1. Dancing along the margin between dating and not dating someone makes you feel alive with possibility, whether or not entering into a relationship IRL seems at all possible.
2. Who doesn’t want to be wanted? No one. Feeling wanted and/or wanting someone—even if you never act on those emotions—is adrenaline inducing.
3. Almost dating someone lets you anticipate what it would be like to be their significant other—to hold each other, have sex, exchange I love you’s, and build a life together—without actually taking the plunge.
4. As you imagine your would-be relationship, you get to craft every detail of the story starring you and your almost boyfriend or girlfriend, as if directing your very own romantic comedy.
5. But without actually going through the motions of getting to know someone and falling for them, or dealing with the insecurity, embarrassment, jealousy and other issues that tend to arise along the way.
6. Let’s face it: Anticipating something is often more rewarding than the real thing. Just think about how excited you were in the weeks leading up to your last vacation, or the run-up to a special occasion you were eager to celebrate.
7. Unconstrained by the burdens of reality—namely, those sticky problems that inevitably develop between people who do get together—an almost relationship is a precious vat of beautiful hypotheticals.
8. When you ask yourself a series of What Ifs about someone you maybe could have loved, your answers will taste deliciously mysterious. It’s impossible to know for sure what may or may not have happened between people who never got together, but wondering is fun.
9. These unsolved romantic mysteries are satisfying in the same way the “I’m about to orgasm” feeling that precedes climax is. They’re intensely personal and intoxicating, but without ever being actualized.
10. The reward is in longing, a potent aphrodisiac. Better to experience “blue balls” than never to be turned on, right?
11. If you’re close enough with someone to toe the line between dating and not-dating, there’s something there—something very human worth holding onto, even if things were always one-sided, or remain unresolved.
12. An almost relationship is a form of perpetual pleasure delay, and being teased is the best kind of foreplay.
13. The greatest ones are laced with all the right ingredients for sexual fantasies.
14. Which may or may not inspire you to jump your actual partner’s bones one day and lead to mind-blowing sex. (Word to the wise: If and when an almost relationship makes you horny, never admit that to your significant other).
15. The best part? No one you never dated can ever dump you.