There exist two types of relationships: committed ones and almost relationships, which can be challenging to differentiate. While they can be thrilling, almost relationships can also be incredibly risky, as they can create false expectations about the future. In this guide, you will learn all about almost relationships: why they occur, what to look out for, and how to extricate yourself from them.
What Is An Almost Relationship?
What exactly defines a relationship that could have been, but never was?
1. You Chat A Lot, But Only Through Your Phone
You may have discussed your daily routines and weekend plans, but beyond that, your knowledge of the person is limited to text messages and sporadic late-night phone calls. Although your communication is consistent, there is no real substance to your interactions. You anticipate what comes next, but the connection itself is lacking.
2. You Talk About Getting Together, But Never Do
You bring up the idea of participating in shared activities, but no concrete plans materialize. Perhaps one of you is unsure or occupied, but you continue communicating in the hopes of a future opportunity, even though nothing ever comes to fruition.
3. You Catch Feelings
As you learn more about him, your curiosity grows, and you begin to envision a shared future. However, the relationship never progresses beyond this initial stage, and your excitement is short-lived as you fail to establish a deeper connection. Although you have someone in mind, the relationship ultimately leads nowhere.
4. You Share Intimate Details About Yourself For No Reason
In an almost-dating scenario, the potential for a meaningful relationship may inspire you to reveal more about yourself, hoping to encourage the other person's interest. Unfortunately, this approach seldom leads to a deeper connection, leaving you to contemplate the fact that someone who is essentially a stranger has intimate knowledge of your life.
5. You Say Good Morning Every Day, But Never In Person
You often receive cute messages in the morning, wishing you a great day ahead. You envision a future where you can say "good morning" to him in person, but that day never arrives, and the relationship remains limited to digital interactions.
6. The Communication Fades Quickly
Just as you are becoming accustomed to his presence in your life, he vanishes just as quickly as he appeared. While the potential for a promising start, a date, or even a strong connection may be present, the relationship fails to progress to that point.
7. He's Special To You In His Own Way
Receiving signals that a guy you're conversing with is genuinely interested can be exhilarating. You reciprocate this interest, engage in conversations, establish connections, and even attempt to plan future meetings. However, these efforts fail to materialize into a tangible relationship. In retrospect, you may view him as a valuable lesson, guiding your expectations for future relationships that may lead to a genuine dating experience.
Texts You're Likely To Send If You're In One
When you are in an almost relationship, these are the kinds of messages you will be sending each other.
1. "How's Your Day Going?"
This is the archetypical message of an almost-relationship: you yearn for a reason to contact him, but you lack a compelling topic. You long to confront him and inquire about why you have yet to establish a genuine relationship. However, the ensuing exchange may be mundane, as everyday experiences are rarely noteworthy.
2. "What Are We Doing Tonight?"
You lack the confidence to propose trying out the new Italian restaurant in your area or suggest any concrete plans, thus deferring the decision-making to him. However, he may not have any suggestions either, leaving you at an impasse.
3. "Want To Come Over?"
Despite having spent weeks or even months together, there is no tacit understanding that you will spend time at your place, ordering takeout, and watching TV. You must still explicitly invite him over each time, even though you have been seeing each other for an extended period.
4. "How Was Your Weekend?"
In a genuine relationship, spending the entire weekend together would be a given, without the need for explicit invitations. If you find yourself typing these thoughts on your iPhone, it may be an ominous sign for the relationship's future.
5. "Last Night Was Fun"
If he were your legitimate boyfriend, you would express these feelings to him in person. However, you text him, desiring for him to reciprocate your sentiments. Whether you had dinner and shared a good laugh or had an intimate encounter, you yearn for him to comprehend that you appreciate your moments together.
6. "Good Morning/good Night"
Sending this message instead of speaking it face-to-face is a telltale sign of an almost relationship, especially when there is no plan for either of you to spend the night.
7. "Maybe (insert Question Here)?"
You yearn to elevate your relationship with him but are afraid of being turned down, which is why you choose to text him instead. You might ask him to accompany you to the upcoming documentary festival in the city, hang out with your friends, or be your plus-one to a family event. Whatever you request, the crucial point is that you are uncertain whether he will accept. This uncertainty is a characteristic of an almost relationship.
