We are conditioned to believe that a relationship is not meaningful unless it is made “official.” Over and over again, we are told that happiness comes from commitment. We must find our perfect partners, and we must have our perfect relationships to be in love. How many of us have missed out on something beautiful because we were too afraid to love unconventionally? How many times have we shamed ourselves for missing someone who never became a permanent fixture in our lives?
You’re allowed to miss someone you never actually dated. No one has the right to tell you that your feelings are illegitimate because you weren’t in the type of relationship our society deems as “the right one.” If you loved them, it was real. Whether you had them for five hours or five years, the way you felt about them was valid. Being in a traditional relationship does not always equal a perfect romance. Anyone can commit to another person, but not everyone we commit to will be someone we can fall in love with.
Sometimes, we date out of convenience. We date out of loneliness. We date because we feel like we are supposed to. We have been conditioned to believe that anything outside of a traditional romantic relationship is wrong, so we often latch onto the first person who will commit to us, just out of the fear that there will never be anyone else. We let our fear of being alone and being judged by those around us guide our romantic choices when we should be listening to our hearts. We should be listening to the voice in our heads that tells us something isn’t right every time they go to hold our hands or kiss us goodnight. We should be listening to our guts when they tell us that commitment is not always synonymous with happiness; commitment is not always the key to success.
If you loved someone, no one has the right to tell you that you didn’t. Maybe you fell in love with a stranger over a cup of coffee, and now every time you see that coffee shop, you think of them. It isn’t wrong to get lost in a memory every now and then. It isn’t wrong to reflect fondly on the people we have chosen to spend moments of our lives with, even those we weren’t given much time with at all. The length of time we spend with someone should never be allowed to define how much we are allowed to love them. The shortest romances can often be the most beautiful. Let yourself enjoy that beauty. Let yourself become lost in another person without worrying about what happens next. We are not always given as much time as we would like with the people we love, but that will never change the fact that you love them. Time does not determine the value of a relationship. Time does not determine the legitimacy of a relationship. Time does not determine who you are allowed to miss.
You can date someone for years and never think of them again. Sometimes, the most cherished times in our lives are not the ones we expect. I have found that some of the best times I have ever had have been with the people I never expected, sharing moments I know that no one else will ever understand.
It’s okay to love someone with everything you have, even if in the eyes of everyone around you, you never really had them. Your heart knows who it has loved and who it has lost. Never let the views of those around you try to convince you otherwise.
Maybe you never dated this person in the way the world would have liked you to. That doesn’t mean what you shared with them was wrong. That doesn’t mean that what you shared with them wasn’t real. What you felt is what was real. You never have to justify those feelings to anyone else. You are not wrong for missing them. You are not wrong for loving them.
You are allowed to miss them. You are allowed to mourn the loss of their love. You are allowed to feel as deeply as you need to for as long as you need to.
Your feelings are valid. Please don’t let the opinions of those around you convince you otherwise.