As a therapist and friend, I have had this conversation many times. I believe everyone wants and desires connection and a loving relationship. However, men are socialized to undervalue relationships, although they benefit more from them.
Most people are honest about what they are looking for if women listen to them, are observant, and are honest with themselves about what is happening. When someone is not ready they will either state that or show it in their behavior.
What is a situationship?
A situationship is an intimate relationship that is not labeled as a romantic relationship. It usually involves two people who have feelings for each other and are involved in an ongoing physical and/or emotional connection but never actually commit to an official relationship.
How women can avoid entering into a situationship?
Because women are taught to overvalue relationships, they sometimes engage in de-selfing to get into a relationship. Society ties a woman’s worthiness to a relationship and she may pursue it whether it’s what she truly wants or it’s safe.
Humans are deeply wired for connection which sometimes makes loneliness hard to tolerate. If a woman whats to avoid a situationship she has to do the inner work to recognize when she is betraying herself for a “relationship”.
Honesty with self is essential so you are not convincing yourself that a situationship is really what you want. Siutaionships can also be a way of avoiding true intimacy. If you never get into a real relationship, you won't have to face your fears of abandonment and not being good enough.
It’s okay if the person does not want a committed relationship, but it’s up to you to set the boundary.
So in essence, the best way to avoid a situationship is to do your inner work.
How to know when someone is ready for a relationship?
The best way to know something is to ask and not assume. The answer is also more reliable when it's coming from the source.
Your attachment traumas can create anxieties and fears that cloud your interpretation of the person’s behavior. For example, you may not hear from them and automatically assume they are seeing someone else or losing interest. When it could very much be, they are busy with work during the day or go to bed early. If you jump to conclusions without fact-checking your cognitive distortions it can lead to conflict or a premature breakup.
If you are aware of your relationship anxieties and it doesn't get in your way, here are some possible signs:
You have had the conversation and a relationship is one of his future goals.
Listen out for how he talks about your relationships and the future. You shouldn't be trying to decode and analyze the relationship. If you are confused about where you stand in the relationship, chances are a relationship is not in the near future.
He is spending his FREE time with you. If he does not prioritize spending quality time with you then the relationship may not be a priority.
He has or wants to integrate you into his life by introducing you to friends and family.
So the bottom line is that communication is important even while dating. Challenge your fears and ask difficult questions to get the information you are looking for.
Take a look at Stan Tatkin work to get more support with dating.