Why are women so much harder on ourselves when we’re hung up on someone we never actually dated? It feels like we’re not allowed to get upset or feel the loss because it wasn’t a “real relationship.” But the thing is, the official label of the relationship really has nothing to do with how you’re allowed to feel or how you actually feel in that moment after things end. You are entitled to your feelings, and relationships can take so many forms, even without any official labels. Here are a few steps you can take to get over someone you never actually dated (spoiler alert: it’s a lot like getting over someone you did date).
1. Acknowledge that your feelings are legitimate and let yourself feel the loss the relationship.
The first step to get over someone you never actually dated, is to allow yourself the freedom to feel whatever it is you’re feeling in the aftermath of the relationship. You can’t just erase those feelings because there was no label, and there’s no point being hard on yourself for being upset. Just like you would for any other relationship in your life, take the time to mourn it’s loss.
2. Talk it out!
Whether it’s with a bff who has been through something similar, or it’s with your therapist, take the time to work through the complicated feelings that arise when you’re dealing with the loss of something you feel like you never had in the first place. You’ll be surprised at how many people have experienced the same thoughts and emotions as you, and talking it out will help you discover different ways to deal with it AND move past it. 👏🏽
3. Make it a clean break – none of that social media ghosting.
You might think that just because it was more casual, you won’t be affected by seeing them on Instagram, or be tempted to stalk their every move – if you got this, go you. But trust us, you don’t need those pesky, constant reminders of them holding you back from moving on. If you have a hard time going cold turkey, you can always have a friend do a quick social check for you in moments of weakness, and slowly work your way to fully cutting them out of your life. That’s far healthier than letting the highlight reels of their life impact your daily mood.
4. Take some time to self-reflect.
Complicated relationships are often the ones that teach you the most about what you really need, and help you understand what you’re looking for next. What did you like about this person? What was the core issue with the relationship – was it the lack of a label or commitment or was the problem something else entirely? Decide how you feel about entering another relationship with undefined boundaries. Are you in a place where you’re fine with exploring these types of relationships further, or do you feel like you need to set some new ground rules for yourself? Take the time to self-reflect so that you have a really strong sense of where you are in your lift at this point in time, and what you deserve in your next relationship.
5. Get back in the dating pool.
Once you’ve given yourself the time to grieve the relationship and reflect on what you’re looking for next, get back out there! Don’t let a complicated or ill-defined relationship push you away from dating entirely. While it’s not easy going through the emotional rollercoasters of dating all over again, it’s worth it when you find something that clicks.