivers”— Imani.intouch (@imaniintouch) April 22, 2023
Our relationships are a reflection of what we believe is possible for us. Suppose all we ever experienced in our lives is one-sided relationships. In that case, we will tend to gravitate towards those types of relationships in adulthood because we subconsciously know our role in those relationships.
Deep down, it looks a little something like this:
“Growing up, I learned that relationships tend to be unloving, chaotic, and confusing. In order to maintain a connection with others and ensure my survival, I usually have to appease people and disown my standards/boundaries to keep the peace and gain their approval. Even though this person I’m in a situationship with reminds me of a familiar dynamic, I'll override the anxiety I’m feeling in the relationship and call it love because all I’ve known love to be is chaotic, one-sided and dysfunctional. Therefore, this anxiety that I’m feeling with this person must be love.”
Those words are my own experience with love and where I used to be when I navigated love from a hurt place versus a healed place as I see it now. It could be helpful to sort out your childhood and relational experiences with a licensed professional so they can help you get to the root of why you may be relating to an insecure place in your relationships.
Take the Medicine From the Experience and Hold Yourself Accountable
Low-quality experiences are meant to be transmuted into wisdom. Look at experiences like these as opportunities for growth by answering the following questions:
- What did you learn about yourself from this experience?
- What parts of yourself did you deny, hide or disown to be with this person?
- How can you ensure that you will not do that again when you’re building new connections with people moving forward?
- How can you alchemize this heartbreak into wisdom?
Acknowledge That You Actually Are Going Through Symptoms of a Breakup
Just because you may have convinced yourself that a label doesn’t “mean anything,” it does not mean your feelings were not real. Relationships are not light switches, and we pay the price when we treat them as such. Your feelings are not a toy, and you should not let anyone treat them as such, including yourself.
Allow yourself to grieve what you had with this person until you can get to a place of acceptance around what happened in the connection and why it ended the way it did.
Closure is not something we seek in another person, closure is something we give ourselves.
Get Your Life Together
Go outside, get in touch with friends you may have disconnected from, and get in touch with your support system. Right now, you need to be around high-quality relationships that pour into you and fill you up.
Never stop dating yourself, even if you get into a relationship with someone else in the future. You are always supposed to create a life for yourself outside of being in a relationship with someone else. That’s how you maintain a strong sense of self, so why not work on strengthening that muscle in the here and now?
Understand That Other People’s Choices Have Nothing To Do With Your Innate Value
Someone not choosing you or not wanting to be in a relationship with you does NOT mean you weren't "good enough" for them. "Enoughness" is a stronghold that has had many people in a chokehold for decades.
If you poured me a glass of water, I could say, "That's enough," and the glass could be half full.
If I poured you a glass of water, you could say, "That's enough," and the glass could be filled all the way to the top.
Enoughness is all about perception!
People only value what they perceive themselves to need. If someone does not perceive themselves to want a relationship with you for whatever reason, it is because they do not perceive themselves to need what you have to offer, and why even be with someone who does not want or cannot handle ALL of you?
Release yourself from the shackles of not being "good enough" in someone else's eyes. You are not them, and you have no idea what their values are.
Remember, sometimes the person NOT choosing you is the blessing.
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Featured image by David Espejo/Getty Images
- The Importance Of Healing After A Breakup ›
- How I Broke Free From A 7-Year Situationship That Wasn't Serving Me ›
- Being Strung Along In A Situationship Inspired Me To Create Wellness Retreats For Women ›
- 12 Ways To Boss Up And Move On From Your Situationship ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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