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LOVE LETTERS

How to get over an almost relationship

We kissed. Then nothing.

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I am a 22-year-old college senior. I recently had what I call a “situationship” end. (I’m defining “situationship” as almost like dating … but just not quite.) We’d been hanging out for about a year, we went on walks at night, we hung out with others, we were in classes together, and we even worked on a research project together last summer. We spent a lot of time in each other’s company.

Eventually, I tried dropping hints. I asked to lean on him while we watched movies or shows. That moved to us watching things alone and cuddling on the couch. He held my hand and it was sweet. One night we decided to watch a show in my room, alone, on my tiny bed. He kissed me (my first kiss — it was strange but good).

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I, of course, texted him that night suggesting he come over the next day, but felt a bit uncertain about what was happening. He was busy that night, but we hung out a little more over the next week, but no cuddling, hand-holding, etc. Fast forward a few weeks and the conversation about dating came up. He said we had to have a talk, and then he promptly ended things. I was devastated and confused. He told me that he had “lost the romantic feeling” and that I “wasn’t as active and spontaneous” as he wanted to be.

Slowly we’ve worked back to being friends again, but after six months I still think I want to pursue a romantic relationship with him. I know I need to respect his wishes but I don’t know how to get over my first almost relationship.

When we had our conversation he also used a lot of words like “maybe,” and “for right now,” which makes it seem like he’s not positive. I just would like some advice.

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FOR RIGHT NOW

A. Are you a good editor? If so, delete every “maybe” (use an imaginary strikethrough key) and turn the “for right now” statements into “forever.” He’s reserving the right to call on you for romantic attention if he changes his mind, but he has no plans to do that. It would be kinder for him to set clear boundaries to help you move on, but you can do that for yourself.

What happened here?, you might ask. Why did the kiss happen at all? My guess is that he likes your company and is attracted to you. Maybe he’s thought about romance a bit, but not enough to pursue it. On a random night, he tried it. It’s possible he sensed that , for you, this was a very big deal — that you wanted this to be a relationship with potential. But for him, it was more of an experiment — something to try that didn’t have to mean everything. The two of you were coming to that kiss with different hopes and intentions.

I know you’ve worked yourselves back to friendship, but whatever you have with him now doesn’t sound great for your brain. His return to your life has brought confusion and disappointment. It’s making it hard to think about anything else.

Limit your time with him. Remember moments when you had crushes on others. Keep busy with activities that have nothing to do with him. Believe that a second kiss, with someone new, could be incredible.

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MEREDITH

READERS RESPOND:

“I know I need to respect his wishes but I don’t know how to get over my first almost relationship.” The first way to do this would be to refrain from aggrandizing the past. There was no relationship, never mind an almost relationship. You were not dating this bloke and your situation with him seems to be entirely one-sided. You had a crush on someone, he probably enjoyed the attention. There wasn’t enough chemistry and the game is now over. Creatively embroidering this crush is not going to turn it into some great romance. Cut your losses, see your daydreams for what they are, and move on.

AULDYIN


Give yourself credit for taking a chance. It didn’t work this time, but keep taking chances if you meet someone you’re interested in. You will eventually meet someone who reciprocates the feeling.

TERMINATER5


This guy is occupying way too much space in your brain. He’s just not that into you. Stop trying to explain his behavior and spin his words into something with potential. Your future will be with someone else, so start adapting to that reality now.

SEENITTOO


Sometimes you make it, sometimes you almost make it, and sometimes you miss. But you can always learn something. You tried, it didn’t work, and you will try again with someone else.

WIZEN


You’re so young and there are plenty of guys out there — you don’t have to wait on someone giving you answers like “maybe.” He said he lost those romantic feelings, and if something was meant to happen between you two, it would have by now. You won’t “spark” with everyone you meet; you don’t have to try to make things work with this guy because he’s around and there’s no one else on the horizon. The interest isn’t mutual.

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DANGLEPARTICIPLE


I think your best bet would be to put some distance between the two of you. Keep it friendly, but take a big step back. You need the romantic feelings to fade before you can be normal friends again. Also, you won’t be looking for other dates if being with him is still your hope. Meet other people, join groups, etc., and make him a lower priority in your life. You don’t want to be hanging around him waiting, and then he finds a girlfriend and ghosts you (that could happen).

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Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or use this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.


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