My good friend Laura once called me a “lovergirl”, around about the time I was developing my first proper crush in sixth form. Laura never fully explained the term, but it is one I feel fits me quite well. I am someone who falls hard and quickly, obsessed with the idea of romance, soulmates and invisible strings. I recently found out, after some Socratic questioning from one of my friends, that when I really really like someone there is very little they could do that would entirely dissolve my feelings. I think “lovergirl” is a gender-neutral term, and I would like to think it is a term of endearment. Lovergirls feel everything very intensely, are either 0 or 100, probably listen to “glitter gel pen” music, and would have been diagnosed with hysteria and lobotomised in the 1930s. Lovergirls are not designed to be in situationships.

There are so many things I could say about situationships, but none of them would be as succinctly brilliant as the phrasing of my fellow Somervillian and personal hero, Izzy: “situationships are the death of romance.” 

This was said to me in the kitchen of our accommodation at about 4pm on a Sunday, whilst I was trying not to cry over my situationship for the millionth time. I agreed disheartenedly at the time, but it has echoed in my thoughts a thousand times since that conversation. How many times have I seen my friends’ hearts torn apart by messy situationships? What happened to regular dating? Why are we all so afraid of commitment, and more importantly, why are the lovergirls settling for less than the bare minimum?

I am well aware that I am not the first to be asking these questions. Even Sappho had her fair share of messy situationships (rip Atthis you would’ve hated Taylor Swift). And no one describes situationships better than songwriters. So I humbly present a list of songs which accurately depict everything that’s wrong with situationships. 

Lover by Taylor Swift

I choose this to be the first song because it is perhaps the most controversial (and because it is the only song on this list that is an album title). I know most people will see this and say “but it’s a love song! That’s literally in the name of the song!” and that’s probably true. As a Swiftie, I had mixed feelings about The Tortured Poets Department, but one thing it did do was make the fanatic Swifties pop off with theories about all of Taylor’s music, and I have been obsessed with their analyses of Lover. The line “at every table, I’ll save you a seat” made me cry recently, when I saw the interpretation that it’s really about always saving a seat for someone and them never showing up for you; a phenomenon which is becoming an almost-daily occurrence for me now. The word “lover” is also so classically situationship-coded – not knowing what you should call the person you’re seeing. You’re not dating, not really – can you even say you’ve been on a single date? And yet there’s a strong possibility that in the hazy moonlit hours of 3am you’ve discussed marriage and kids. We’ve all done it, and we all deserve so much better. 

History of Man by Maisie Peters

This song combines references to my two favourite things: the Trojan War and niche parts of the Bible. I had this song on repeat in Hilary – it quite literally soundtracked my walks to and from my situationship’s room (because of course we never see each other outside of his room). It is, I fear, a lovergirl’s anthem. The feeling of loving someone so deeply and knowing they will never feel the same speaks to me so strongly. Maisie Peters is quite possibly the queen of sad girl music, and this song tops it all. Maisie also saw through to my soul with the lyric “I save you a seat and then you say you wanna stand” because that did in fact happen to me recently (cue the tears)… 

bad idea right? by Olivia Rodrigo

This is perhaps the worst part of a situationship: knowing they’re all wrong for you, knowing it can never work out long-term, and then continuing to see them anyway. True lovergirls have probably broken things off with their situationships (and then felt silly for crying because you were never really together in the first place), and then got back together with them. One of my situationships was described to me as ‘an addiction’ by my ever-patient friend. You begin to crave their validation, because they give it to you so infrequently, and the lack of clear communication creates this awful dependency. How many times have my friends groaned when I told them I was going to see my situationship? How many times have I been told I’m better than this, or tried to get my friends to see that they’re better than the narcissists they seem to be attracted to? But we’ll keep going back, we can’t stop ourselves.

Bruises & Scratches by Sophie May

I’ll preface this by saying I love Sophie May. Bruises & Scratches is another song about knowing someone is wrong for you and not caring. Knowing they actively treat you badly and being addicted to them anyway. Perhaps it is because they treat you badly that you’re so obsessed with them? Maybe it’s because you know that it’ll never work out, and that makes it all less scary? You don’t have to be scared about messing something up when you know there’s nothing you can do that will make them truly care. 

Astronomy by Conan Gray

“Stop trying to keep us alive / You’re pointing at stars in the sky / that already died.” Conan Gray never fails to make me weep, and this song is about accepting that you can love someone and that won’t make them your person. You have to know when things aren’t working, and give it up when it becomes wrong: a lesson I am still trying to teach myself.

BSC by Maisie Peters

This song makes me absolutely feral. It truly is an expression of lovergirl frustration at a man who acts like he’s in love with you, giving you forehead kisses and acting entirely sweet, but refusing to ever actually commit. It’s about becoming unhinged over someone you were never actually with

This column is not a love letter to situationships. It is a love letter to all the lovergirls who endure these situationships and pretend they don’t need actual romance, who tell themselves they can fulfil their touch starvation with casual hookups. You deserve to not be left on delivered for a week. You deserve “good morning” texts, not a “u up?” sent at 3am and deleted before you have the chance to open it. You deserve someone you can introduce to your parents, not someone who tries to hide the fact that they’re seeing you. You deserve someone who will make the time and effort to see you, not just seeing you when it’s convenient for them. Lovergirls tend to prioritise those who they care about, and they deserve to be given the same treatment.

Realistically, situationships get their power from the fact that us lovergirls keep falling for the same old spiel. Speaking as someone with criminally low standards, I propose a collective heightening of what we expect from our relationships. Why do we settle? Because we think we have to. *SHOCKING NEWS* we don’t have to settle. 

But the real love letter here is to my friends. For an article about situationships, all I seem to be thinking about are the ways in which my friends have been incredibly supportive. From handling breakdowns to fruitlessly trying again and again to make me realise I deserve better, us lovergirls would crumble without the fantastic, loving, support networks that surround us. It is these friendships which give lovergirls the ability and the strength to break out of toxic situationships. To all the lovergirls: you can do better. To all their selfless, patient friends: thank you. 

Disclaimer: As much as this article may relate to aspects of my life, I have taken certain creative liberties – it is based on experiences past and present of both me and my friends. I promise there is no need to attack my situationship (he’s not all bad).