8. "So, Are We Still On For Next Week?"
If you have to ask, it's probably not happening. In the end, the other person in your almost relationship may start treating you poorly in the hopes that you'll end things. It's a frustrating strategy, but it happens all the time. You send a text asking if your plans are still on, hoping they are, but you know deep down that they're not.
9. "This Isn't Working For Me"
This is the text you hope you never have to send, but you know it's inevitable. It's the text that marks the end of the almost relationship, and the response is often a disappointing "That's fine, I get it."
Why You Keep Ending Up In Almost Relationships
Here are reasons why you keep finding yourself in this situation.
1. You Liked A Guy And He Didn't Feel The Same Way
It may seem simple, but it's not always as complicated as you think. Some guys might say they're not interested in a relationship or not ready to commit just because they don't want to admit they're not into you. Although it hurts, it's better to know the truth than to be with someone who doesn't share your feelings.
2. You Ignored What You Knew Deep Down
Finding yourself in an almost relationship can't happen without realizing that something is not quite right. Even though it may seem like a mystery, when it comes to dating and love, we usually know more than we let on. If you find yourself in an almost relationship, it's because you were aware that the guy wasn't fully committed or that there were some red flags, but you may have chosen not to believe it at the time.
3. It Can Be Impossible To Know What A Guy Wants
You began a relationship with someone who appeared to be the perfect match you had been seeking. There were no warning signs, and everything was going great. However, you were unaware that he was uncertain about committing to a girlfriend, and when you finally realized that you would never be his, it was too late. Oops.
4. People Are More Uncertain Than Ever
At times, our own dating beliefs can hinder a potential relationship from truly taking off. You might have been skeptical that the person you were seeing would never become your actual boyfriend or girlfriend, while they may have had doubts about whether you were the right match for them. This creates a situation of mutual suspicion and paranoia that ultimately leads to the demise of the relationship.
5. You Wanted Anything Boyfriend-esque
There's nothing inherently wrong with this. It's simply a byproduct of being single. Occasionally, you may realize that a guy isn't a great match for you, but you enjoy talking to him (and let's be honest, you also enjoy kissing him). Sooner or later, things will end, but for now, you're content with having an almost boyfriend.
6. You Believed What He Told You
Although it can be discouraging, experiencing an almost relationship doesn't mean that you should lose faith in trust and honesty. At the time, you believed that this guy was sincere and interested in pursuing a relationship with you. It just turned out that he wasn't ready or willing to take that step, leaving you in an almost relationship.
7. Things Never Got Off The Ground
Despite mutual interest, the two of you struggled to coordinate your schedules and keep up with your dating plans. There were times when you had to reschedule dates due to prior commitments and eventually, you both acknowledged that the timing was not in your favor. One of you might have been more willing to give it another shot, but unfortunately, it didn't work out in the end. It's a reminder that even though you might have real feelings, real life can get in the way of real love.
8. You Assumed His Intentions Were Anything But Good
You've had bad experiences with guys in the past, which made it hard for you to trust whether this guy was truly a good person or just another jerk. This uncertainty turned your relationship with him into an almost relationship even before it had a chance to fully develop. Despite his efforts to convince you to take a chance on him, you couldn't shake off your doubts and never fully committed to each other.
9. Some Guys Just Aren't Worth Making Your Boyfriend
It may be a tough reality to accept, but it's still a reality. Even if you have incredible chemistry, enjoy the most fantastic conversations, and go on extremely enjoyable dates, if he's immature or doesn't seem to understand how to properly date you, it's unlikely to work out. He may never be your true boyfriend, and there's little you can do to change that.
10. You Didn't Move Things Forward Fast Enough
You were hesitant to leave your single life behind and enter a relationship. You were unsure if this guy was serious about you, so you held back, waiting for a sign that things would work out. However, during this time, he interpreted your hesitation as disinterest and began to distance himself. Before you knew it, the possibility of a relationship vanished, and you found yourself single once again. It was disappointing.
Why It's So Hard To Walk Away
This is why walking away is easier said than done.
