A significant number of us are well versed in the art of almost relationships. It is safe to say that an almost relationship is the purgatory of labeled relationships; we exit the comfort of a life lived while single and step into a room filled with potential in hopes to enter into an official relationship that promises loyalty, commitment, and longevity.
Hundreds of resources aim to teach us how to “get over an ex” and find happiness after a breakup, but where are we to turn when a bond we were working so wholeheartedly to solidify disintegrates into thin air? How are we to feel when we’ve officially broken up with someone we never really entered into an official relationship with?
There is one word to explain why a relationship that did not make it to the next step is just as disheartening as ones that made it through all the bases, and that is hope. Hope is why we open up the doors of our hearts, ones that may have been tightly latched and dust-filled. Hope is why we talk ourselves into trusting someone, even when we are aware of the possibility that a dagger may be inches away from our backs. Hope is why we squeeze someone we see a future with into our already tight schedules and stay up on the phone late at night, even after our eyelids have become heavy and difficult to keep open. Hope is why we make a person part of our daily routine.
Genuine interest is why we engage in conversation from sun up to sun down; it’s why we have no shame in texting all day. Believing in potential is why we go the extra mile to communicate in an almost relationship; it is why we turn down other prospects and commit our time and interest to one person. Real feelings are why our mind becomes preoccupied with someone we haven’t made it official with yet; we constantly daydream about our future together and how we will help each other grow. We unclothe on an emotional level and sometimes share sacred parts of ourselves and our pasts, hoping that we will not be judged but instead embraced on a mutual level.
We take a great number of baby steps with hopes that we will one day meet the finish line of the “talking” stage and enter into something more, but it is hard to describe the feeling felt when our efforts aren’t victorious.
Almost relationships come with a wave of defeat for many reasons. We view them as yet another failed attempt at what could have been love. We become overwhelmed with the feeling of not being enough. We belittle ourselves for meticulously drawing a painting of potential with invisible ink, because the reality is that we do not know that we have entered into an ‘almost relationship’ until it is over. We stay awake at night, envisioning the day when we will be able to put a label on this thing that feels so tangible, but our souls are crushed when we realize that the connection will only be labeled as something that almost was. We have a right to be hurt after spending time working on a relationship that will never be.
So what are we to think once the bliss is gone? How are we to feel once we realize that the person we thought had a strong desire to be with us doesn’t? How long before we stop checking their social media accounts or wondering how they’re doing? When will we be okay with the fact that “good morning” texts from that person are a thing of the past? When will we stop wondering if they’re still thinking about us just as much as we think about them?
Like a broken heart takes time to mend, so does the hopeful heart that walks away from an almost relationship. Wake up each morning and remind yourself that you are whole. With that being said, you should not spend much time mourning over the loss of a bond with someone who did not want all of you or may not have been ready for you. You deserve someone who wants to be with you from Sunday to Sunday; you deserve to be thought of on all the days of the week. You deserve to be desired past your physical attributes. You deserve someone whose only motive is to get closer to your mind, water your soul, and remind you how special and rare you are. You deserve someone who will fill your stomach with happy butterflies, not someone who puts your thoughts into overdrive, makes you question if there is someone else, what you could have done better, and if you are enough to quench their soul.
You deserve someone who plans their days ahead with you in mind, not someone who only finds you exciting or entertaining when they are bored. You deserve to be someone’s first choice; your standards will not allow you to settle for being the runner-up. Do not settle for someone who treats your heart as if it is easily disposable or someone who throws it all away after a disagreement. Wait until you’ve found someone who is understanding, willing to compromise, and appreciative of your efforts. You deserve someone who makes their intentions crystal clear, not someone who clouds your mind and makes you feel it is best to keep your relationship a secret due to the uncertainty of your future together.
Remind yourself that the person you’re meant to be with will engage, listen, and communicate—they will not keep you guessing, questioning, or confused. Applaud yourself for taking a shot at feeling something real, even if it was short-lived. You may be enduring the hurt of an almost relationship, but understand that the person you’re meant to be with will continuously reassure and commit to you. A lesson is learned at the end of each almost relationship; we gain a deeper understanding of what we truly deserve.