We never dated. When we first met before the semester started, I knew immediately that I was about to fall *hard* for this dude. He was (and still is) cute, funny, and smart, and our personalities just kinda clicked. Flash forward two months. We ended up with a class together and sat next to each other three days a week.
As the friendship grew, we started to hang outside of class until we were meeting up literally every day to study, eat, or just chill and watch a movie. We talked about everything. Our conversations went on forever in the best way possible. We discovered mutual interests and a shared sense of humor, and as we grew to be close friends, I knew that he was somebody I could definitely see myself dating.
But as I started to really like him, it was clear he didn't feel the same way. We had a cute, fun, flirty relationship, but to him, that's all it ever was or was going to be. He may have liked me at one point, but our little romance was short-lived and fizzled out within a few months. And while I was grateful he was honest enough to be real with me, having that conversation sucked. When you see somebody as your future, acknowledging that they have become part of your past hurts like hell.
For me specifically, the part that hurt the most was realizing that the romantic part of us was dead and gone. No more sleepovers, no more late-night hangs, no more possibility of "us." We were platonic friends, forever and always. He had just broken up with that part of us, even though in reality, there was nothing ever there. Maybe that's why it hurt so badly.
Sometimes, the hardest breakups are the ones in which there's nothing to actually break off. You never formally dated the person, so you can't formally end things, which just leaves you seeking "closure" in a bunch of old Snapchat memories that leave you missing him more than you did before. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who's ever experienced something like this, so I'd like to speak to those girls who have recently separated from their boyfriend-not-boyfriend. We're very misunderstood, but surprisingly numerous group, and there are a few things that need to be said.
1. First of all, you are valid.
People like to come after chicks for being too dramatic or sensitive when it comes to "almost" relationships, but I'll be the first to say that these relationships are a lot more real than most people think. After devoting a year to a person, confiding in them, trusting them, laughing with them, and believing that you might actually become something, "Hey, I don't want to date you" is NOT an easy conversation to have at two in the morning. You've put half your heart into this dude, and you just had half of that person ripped away from you. Of course, it hurts. Even if it's just a simple DTR to him, you've just lost a piece of your best friend, and nobody gets to tell you not to be upset.
2. "Separate's always better if there's feelings involved" ("Hey Ya!" by Outkast).
This lyric perfectly encompasses the problem of trying to be friends with somebody you like. One thing that was hard to learn was that you can't be "just friends" with a person if one of you has feelings. You just can't. Once you've determined that you're never moving beyond the relationship you have now, it's really hard to be around them without thinking about the fact that you'll never be able to be with them the way you want to. It took me forever to figure out this was the reason I felt horrible every single time I hung out with the guy. Like any other breakup, this one needs time. You're not going to get over him in two days. Give yourself time to heal before you accidentally rip the scar back open.
3. Sometimes, the worst part is that he actually did deserve you.
My mom's go-to post-breakup pep talk is "You can do so much better. He doesn't deserve you anyway." In some cases, this is true. It's really nice to come to the conclusion that this person was a jerk the whole time, and he never treated you the way you deserved to be treated, and you're so much better without him. It really sucks, however, to come to the conclusion that he was so incredibly good to you, but he just wasn't the one. In this case, it's important to know that it's not your fault. There's nothing "wrong" with you. You're not not pretty enough. You still have a great personality. This relationship wasn't right for you two, but it certainly doesn't make you any less worthy. Even if he was great, even if he did make you tea and cuddle you for hours when you were sick, even if he made you feel confident and beautiful and supported you as a friend, there are other people out there who will do the same! You're better off now, not necessarily because you lost him, but because you had an opportunity to learn about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you want in a future partner. You get the chance to grow from this and be stronger in future relationships or even just as an individual.
4. You're allowed to throw a pity party.
Girl. That shit hurted. I know it, you know it, Taylor Swift knows it, my Spotify playlist knows it, and it's okay to be sad. You don't have to be "over it" like that *snaps*. It might take a few weeks or even a few months to feel okay again, and it's not stupid just because you never actually dated the guy. As discussed previously, there are still plenty of reasons that you feel like your heart is breaking in two. But I promise this will pass. Call your mom. Go through your old pictures. Write a breakup letter in your phone. Listen to every song that reminds you of him and cry it out. You have to really let yourself feel the hurt before you can be done with it. Eventually, you'll be able to hear that song without tearing up. You'll be able to look at your Snapchat memories and be glad for the good times you had. You'll be able to move on. Because even if the guy you "deserve" is a guy like him, you yourself deserve a life and a relationship you're completely in love with.