1. You're So Close
The term "almost relationship" is quite fitting. You feel like you're on the brink of being in a relationship with someone who's amazing, but for various reasons, it just doesn't happen. You may feel like you're just one conversation away from making things official, which makes it hard to let go, even if you know it's not going to work out.
2. Everything Feels More Intense
You desire this guy to be your true partner so much that it seems like every fiber of your being is shouting all day and all night. Every kiss, every glance, and every shared joke feel more profound because you want them to signify more than what they really do. You value everything because you are uncertain how long this arrangement will last or if things will go south the next day.
3. You're Determined
You find yourself in a familiar, frustrating situation with a new guy. However, you're convinced that you can change him and make him see that you're the perfect match for him. Deep down, you know it's unlikely, but you keep putting in the effort because you can't bear to walk away without trying everything.
4. You Totally Can't Even With Dating
While it may seem understandable, sticking to an almost relationship just to avoid the discomfort of small talk on dates is a terrible idea. It only extends your pain and heartache, and ultimately leads to getting hurt.
5. You Think It's Your Fault
It's important to remember that almost relationships are a common experience in the dating world, and it's not a reflection of your worth or desirability. However, it can be difficult to shake the feeling that you are the reason why you never quite make it to a real relationship. This can lead you to stay in these almost relationships for longer than you should, wasting your time and energy on something that ultimately won't work out.
6. You're Really Into Him
Your feelings for this guy are intense, and you can't fathom the idea of not having him around. However, you may be holding on too tightly to someone who isn't really present in your life.
7. You're Being Charmed
Undoubtedly, this guy has a charming and adorable personality that has caught your attention. He may have given you some hope that there is something special between you two, but the truth is, if you stick around for too long, you'll end up with a broken heart and a confused mind. It's time to break the cycle and walk away for good, not just from him, but from any future guy who doesn't appreciate how amazing you truly are. Don't settle for less than you deserve, and keep your eyes open for someone who truly values you.
Why Situations Like This Might Ultimately Be Good For You
As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. So, your almost relationship can offer you a few benefits as well.
1. It's Good Practice
Although this guy isn't your boyfriend and never will be, it doesn't mean you can't learn something from this experience. Every time you communicate with him, you have the opportunity to practice your communication skills, which will be essential in your future relationships.
2. It's Never A Waste Of Time
At first, it's natural to feel this way. You invested so much time and effort in texting, talking, and daydreaming, and yet you're still single as before. However, an almost relationship is not a complete waste of time since it provides you with an experience. Next time, you can end things before they reach that point or avoid getting too emotional.
3. It Was Fun
At least for the first few weeks, you had a good time and enjoyed the company of a seemingly cool guy. Although you later realized that his coolness was just an illusion, and you ended up disliking him, that's beside the point. Dating should ultimately be enjoyable, so it's important to focus on the positive aspects of any situation, even if it doesn't turn out to be amazing.
4. It Makes You Stronger
When we experience rejection, there is always a significant positive aspect to it: we become stronger. Your almost relationship can be viewed as an incredible learning opportunity that did not shatter your confidence or self-worth. You recognize that it was not your fault, but rather a matter of circumstance or his own issues.
Lessons You Learn From Being In An Almost Relationship
You can learn very valuable lessons after finding yourself in an almost relationship.
1. If It's Already Difficult, It Won't Get Any Easier
If the relationship feels like a constant battle from the beginning, it's unlikely to improve with time. You shouldn't have to put in a lot of effort just to keep it going, and if you're already experiencing this, it's not going to last very long.
2. You Should Believe People When They Show You Who They Are
Actions speak louder than words. If his behavior is consistently frustrating and contradictory to his words, then it reveals his true character more than any sweet talk ever could.
3. Making Your Feelings Clear Doesn't Make You Unstable
Expressing your feelings and desires in a relationship is a healthy and necessary part of communication. If he can't handle having an open conversation with you and communicate his own feelings in a mature manner, it shows his lack of emotional maturity. Don't let him make you feel crazy for wanting clarity and honesty in your relationship.
4. If It's Not What You Want, You Need To Leave
If you've invested significant time and effort into a relationship that ultimately went nowhere, you learn the importance of recognizing when to walk away. If you desire a committed relationship and the guy you're seeing continues to make excuses, it's best to spare yourself the disappointment and seek out someone who is eager to be in a committed relationship with you.
