If the relationship with your significant other comes to an end, you have all the right to feel down. It’s perfectly understandable, you’ve shared your life with each other, and spent great time together. Emotionally intelligent, mature human beings have a grieving time when the curtains fall. But what happens if it’s an almost-relationship? Then all you’re entitled to have is the shame that your feelings got a bit out of hand (ah, how childish can you get?), and the overwhelming guilt that you’ve prematurely destroyed “all that could have been”.
This “all that could have been*”-feeling is perhaps the worst with all those futile dreams and harrowing what-ifs, and the fact that you are not supposed to talk about it – as there is nothing to talk about – makes things even harder.
It’s not easy to define almost-relationships, although nearly everybody has a picture of one. It’s about the connection, whether on a mental or physical level, often both. It’s about getting a grasp of the person’s true identity, behind the shell. It definitely involves some kind of intimacy, and a very deep level of acceptance. I call it seeing through the eyes of god, others rely on the popular four letter word I refuse to utter in this context. It’s not just that I’m not allowed to give my feelings a free flow, but also that it would be a stupid, naive, amost fan-like exaggeration, something I should not succumb to. However, it’s never easy to come to terms with the aftermath of it.
1. First you must understand: it was meant to be this way.
It took me a long, long time (and even more tears) to understand that not all relationships are meant to be forever. If you just free yourself of all social boundaries and limiting beliefs, you get to see that mindfulness is in the NOW, thus even a substantial one-night-stand can lead to to incredible, eye-opening sensations, realizations and changes.
Many times a relationship is not about sharing a life, but about sharing life-changing moments, and learning the most about the deepest, darkest, most precious self. Often the other person is not even aware of the changes they’ve made with their mere existence, and it’s all fine. Sometimes they learn a lot, too, and get a bit closer to their own dreams and goals – but that is never our business.
2. It’s not your fault. You did not screw it up. You are enough.
Yes, you might have said and done a couple of awkward things, but the truth is that there is not a single thing you could have done differently that would change anything.
Cheesy as it may sound, but if two people have a task to do, they will find a way to each other. Sooner or later, but they always do.
If not, then it’s time to let go.
3. It’s not their fault. They did not screw it up. They are enough.
No, this guy/gal is not the evil fucker who lied with their eyes: they just happen to be who they are, at this point of their life. They know no better. That’s the way they function at the moment.
I’m lucky because I was not being lied to: everything was crystal clear from the very first moment, and I could make a decision whether or not to go along with flow. I’m happy with my chosen path, because I’d be a world less without the experience. I will be eternally grateful for my partner-in-crime.
4. And still, it is okay if it hurts sometimes. It will pass.
Oh, all the shame and guilt associated with the thoughts and feelings you are not entitled to have…! But wait a minute, why should you feel ashamed just because you are able to feel something many people do not even have an idea of? It’s pure, and it’s not hurting anyone. Not even you if you handle it the right way.
The two of you may not have been a proper couple, but you’ve shared secrets and body fluids, so there are things that will haunt you for a while. Sure, you will feel hurt whenever you see them in an intimate context with others – even if it’s just an inside-joke with a friend on Facebook, – and yes, it will be painful to think of all the things you could have done together. And all that could have been.
But hey, it will eventually pass.
It always does.
And you will love again.
Did I just say love? Yes, and it will be deeper and more substantial than before. Because you’ve had an experience that helped you to see yourself in a new light, and be a better person.
*but not the NIN-song. Although it’s okay if you play it now