This Is Why Your Brain Won’t Let You Get Over Your Almost Relationship

@DougOlivares
@DougOlivares

When people are in “almost relationships,” which are entirely too common these days, they think they’re cheating the system. They’re receiving attention and intimacy without the responsibility. However, relationships that are unofficially official are deceptively damaging. They’re emotionally intense, unpredictable, lack closure, incite self-doubt, and are harder to get over for those very reasons.

People will believe want they want to believe, especially when it comes to relationships, and which one is “right” for them. This is because our brains are constantly working to collect evidence that supports what we want to think is true. Our subconscious minds are always processing everything happening around us, but bring these details to the forefront of our awareness when it thinks we need them. This is why people believe they’re seeing “signs” from the Universe. Really, they’re finding confirmation for what they want to think is true.

This is our brains working against us in two ways: first of all, we begin to believe something is true because we want to believe that, not because it’s *actually* true. How many people have believed they found their soul mate at one point or another, and it turned out to be the wrong match? (Consider every couple who has ever gotten divorced, for starters.) Secondly, we are being blocked from other possibilities. Our brains are convincing us that the person we want is the person for us, and that it will be impossible to find anybody else again.

When we want something badly enough, our minds become incapable of distinguishing between “what we want” and “what’s right for us.” We can love someone very much and still not be meant for them. Affection and compatibility are two different beasts.

The tricky thing with an almost-relationship is that it sends our self-verifying brain aspect into overdrive. We are never as desperate to prove to ourselves that something is “meant to be” as when it’s not working out. The more we feel it’s failing, the harder we begin to search for evidence that it’s not. We end up severely disillusioned, and very hurt when reality continues to starkly differ from the belief we’re developing in our heads.

Lastly, because we are only ever touching the very beginning phases of the relationship, we do not get past the “Honeymoon” feeling and into the real ins-and-outs of compatibility. This is to say: we cannot clearly identify any reason why we would be wrong for the person, simply because we haven’t actually been with them yet. It takes about 9 months to really know a person – a year, to be safe. It’s in year two of most relationships when you’ll be able to clearly know whether or not someone is right for you.

So if it seems as though you’re more hung up on a relationship that never-really-was in the first place, it’s not coincidence, and it’s not your fault. Being on intimate – but undefined and uncertain terms – with another person is a damaging mix, but it shows itself most in the aftermath. TC mark

Brianna Wiest

My new book on self-sabotage will be out in June 2020

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