The hope of something more is always there, dangling like a carrot over every late night "U up? While legit relationships are built on clear communication and understanding, situationships are built on the absence of them. There's at least a layer of mutual respect in no-strings-attached hookups.

You communicate what you can emotionally give — even if that's nothing.

The boundaries for situationships are drawn from things unsaid.

We never spoke about it but for almost the entirety of our time together, I couldn't get over the fact that there was no label.

We did so many grown-up things that had previously only existed in the "things only couples do" category of my mind together, like picking out a mirror for his apartment, but I couldn't shake the fact that he wasn't introducing me as his girlfriend when we went out to dinner with his friends.

There are few things in life that can make you feel as stupid as crying over a boyfriend you couldn't even call your boyfriend.

It's one thing to be upset when your official partner has disappointed you, but when it's someone who won't even admit that the "dates" you've been going on constitutes as "dating," you feel doubly dumb.

Normalizing situationships teaches people to lower their expectations and take whatever they can get from a partner, because hey, at least he likes you. The sooner you can lean into your feelings and stop being ashamed of having emotions, the sooner you can bounce back and get back out there.

As for my great situationship, things ended after I rolled over in bed away from him one evening and asked gathered the courage to ask a very chill "Do you even like me or anything? "I'm trying to find the right thing to say," he said, but I already knew. I have faith I'll go mirror shopping again someday.

For all the ink that's been spilled about how toxic casual hookup culture is, situationships are a lot more destructive. You can't be angry or sad, or even comfortably summarize to your friends that you got dumped, because you weren't really dating in the first place.

So save yourself from the fallout and set boundaries early on.

"If there weren't any feelings, it would be merely a hookup.""It is a hella annoying whisper of a step below official boyfriend/girlfriend thing," Chelsea*, 22, explained.