This Is What Almost Dating Is Really Doing To You

istockphoto.com / lambada
istockphoto.com / lambada

I called it an almost relationship. My friends called it a booty call. I called it love. My friends called me crazy.

But this grey area of kind of sort of almost dating someone is much more common than I realized. I thought I was the only crazy one who fell in love with someone who wouldn’t call me his girlfriend. I thought I was the crazy one for hooking up with someone and he’d talk about someone else. Cause well we were best friends too, so there weren’t rules. Or if there were he was making them.

I learned only after real friends would never make you cry. It took me until I walked away to realize real love wasn’t suppose to be this complicated. Real love was simple and he wasn’t.

And I fearfully walked away on a night I couldn’t take it anymore. Because humans can only take so much abuse. That’s what almost relationships are. It’s this invisible abuse we don’t even see affecting us. It’s half love when humans were designed to take in whole love. It’s the kisses and sex and physically and emotionally attached to someone who doesn’t respect you enough to even text you back, because well you aren’t his girlfriend and he’s not obligated to.

So you muster this strength to walk away and you try not looking back. Which is a challenge in itself? But here’s this person who has you so dialed they say jump and you say how high. But the greatest test of self-respect is looking at someone you are head over heals in love with and saying I deserve more than this.

But however long this has been going on, psychologically it messes with your head in the worst way. Because dating is never simple after you come across these people.

You don’t trust yourself at all.

When someone is playing this game and changing every rule, you’re just fumbling to keep up because you don’t know when things are gonna change. You don’t know when he’s gonna pick up and leave. You don’t know if it’s gonna be another night you feel empty because he’s gone for a moment until he wants you again. You don’t trust anything about yourself. Because if you listen to yourself you’d run back every time even though you know you shouldn’t.

You’re insecure.

Because when you are just somebody’s side chick or fuck buddy or they don’t wanna commit to you, you think it’s a direct reflection of you. You want to change. You want so badly to be like the girls he tells you about. You want so badly for him to want you as much as you want him. But in every future relationship, you find yourself more insecure.

You don’t trust anyone else.

Your walls are so high after this guy who hurt you. You think everyone is out to get you. Because if this person you claimed to be in love with can hurt you, anyone can.

You accept mistreatment because it’s all you’ve ever known.

There are moments where I’m sure you got into screaming fights and cursing and name calling. And I’m sure you just took it. I’m sure he apologized and things went from really bad to almost perfect. This isn’t a healthy relationship. Emotional abuse is a real thing. And someone toying with your heartstrings just because they can isn’t love.

Your standards become lower.

After them, you do begin to settle. Like an abused puppy you’re terrified of anything like that ever happening again. But for some reason, we gravitate towards familiarity. And just when you think you got over this one guy, another one comes and treats you the same way.

We hate to admit we are the ones allowing this recurring theme to keep happening.

You oddly miss them and compare others to them.

But then this person who has come in and out of your life so many times. This person who has caused so many tears you somehow miss them. And everyone thinks you’re crazy for missing someone who treated you bad. But you and I both know with the little bit of bad came a whole lot of good as well. And that’s what you fell in love with, the person you wanted him to be all the time. You fell in love with who you were together when things were good wishing it would stay that way.

You don’t let yourself be happy because all you’ve ever known is sadness.

Happiness is so foreign to you because you associated it with being happy when this guy treated you well which wasn’t always the case. So instead of being happy and having moments of sadness, you were unhappy and pined after those few moments of happiness. Life isn’t supposed to be happy only sometimes.

You lose yourself.

Because it’s impossible for anyone to not change. But I think there’s a way you can walk away from an unhealthy relationship and change for the better. So yes you lose yourself, but I think it’s so important to lose that person who tolerated such mistreatment. Don’t feel bad losing that person. You are better than who you were and you have the potential to be your best self. Sometimes it just takes breaking old habits that die hard. And the most difficult of habits are toxic people because they always come back. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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