5. You Weren't The Problem
A guy who repeatedly lies and leads a girl on for months is not someone you would want to be with in the long run. He prioritizes his own needs and doesn't take the other person into consideration.
6. It Can Be Harder Having An Almost Relationship End Than A Defined One
The undefined nature of the relationship often leads to a lack of closure, making it difficult to move on. Since the situation was never clear to begin with, it's hard to feel like anything has truly ended. Additionally, letting go of the expectations and fantasies you had about what the relationship could have been is a challenging process.
7. Some People Won't Get Why You're Devastated, But Your Feelings Are Valid
Even if some people don't understand why you're feeling so upset over someone who was never officially your boyfriend, it doesn't invalidate your emotions. Your feelings for him were genuine, and you endured months of emotional distress which takes time to heal from.
8. You'll Grow From It, Big Time
Dealing with a terrible guy in an almost relationship can be a tough experience, but it can also show you how strong you are and how much you deserve. While you may feel weak and broken at first, as you heal, you'll become more empowered and clear about what you want and need in a relationship.
9. One Time Is Definitely More Than Enough
Experiencing the emotional distress of an almost relationship can make you realize that you never want to go through it again. It serves as a lesson to be able to recognize warning signs and quickly exit the situation if you ever find yourself in a similar scenario again.
10. If Someone Wants To Be With You, They Will Be
The principle is simple, but it's undeniably accurate. If a guy truly wants to be in a relationship with you, he won't constantly make excuses to avoid it. When he says he's not ready for commitment or he's too scared, he's likely just keeping his options open or keeping you as a backup until he finds someone he perceives as better.
11. You Can't Make Someone Like You
Ultimately, no matter how amazing you are and how much effort you put in, you cannot change his mind. If making things work feels like an uphill battle, then it's a losing fight. If he doesn't want to be with you, don't compromise your values or personality to win him over; it's better to move on.
Things To Consider
If you are in an almost relationship, keep these things in mind.
1. Why Do You Like Him?
There are countless potential partners out there, so if you're in a non-committed situation, you need to ask yourself why you keep going back to that particular person. I spent two years with my almost boyfriend without taking the next step because I genuinely enjoyed his company and didn't want to replace him with anyone else. However, eventually, I realized I needed something more stable. If you have feelings for him, try to make it official. But if you're just keeping your options open, that's okay too, just be honest with yourself about it.
2. Does He Make You Feel Desired?
You deserve to be with a guy who makes you feel valued and desired. Even an almost boyfriend could have the potential to be husband material if he actively pursues you and keeps the excitement and passion alive. However, if you're in an almost relationship where he only texts you a couple of times a week, it's unlikely to make you feel important or cherished. It's essential to be with someone who uplifts your confidence and makes you feel like a priority.
3. Are You With Him Out Of Convenience?
While it may be convenient to have someone available for a casual hookup or a weekend date, such relationships are unlikely to develop into anything more. These partners are like Chinese takeout; they may be readily available, but the novelty wears off quickly. Instead, it's important to seek a partner who ignites your passion, even if it takes time to find them. Settling for someone just because they're convenient in the moment is ultimately a recipe for failure.
4. Are You Afraid Of Loneliness?
If the fear of being alone is driving you to settle for an almost relationship, it's likely to sabotage your love life. Learning to be content in your own company is vital. It helps you accept yourself for who you are and cultivate self-assurance. It's natural to feel anxious about being alone, but don't let that fear compel you to squander your time in half-hearted relationships.
5. Are You Using Him For Status?
I once dated a lord (yes, an actual lord) and got to hang out at some fancy places with his wealthy friends. It was exciting, but he turned out to be a complete player. Attending a few fancy events is not worth being with someone you don't genuinely like. So, drop this materialistic guy and search for someone who isn't a snob and isn't afraid to admit their love for pineapple pizza.
6. Why Can't You Commit To Each Other?
This can be a difficult question, but it's important to be honest with yourself. Don't pretend you've never wondered why you can't have a real relationship with your almost significant other. In my experience with an almost relationship, I convinced myself that I wanted to see other people and that's why we weren't exclusive. But it eventually became clear that it was him who wanted the freedom. He had manipulated me into thinking it was my idea. Once I realized this, I ended things and found someone who was committed to me and only me.
