Dating is complicated. We can be talking to a guy for a few weeks and think things are going really well. Then, all of a sudden, we get friend zoned.
We already had ideas for our dream wedding saved to Pinterest, we saw relationship potential and could legitimately see a future with this person.
And this all happened because we allowed ourselves to open up emotionally, to be vulnerable. This person allowed us to feel safe enough to let our guard down. Now, we're stuck with this nasty feeling of regret. Regretting that we let our guard down for someone who took advantage of it.
The thing is, we never even slept with this guy. Weeks went by and we would hang out, even watch movies in bed and the farthest we ever got was second base. And yet, we continued to open our hearts.
So why does this ending hurt more than engaging in a physical relationship?
1. We allowed ourselves to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable isn't just about showing all the pretty parts of you, it's about revealing what you may keep hidden from other people. We all do this to some extent: how many of us, really, share all of our insecurities with all of our friends? We all have a certain few who truly know us.
Most of us don't just open our hearts to everyone. So, when we consciously choose to be vulnerable the stakes are fucking high. Most of us think revealing ourselves to someone means there's a great possibility of being misunderstood, labeled or rejected. And the fear of rejection can be so powerful, some of us wear it like armor.
2. An emotional connection is stronger than a physical one.
Physical attraction is just the desire to look and touch, because what you see is appealing on a biological level. Basically, you're turned on.
Emotional attraction involves feelings. It's when you want to kiss someone because you want to show them you care about them. Physical attraction is easy; it's driven by sex. Emotional attraction is driven by mutual respect.
So, when we feel an emotional connection with someone, we've shared stories and found mutual respect. Just because there was no sex, the physical chemistry was still obvious. And this combination, emotional connection and physical chemistry, is what was designed to produce a relationship. So, of course, it will sting when you get dumped.
It's the term "meaningless sex" that will reaffirm the fact that sex doesn't produce relationships, whereas emotional connection does.
3. You stepped out of your comfort zone.
You became vulnerable after being guarded for years. You didn't rush to get freaky in the sheets. You were different with this guy. Still, instead of gaining a relationship, you gained a broken heart.
4. You can't help but regret opening up.
After getting dumped or friend zoned, we become regretful; it's a natural reaction. We start analyzing texts and question whether we should have sent that sexy snap the other day. We wonder where we went wrong.
How did we feel a connection that clearly that this other person didn't reciprocate? To feel one way for someone thinking the feelings were mutual and then finding out they aren't can make any sane person question their emotions.
However, in the end opening ourselves up allows us to grow our hearts and make them stronger. We can learn and evolve from each heartbreak.