Getting Over Someone You Never Dated

Why the relationships you didn’t have might hurt just as much as the ones you did.

It’s a really weird feeling to get over someone you never even dated. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a valid experience. I mean, it’s not like y’all were together. Yet it feels bad.

Maybe it’s because we all like when things start. We all love the feeling of love beginning, of friendships blooming, of starting a new series on Netflix. We like when things begin, because there are possibilities abound. Maybe that’s why it can suck to get over someone you never even dated – because all you had was the possibility of the start.

When something is starting, there are a billion ways it can go (looking at you, Sylvia Plath post from last week). So it’s an amazing opportunity that can go anywhere. If it gets cut off before it even has the chance to turn into something, it can be more frustrating. It’s looking at a whole map and not moving once.

With traditional breakups, you’ve been down a path together. Decisions were made. Fights were had. Life happened, got in the way, got you up or knocked you down. Yet sometime, one of you made the decision – “this isn’t that person.”

Someone once told me, while drunk at The Boat, that “you either love someone forever til one of you dies, or you break up, and frankly both of those options are shit.” It’s a pretty true statement when you boil it down. Either this is someone you commit to for life, or you don’t. Those are the real forks.

When a real relationship ends, it’s pretty cut and dry. You tried, life didn’t work out that way for you, so it’s over. But with people you never even took a step down that path with, you’re still at the beginning. It doesn’t feel like a room you went into and didn’t like, instead you’re still standing in the hallway wondering what is on the other side of the door.

It could’ve been a fleeting crush, like a hot stranger on a city bus (likely not a city bus, but maybe they worked at a bagel shop or fixed your windshield at Apple Autoglass or something). You pictured a whole life together and then quickly forgot about it.

More likely though, it’s been a real feeling. A ping of affection for a close friend. A coworker who you flirted with playfully. A person in high school who was just never single at the same time as you because they kept getting back together with Sam and UGH you hated Sam but whatever as long as they were happy (which they weren’t cause Sam was totally not right for them but whatever it’s fine).

Those are the ones that hurt, and they hurt funny. They weren’t real. They were in your head. There’s always the chance that it could’ve been real though, and that’s the part that stings.

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