One of the worst things about dating in today's world is that there's an increased level of uncertainty. Because people don't commit as much, there's definitely been a rise in "almost" relationships, and it kind of sucks. So, if you currently find yourself in one such situation, you might be wondering: Do you have to officially end an "almost" relationship? Well, it's a complicated issue and one that should be looked at individually, because everyone has different values and ideas about what constitutes a proper breakup.
Now, if you haven't heard of an "almost" relationship, then you aren't alone. But, you've probably also been in one, or known someone who was. According to Joanna Townsend, a life coach and a Washington D.C.-based psychotherapist for Blush Online Life Coaching, an "almost" relationship is "a quasi-relationship."
"It's 'almost' because there is connection, chemistry, compatibility, that feels so relationship-like at times," Townsend tells Elite Daily. "But there's also confusion, uncertainty, doubt, and ambiguity. It feels like a relationship, but it lacks much of what conscious relationships need in order to thrive: emotional responsibility, a sense of commitment, healthy communication, and potential for growth, both personally and as a couple." Basically, you're together, but you're not. You haven't DTR-ed, but you do all the typical relationship things like text non-stop, spend all your free time together, sleep over, and hang out with each other's friends.
Some people are content with situations like these, but others, not so much. So if you're in an "almost" relationship, do you have to break up with them like you would in an official relationship? It's not a "real" relationship, so the water is murky. Here, the experts break it down.
First of all, you need to determine if your "almost" relationship has the potential to be anything more, and if you even want it to be. But, according to Julia Bekker, matchmaker and dating coach for Hunting Maven, "Eventually it either needs to go somewhere or not." So, if you just can't see that happening and you know you need to end it before it goes on for too long, then you should follow your gut instinct.
If you're still unsure, though, Townsend suggests thinking first and foremost about yourself.
"If you're thinking about ending your 'almost' relationship, it's vital that you reflect first on yourself and your needs," she says. "Are you meeting your own needs? If yes, and the relationship still seems off and too non-committal and stagnant for you, then it's clear that you've got to let go. Especially if it's causing you a significant amount of distress, anxiety, and fear." Hear that? A relationship (even an "almost" relationship) can be unhealthy, and you should never stay in it longer than you feel is right.
So, if you're ready to end it, then you should. And as tempting as it may be to ghost out on an "almost" relationship, it's still not cool. Ghosting is rarely ever cool. But, according to Pricilla Martinez, an online life coach at Blush, "Someone who hasn’t treated you well may not deserve the respect of a conversation." So, if your "almost" relationship wasn't mutually respectful, then totally follow your first instinct when it comes to ghosting.
If you want to end the "almost" relationship in person, though, then there are ways. It might be awkward, but it might end up being worth it. "I think trying to be as direct as possible so they don’t have to decipher what you’re saying is really helpful," Martinez says. "The right timing will help avoid any feelings of being taken advantage of (i.e. don’t discuss it right after sex). Don't leave it as an open-ended situation. Commit to your decision so they don’t hang on to the idea it will turn into something later."
Basically, be kind if you can. Even if it's just an "almost" relationship, feelings were involved, and it's important to be sensitive. Thomas Edwards Jr., founder of The Professional Wingman, tells Elite Daily that while you're "having the conversation, you want to highlight the things you enjoyed while dating them before saying you don’t see a future. Then after that, you remind them they’re a great person, someone will appreciate them, make them happy, and you wish them the best. Moving on is so much easier when there's closure."
So if your "almost" relationship isn't going anywhere, then yes, you should definitely officially end it. It might seem awkward or annoying to deal with, but it will be worth it in the end, and you'll be doing both you and your almost-ex a favor.
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