The Only Relationships We Obsess Over Are The Unfinished Ones

by Dan Scotti

Throughout your youth, you're bound to watch many relationships come to a screeching halt.

Some you might've pumped the breaks on yourself; others, you might've watched yourself get hurt in.

Either way, the end of relationships will likely be a theme during your younger years -- and that's fine, really -- it's the best way to figure out what you want from another person.

You'll take the aspects of those relationships you treasured and look for them in your next one, and as for those you didn't like, you'll now know what to avoid.

That said, there is always that one relationship you can't shake and is almost impossible to take anything away from: The relationship that went “unfinished.”

I like to think of “unfinished” relationships as those that end because of circumstances that were not directly in your hands or weren't really premeditated, at any rate.

Let's say your girlfriend had to up and move because of a new job opportunity -- or you got too drunk at the bar and ended up making a horrible mistake (that you *actually* can't remember) -- regardless of the specific cause, the relationship ended without a proper conclusion.

These types of relationships tend to linger longer than others -- and even become the topic of obsession for some well after the people involved decided to go their separate ways.

When things go unfinished, it's especially hard to move on from them, probably because neither party knows where to start.

And here's why.

There wasn't any closure.

Part of the reason you're obsessing over your last unfinished relationship is you didn't receive the adequate amount of closure necessary to move on.

You're unsure of why things didn't work out the way you foresaw them. You're curious how the person you thought you knew could do what he or she did -- you have questions.

Closure isn't just some cliché tossed around relationships every time they go sour; closure requires the answers to these questions.

See, without concrete -- honest -- answers, our minds will wander. We're naturally curious creatures.

And while curiosity is good, when it goes unattended to for too long, it's only a matter of time before it becomes an obsession.

You don't know what the future could've brought.

Another reason you might be caught up in the past, with respect to a relationship that didn't end properly, is you're still harboring hope for the future.

Regardless of the circumstances that ultimately ended your relationship, it's important to come to terms with the fact that it is, in fact, ended. Period.

While it's perfectly natural to drift back to loved ones past in your mind from time to time, it's important to keep him or her there: in your past.

Don't worry about what could've been or where you would've been now, had things gone a bit differently.

While the fantasy may ease your restless mind for however long you allow it to, once you're hit with a reality check -- it might take a while to get up.

You still have feelings for him or her.

Relationships exist as a medium for intense feelings, and when they come to an end -- no matter how abruptly -- it's only natural for some residual feelings to linger, even after the dust has settled, so to speak.

See, relationships usually end, in the formal sense, when the people invested believe they're better suited outside of the relationship.

With unfinished relationships, however, their demise is usually brought about by circumstance (perhaps a long distance type thing) or a mistake (whether it be youth or alcohol), but it's rarely premeditated. And that's why they're “unfinished.”

You're far more likely to still carry feelings for your once-significant other after your time with him or her, when the decision to move on from your relationship was out of your hands.

I believe it's best to accept the fact that you have these feelings, but try your best not to tend to them.

It's fine to have love for someone, even in your past, but not actively be in love with him or her.

I know it's only semantics, but there's some practical truth behind the distinction.

You still harbor regrets.

We obsess over relationships -- and other things -- that are unfinished because they appear to be open-ended.

What I mean is unfinished things don't necessarily mean they'll remain unfinished -- but they also don't provide any reason to believe they will ever finish, either.

When relationships have clear, identifiable ends, they're much easier to reflect upon and use as experience for future ones.

That said, unfinished relationships just sort of make you question everything you did, which led to it collapsing -- whether you were cheated on or had to put the breaks on the relationship due to a new job or circumstance.

And, because these circumstances may have been out of your hands, it's hard to see the implications of your actions -- or gauge any of them either. This just leads to regrets.

You try playing with different scenarios in your head, but you're usually not left with much clarity.

This is why unfinished relationships dwell within your conscious.

You're not sure exactly why they ended, and you're even less sure if you could've possibly done anything to save it.