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What’s a Pseudo Relationship? 8 Reasons to Avoid It at All Costs

Have you ever been with someone in a way that was a little more than “friends with benefits” but a little less than a committed partnership? Then you may have been in a pseudo relationship.

A pseudo-relationship is similar to a “situation-ship,” but with even less clarity (if you can imagine that).

If you have no desire to be in a committed relationship and just want to have fun – that’s great! There’s no problem with that. But a pseudo-relationship is something else entirely – and it’s easier than you think to get caught up in one that ends up making you feel more drained than fulfilled.

I’ll give you the low-down on what a pseudo-relationship is and eight reasons you should avoid it at all costs.

What Is a Pseudo Relationship?

couple at the lake
Photo by Yan Miranda on Pexels.com

A pseudo-relationship is typically based on convenience, comfort, or happenstance rather than genuine connection, communication, and commitment.

From the outside, a pseudo-relationship looks like a normal one. You meet up recurringly throughout the week. You go on dates. You text and call. You’re investing time in each other.

However, in this type of relationship, there’s little to no communication about what the partnership entails, what each individual’s standards or boundaries are, what the future might look like for the relationship, or any type of conversation that helps people feel respected, honored, and secure in a relationship.

It usually begins because of some real interest, but neither partner is willing to have the DTR conversation – either due to fear of commitment, insecurity about how the other person will respond, or else.

What’s the Difference Between a Pseudo Relationship and a Situation-ship?

A pseudo-relationship is similar to what many vaguely call a “situation-ship.” But even in a situation-ship, at least one person usually claims they’re not “looking for anything serious right now” or “want to take it slow.”

You’re usually aware in a situation-ship that it’s not serious and won’t be unless the relationship develops.

While a situation-ship can undoubtedly be frustrating in its own way, a pseudo-relationship means that at least one party is simply “going with the flow” without any indication of what they truly want or don’t want from the “relationship.”

All the while, they’re still acting as if they are in a committed relationship. This can lead to mixed messages, long-term complacency, wasted time, or worse.

So, while these types of relationships may seem attractive initially, given their “easygoing” nature, they are often damaging in the long run.

Here are eight reasons why you should avoid a pseudo-relationship at all costs.

1. You’ll Lack a Deep Connection

settling in a relationship - jealous of other couples
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

A pseudo-relationship will never offer the same level of emotional connection as an actual relationship.

In a relationship, feeling vulnerable and sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner is essential, as it deepens the bond.

At least one person isn’t willing to open up past a certain point, which might shake up the status quo of complacency. Thus, you and your partner are likely to stay in the same pattern of behavior, never getting the chance to deepen the bond and grow as a couple.

2. You Won’t Feel Fully Fulfilled

Pseudo-relationships are often dissatisfying because both parties know deep down that their connection will never be as strong as a true relationship.

There’s also no clarity about boundaries, so not only can you not get what you might want from a relationship, but you also may feel discouraged from opening yourself to meeting other people since you’ll still feel like you’re technically in a “relationship.”

Thus, you may feel like you’re teetering between single and partnered without getting the actual benefits of either status, thus leaving you unfulfilled and empty in the long run.

3. A Pseudo Relationship Can Lead to Unexpected Heartbreak

woman looking holding while holding head with left hand
Photo by Austin Guevara on Pexels.com

It’s heartbreaking when you care about someone deeply, and things don’t work out.

And while a pseudo-relationship might start with neither party feeling fully invested – or otherwise thinking the partnership is casual while acting like it’s serious – feelings may grow for one individual or the other.

If you and your partner are not on the same page about the relationship, you can find yourself in a painful situation once the level of commitment is tested.

Heartbreak is even more likely to occur if there hasn’t been an established precedent for honest, open communication – the type of communication that isn’t prioritized in a pseudo-relationship.

4. A Pseudo Relationship Can Lead To Resentment

It’s important to note that people in pseudo-relationships don’t know they’re in one. They simply might be somewhat content with feeling like they’re in a relationship while simultaneously nervous about asking for a clear commitment or something more profound.

Since a pseudo-relationship looks like a proper relationship, it’s easy for one partner (who’s secretly striving to turn it into a more meaningful relationship) to feel like they’re doing more work or making more sacrifices.

This person can quickly become resentful, thus creating a toxic atmosphere and making the relationship unsustainable.

5. It Can Be Difficult or Awkward To Move On From a Pseudo Relationship

Ending a pseudo-relationship can be more difficult in some ways than ending a genuine relationship.

This is because there was never an emotional connection or clear communication, to begin with, and healthy breakups require emotional understanding and clear communication.

That said, ending something that never had a clear starting point can make it challenging to move on in a healthy way. And the longer it continues, the more challenging it’ll be.

6. A Pseudo Relationship Can Lead To Trust Issues

hispanic lady looking jealously at boyfriend while texting on cellphone
Photo by Budgeron Bach

A lack of trust can quickly form between two people in a pseudo-relationship, given the imbalance that tends to arise due to the lack of clarity on what the partnership truly is.

Suppose one partner starts to feel like the other is not and will never be committed while they are beginning to develop deeper feelings. In that case, they may find it hard to trust their partner because there’s been no indication of each other’s interpersonal boundaries.

Whether you’re the person developing more feelings or the person who’s trying to keep things more casual, this can wreak havoc on your ability to maintain the “easygoing” facade.

It’ll also make it challenging to avoid massive amounts of confusion, misunderstanding, and conflict in the long run.

7. A Pseudo Relationship Is a Waste of Time

All relationships require an investment of time and energy. But a pseudo-relationship can be draining on both partners’ time and energy, without either of them getting enough of the benefits of a true relationship.

If one or both of you will never be truly committed to the relationship, then you’re both just wasting time that could be spent on finding a better connection.

Alternatively, suppose you’re not looking for a committed partnership. In that case, you’ll be wasting time that you could instead spend interacting with people who want more casual partnerships and hookups – and don’t want to play “pretend.”

As you can see, a pseudo-relationship is simply the worst of both worlds.

8. Being in a Pseudo Relationship Is Not Fair to Yourself

woman with eyes closed touching her forehead
Photo by Mental Health America (MHA) on Pexels.com

Because a pseudo-relationship is the worst of both worlds – between being single and being taken – it’s simply not fair to yourself to get stuck in one.

You won’t be getting the most out of a relationship, but you also won’t be able to freely interact with other people because, in your mind, you’re still in a relationship.

By avoiding this type of relationship, you can ensure you’re investing your time and energy into something more aligned with your desired relationship goals.

Final Word

At the end of the day, a pseudo-relationship is not worth it, regardless of how easy or convenient it feels at first (or how it looks on the ‘Gram.)

It will not provide the connection and fulfillment that you can receive in a true relationship, nor won’t offer the flexibility and opportunity you can receive by staying single. 

Avoiding these types of relationships can save you much wasted time.

If you want to know whether you’re falling into a pseudo-relationship, or some specific tips for actively avoiding them, feel free to email me at contact@samenewlove.com or DM me on Insta: @samenew_love.



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