7. Is It The Label That Freaks You Out?
Many people try to play it cool by saying they don't like labels, but that's just ridiculous. There's nothing wrong with being in a traditional boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. A lot of individuals are caught up in the grey area of an almost relationship and are eager to clarify their status. Don't be hesitant to refer to yourself as his girlfriend. You'll feel much better once you establish the nature of your relationship.
8. Do You Want To Sleep With Other People?
If you answer "no" to the question of whether you want to date him, then it's clear you don't want to make it official. However, if you do want to date him, it's important to have the talk and establish if you're both on the same page. If you're not exclusive and he's sleeping with other people while you're not, it will inevitably lead to hurt feelings. On the other hand, if you both agree to see other people, you can avoid heartbreak.
9. Where Is This Going?
This question may be difficult, but it's important to consider. Are you truly interested in building a future with this guy or is he simply a temporary hookup partner? And, more importantly, do you even want to get married in the first place? If marriage is a goal for you, it's time to stop investing your time and energy in an almost relationship and start seeking someone who you can envision a lasting future with.
How To Cut Non-Relationships Off Before They Happen
Here are ways you can make sure you don't find yourself in non-relationships.
1. Stop The 24/7 Texting
One common thing among almost relationships is constant texting from the guy. He may ask about your day, your plans for the evening, but never actually asks you out. These messages can make you feel good, but if you're looking for something serious, it's okay to ask him directly if he sees a future for the two of you.
2. Decide After Date #3 What You Want
Usually, by the end of the third date, we have a good idea of how we feel about someone. We have spent enough time with them, discussing various topics such as work, school, dreams, and TV shows, that we get a sense of who they are. If you're okay with a casual relationship and you sense that's where things are going, then there's nothing wrong with that. However, if you're not comfortable with a casual relationship and you're getting that vibe, then you need to make a decision.
3. Always Be Upfront And Honest
Almost relationships are common because people tend to avoid being honest about their feelings. One person may think everything is perfect as it is (usually the guy), while the other person is wondering when things will become official. Even though he may not be forthcoming about his desires, it's still important to be clear about your expectations.
4. Go On Real Dates
Although sometimes we may go out for dinner or movies, an almost relationship can still be the outcome. However, it's worthwhile to go out in public and see how things progress. This way, you'll know that you did your best and didn't just spend all your time sitting on his couch, only to wonder why romance never blossomed.
5. Date Around
Perhaps you prefer dating multiple people at the same time until you find the right one, or maybe you prefer to go on a few dates with one person at a time. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to dating and everyone has their own preferences. However, if you have a feeling that someone isn't going to become your long-term partner, there's no harm in exploring other options. You can always make a decision later on about who you want to be with.
6. Watch The Signs
When you find yourself experiencing the familiar patterns of an almost relationship, it's time to take a step back and reevaluate the situation. You know the signs: the anticipation, the letdowns, and the constant desire for more than what the guy is offering. Recognizing these patterns means you can put a stop to it and move on. Remember, you've been through this before, and you can get through it again.
7. Ask For Advice
We all need help at times, but it's not always found in women's magazines, even though they are often the go-to source for life and love advice. Reach out to your best friend, call your mom, or message an older and hopefully wiser family friend. Ask for their thoughts on what this guy is thinking/doing and see how you feel when you receive their response. Sometimes, asking for help can help us realize that we knew what to do all along.
8. Ask Him
Being honest with a guy can be daunting but it's crucial. You could consider telling him that you've been in a similar situation before and are seeking a more stable relationship than just a casual hangout. If he reciprocates your feelings, that's fantastic. However, if he doesn't share the same view, it's better to know now than later.
9. Protect Yourself
It's never acceptable for someone to make you feel inadequate or unworthy of being in a relationship. You have every right to be someone's girlfriend, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. If you find yourself stuck in a situation that's not progressing and it's affecting your self-esteem, don't hesitate to cut ties with him. You'll feel much better and be open to finding someone who truly makes you happy.