I'm a sucker for an almost-relationship. Don't ask me why, but for some reason I always find myself falling back into the same, dating pattern. Girl likes boy, boy likes girl. They're friends, more than friends, and then...they stay there. In a weird limbo between dating and pals, where feelings are caught, romantics are felt, all without titles or responsibilities of a normal relationship.
This is what I call an almost-relationship. "We had a thing," you say, not knowing what to categorize a relationship where you never kissed, but joked about getting married a little too often to be taken as funny.
Almost relationships fall into the following categories: hook-ups, casual f*ck buddies, Tinder baes, summer flings, winter cuffs...Anything where you had more than 1 sexy encounter and 2 mushy thoughts about your 'friend' i.e. you know what they look like coming out of the shower & what kind of flowers they'd bring your mom.
I'm not going to go into the whole 'girls and guys can't be friends thing' because 1) it's controversial and 2) a little bit bullshit. I for one think two people of the same sexuality can a hundred percent be just friends. But an almost-relationship is not a regular friendship, amigos.
Almost-relationships thrive on emotional attachment. In today's day and age, this means texting. A lot of it. Followed by some phone calls and possibly Facetimes. Since you may or may not be receiving the physical attachment of an everyday relationship, you will become much more invested in the casualties. This means freaking tf out when they don't respond to a text or becoming hyper aware of their Insta-activity.
An almost relationship is almost always built on a super tight friendship. This is usually the rationale as to why your relationship cannot go beyond ~*friends*~ Take the iconic Stephen Colletti and Lauren Conrad from MTV's The Hills. Two extremely attractive friends, with a lot of sexual and romantic chemistry.
I mean, look at this bullshit. These two were obviously more than 'just friends.' Lauren and Stephen never managed to lock it down, seemingly because they had been such good friends for so long, and couldn't risk not being in each others lives. Heart-breaking - and extremely typical in an almost-relationship.
Almost-relationships are also super tricky because of their untitled nature. Since the two of you two aren't "anything", it's a lot easier for the both of you to get hurt. Did someone kiss you in front of him at the club? Did you see her get into a cab with a guy after last call at the bar? When there aren't any rules, it's hard to tell what is and isn't okay. It's normal to feel vulnerable in a relationship, but a pseudo-friendship? Probably not.
The clincher in almost relationships is that there are usually two roles - the person who wants more, and the person who doesn't. The person who wants more usually has heavy feelings and is ready at any given point for the next step, whereas the person who doesn't is perfectly satisfied in the way things are. Obviously, the person who cares more gets the worse part of the deal, because they're the only one not getting what they want. The person that cares more should cut ties for this reason and this reason only.
There is nothing wrong with loving, supporting and appreciating a friend. It's when you regularly do more for a person than you would a normal friend that a relationship tips from a friendship, to something potentially hurtful. If someone truly loved you, they wouldn't expect you to drop everything at a moments notice if they wouldn't do the same.
To avoid getting sucked into an almost-relationship, keep boundaries. Know what you would do for a good friend, what they would do for you, and subsequently, what you would do for a significant other. If you find yourself venturing into bf/gf territory on the regular, it might be time to step back a take a look at the relationship you are not in.
If you are generating some romantic feelings you can't ignore, speak up - or forever hold your shitty/mixed emotions peace. There is a moderate chance that your almost-boyfriend or girlfriend isn't a total peace of garbage, and might want to give dating a shot. And if not? Get the hell out of there, sooner rather than later. By staying in an almost-relationship, you are going to turn away people who actually want to be with you - all because you're waiting for someone to make up their mind.
As Drake once said, "Know yourself, know your worth." It doesn't matter how beautiful, charming, or funny someone is if they don't treat you the way you should be treated. The world is full of potential partners; you don't need to have someone in your life that treats you like an option instead of a priority.
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