Almost relationships are potential relationships that never quite get started! But those weird, confusing “almost relationships” — the ones where it seems like it’s all going to work out until, you know, it doesn’t, can often be just as gut-wrenching as a full breakup. Below, we’ve compiled a few heartfelt reminders, and some tough love, for any of you who are currently navigating this kind of loss.
1. You’re not crazy, or silly, for not being able to move forward from this.
You don’t have to date someone to have feelings for them. You don’t have to be labeled as boyfriend/girlfriend for someone to have a special place in your heart — commitment isn’t the only measure of meaning for a relationship. Please don’t feel silly with yourself for caring. Almost relationships can hurt just as much as real relationships because connection isn’t measured in time. When your heart connects with someone, it connects with someone. Sometimes, that depth is fostered over years. And sometimes you crash into another human being, and despite only knowing them for a short collection of moments, you know that they are going to mean something to you. There are no rules.
The reality of the situation is that you met someone who made you feel deeply. You met someone who reciprocated what was happening within you. You met someone who wanted to hold your hand, and spend time with you, and as a human being who cares deeply, and as a human being who has a heart that pours for others, you fell for them. You fostered a connection that wanted to go deeper. And when you feel that, when you have all of that hope within you, it can be really, really difficult when someone doesn’t want to fall with you.
2. These kinds of dynamics can, in turn, make you feel like you aren’t good enough.
When you feel deeply for someone, and they reciprocate feelings, but they don’t want to commit, it is a very human reaction to feel like you are the sole reason why that commitment isn’t being made. It hurts to think that someone likes you, but not enough. It hurts to think that someone enjoys spending time with you, but not enough. It hurts to think that someone cares for you, but not enough.
Almosts can make you feel like, maybe if you were just a little funnier, or a little more chill, or a little more this, or a little more that, that would have made them want to stay. That would have made them choose you. But that’s not the case. Because it doesn’t matter how pretty you are, or how cool you are, or how intelligent you are. You couldn’t have been funnier, or loved them harder, or acted in a more casual way, to have convinced them to commit. Because at the end of the day, this person wasn’t ready to be in a committed relationship. This person wasn’t ready to take that leap. And that is where they are at. Nothing will change that.
3. At the end of the day, people choose these kind of wishy-washy relationships because they aren’t ready for a real one.
Whether that is because of their own circumstances, or their own baggage, or because they are afraid of commitment — that is their healing, and their growth, and their decision that they have made for themselves. Relationships take a lot of responsibility. And unfortunately, sometimes we crash our hearts into people who want all of the benefits of a relationship, but they cannot deal with the responsibility.
Sometimes people are honest with you about that, and that becomes a decision you have to make for your own heart. Is this something you can handle? Is this something you actually want? Hint: it never is. We just convince ourselves it is because we feel deeply. And sometimes people aren’t honest about that, and there are a lot of games at play, and you feel confused or hurt, like things aren’t progressing, like you aren’t being valued.
But, when it comes down to it, participating in this kind of unknown emotional grey zone — it’s about you in the end. And how you feel. If someone tells you that they cannot commit to you, you have to walk away. If someone plays games with you and your dynamic is hurting you, you have to walk away. Because when you settle for almost, you settle for almosts in every single aspect of a relationship. Almost happy. Almost valued. Almost chosen. The connection holds weight, but it’s still in a way surface. You’re still not being given all that you desire, you’re still holding out for something to grow from so much uncertainty.
4. Moving on from an almost is hard because you feel like you broke your own heart by settling.
It can be hard to admit to yourself that you agreed to something you knew you weren’t going to be fulfilled in because you thought you could change the circumstance, you thought that you could make it work in the end, that you would be chosen, that the concept of what you two shared would evolve. You can feel ashamed or upset that you didn’t listen to yourself, didn’t allow yourself to be honest about what you actually wanted or what was hurting you. It can make you feel like your feelings were delegitimize, not just by this person, but by yourself too. And nothing is more disappointing that letting yourself down. That stings. And that adds another level to the healing process.
And if that is where you’re at right now — in this kind of space where you’re upset with yourself for not communicating what you wanted, or for going along with a dynamic that was actually hurting you or making you doubt yourself — be gentle with yourself. It is okay. You found someone in life you really liked. You spent time with them and laughed with them and dreamed with them and made memories with them. You cared for them, and dove into their soul. You had inside jokes with them and learned about them, and your heart grew fond of them.
Give yourself permission to forgive yourself for wanting to keep that in your life, even if you knew deep down inside that you needed more. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself for trying for something, for believing in a connection and believing in what it could be. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself for seeing the goodness in another human being. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself for putting your heart out there.
5. Give yourself permission to be deeply honest with yourself about what the relationship was, not what you hoped it could be.
almost relationships cut deeply because they tend to make a human heart live within that “what if” phase. When you’re at the beginning stages of a relationship, when you’re trying to see how the parts of yourself line up with those of another, you live within perpetual potential. There is so much to be experienced, so much beauty to be had, so many feelings to feel. When you exist within an almost, you’re always building out a idea of someone, or something, that has yet to be grounded by real life — in a way you romanticize what could be. And that is so human. It is human to get excited about another person. It is human to leap towards the things that make you happy, or make you smile, or make you believe in the goodness of others, in what is in store for your heart.
So, at the end of the day, when you aren’t able to carry all of that out — when you aren’t given the chance to shine for someone or care for them or build something foundational with them, that hope can hang heavy within you. It can be difficult to lay down, because it still feels so promising. Sometimes, what could have been hurts more.
But you have to remind yourself of what was. At the end of the day, you fell into a dynamic that ended up hurting you. At the end of the day, no matter how much potential you believe there is, it’s not being chosen. That potential isn’t being valued. That potential isn’t being shown up for.
6. It’s not easy to feel like you’re getting closure and moving on when you aren’t even sure what you’re moving on from.
But, the truth is that, we won’t always end up with those we feel something deep and meaningful with. Some chapters of our lives are full and dizzying in the best way — with concrete endings and concrete closure. But some chapters end quickly, sometimes in the middle of the page, sometimes even before we are ready. What we don’t often realize is that that is closure, too. Because it’s still an ending.
7. You deserve to be chosen.
Remember that you want to be loved and chosen, not almost loved or almost chosen. If someone cant do that, you truly are better off. This is not your person.
Because the right person will be consistent. The right person will put forth the appropriate amount of effort. The right person will make everything feel easy, natural. Almosts aren’t natural. You have all of this hope, and all of this feeling, and you’re trying to give it to someone who doesn’t want to hold it. You’re trying to convince someone that you’re worthy of being chosen. But the right person will choose you. The right person will stay.
Remind yourself that you deserve for the beauty you see with someone to come to fruition. You deserve to feel like someone is excited to be with you, someone is excited to commit to you, and dive into something concrete and foundational with you. You deserve someone who is on the same page. Someone who wants the same things, someone who want to meet all of your hope with action. Someone who asserts their heart and stands up for it. Someone who isn’t afraid of being responsible for your heart. Someone who embraces it.