Love, Heartbreak

Why 'Almost-Relationships' Cause The Most Heartbreak

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Why 'Almost Relationships' Cause The Most Heartbreak

On a day where it was too cold to leave the house, and laying on the couch with good friends and good wine at 2 PM was the only option, I discovered a cold, hard dating truth: Of all the relationships we can become involved in, it’s the ones that never officially begin or have a “title” that cause the worst heartache.

You know the kind. The relationships that start out full of promise and without a hiccup in sight, yet they usually end before they technically even begin.

These are the relationships a guy friend described as, “We have fun with him/her for like a month, it stops being fun, and then it’s just over.” Simple as that, huh? Maybe for it is for guys, but it's not the same for women.


Last week, my absolute favorite girlfriend was dishing about her very own almost-relationship and its recent demise. She spilled out point after point of what had changed, and what had gone wrong.

Like most almost-relationships, the first three months had been nothing but bliss, and then seemingly out of nowhere, everything seemed off, and her questions were endless.

“Is he sleeping with someone else?”

“Will a good date night fix this?”

“Is he just over it?”

“Have we just gotten too comfortable?”

As the questions continued, I sat frozen in silence while looking at my beautiful friend. Willing myself to come up with some form of advice or words of wisdom, I had nothing, absolutely no idea what to tell her.

Maybe he was seeing someone else; maybe not. Maybe the fun is gone and it's no hard feelings to either party; maybe not.


Beyond the helpless feeling of not being able to give her advice, a nerve struck: How do I tell my girlfriend to break up with a guy she's not even dating?

I've heard strikingly similar situations before and, hell, I’ve even lived it in my own almost-relationships. When we're in a relationship that was never truly defined, we have no f*cking clue how to call it quits or what the f*ck our relationship was to begin with.

These label-less almost-relationships are seemingly perfect for our world of commitment-phobes. We hate commitment so much we can no longer even commit to the idea of a relationship, so we describe it as “talking,” “seeing,” “sleeping with,” and so on.

The idea behind not throwing the technical boyfriend/girlfriend label on a relationship is to keep it more casual, less involved. But when a relationship ends, the label hardly matters because the pain is still the same.


So, when our almost relationships end or it “stops being fun,” what do we do?

When it's over in a real, actual boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, we get answers. We get closure, some sort of resolve We aren’t afraid to ask why it ended, we can find out if there was someone else, we can ask what went wrong. We can come to terms with the ending because it had a true beginning. We can cope, we can learn, and we can close out that relationship and move on.

In almost-relationships, we're robbed of the closure and we're robbed of answers. When you never had "define-the-relationship" conversation, you don't feel it necessary to have a conversation to end it.

But it's these questions that will haunt you for weeks, months, even years to come. Because in an almost-relationship breakup, you still don’t know for sure if it was X, Y, or Z that caused your relationship to end before it began. 

And the not-knowing creates insecurities that linger. And you better bet that the next time an almost-relationship comes around, you become inherently terrified at the thought of the same thing happening again.

The casual, label-less dating world we live in really bites us in the ass because almost-relationships are truly are more confusing and hurtful than the real ones we gain closure from.

If you're working to find a real relationship, don’t settle for weeks or months with an almost-relationship. Instead, throw a REAL label on your REAL feelings and in return you'll get a REAL relationship that can have a beginning, and hopefully not an end.