Why Getting Over A Situationship Hurts More Than A Longterm Relationship

Getting over a situationship can be brutal… and the pain is often worse than the pain following a long-term relationship. But why?

Why does it so hard to let go of something you never truly had? Why does it feel like such an immense loss? Why are you still stuck in this obsessive, spiral cycle?

Well…. When you’re in a situationship, you’re basically dating potential. And when it ends, it’s the death of that potential, it’s the death of what could have been. And that’s hard to reconcile.

Maybe you met someone that loves to travel and go to music festivals and you love to travel and go to music festivals! And you get so excited about the potential for this fun, exciting, adventurous time you’ll spend together, and it’s exhilarating to get caught in that fantasy. And when it ends before it even really begins, well you’re mourning the loss of something you never even had… what’s worse, you’re mourning the loss of a fantasy, and reality can never compare to a fantasy!

You don’t know what it really would have looked like because you never got to the point where you were going on adventures and traveling together… and you don’t know what that would have looked like. It could have been a total disaster.  You just don’t know and you can’t know. And instead of thinking about what could have gone wrong, you can’t let go of this vision of how perfect things could have been. You are attached to an idealized fantasy, not to any sort of reality.

It also hurts that he didn’t even want to try.

In a long-term relationship, you were there, he was there, you tried, he tried… and you experienced the breakdown and demise of the relationship. In a situationship… it hurts so much more that he didn’t even want to try. It hurts that he didn’t want to step up and match your desire to give this a fair shot. And it can be hard not to take this sort of thing personally: I’m not even worth fighting for? He didn’t even want to give it more time to see what was there?

It’s also important to realize that whoever this man was in the situationship isn’t the real him. What you saw was the best of him, because we’re all on our best behavior in the beginning! The beginning of a relationship is just an illusion… it can feel like you really like this person, but you don’t really know them yet. And when it ends before you really got the chance to know him, it leaves all these gaps for you to fill in. And you can create this dream man in your mind that may or may not even exist and that’s the person you’re pining for.

More than being mad at him or the situation, you’re mad at yourself. You feel like you can’t trust your own judgment anymore because you thought everything was going great … so are you delusional? How did you not see this coming?

Recognizing what’s happening can help you start to get over it and here are some more tips:

1. Realize he’s not your person.

This just wasn’t your person. I know you thought he could be, but he’s not because the right person for you wants to be with you. If this guy cut out before you were even in it, then he was never invested enough in the first place. And trust me, this is not a loss. Not everyone is a match and that’s OK.

Is it possible that it’s just bad timing? Sure, but it isn’t a good idea for you to just wait around for him to choose you. This is an incredibly disempowering place to be and can cause you to waste months or years of your life.

If he lets you go, you just have to let him.

2. Be kind to yourself.

I know you feel stupid for being so sad over this, but you’re not. Your hurt is valid, it’s more than valid! It’s a loss, and a loss is painful.

You got excited about something and then disappointed when it wasn’t what you thought. Who wouldn’t be hurt by that?

It’s not what happens to us but rather the stories we tell ourselves about what happens that determines whether we suffer or grow. If you tell yourself, “This happened because I’m unworthy and I’m never going to get what I want in life” … well then that becomes wired in and now it’s a part of your story, and feeling this way will create that as your reality.

An alternative: “It didn’t work out with this guy because he’s not right for me, not because there is something wrong with me.”

3. What did I learn?

Every disappointment is a chance to learn and grow, so what did you learn here?

You felt an intense pull toward that person for a reason, what was it? What did he represent to you? What needs was he fulfilling? What void was he plugging up?

Whenever we feel an intense, consuming attraction, it’s usually more about us than it is about the other person.

Maybe you’re drawn to him because he’s cool, confident, and charismatic and you wish you were more cool, confident, and charismatic. OK, then log that in as a data point about yourself and try to find ways to be that person on your own.

Maybe he reminded you of the ex who broke your heart and dating someone similar feels like a way to heal.

Maybe he was insanely hot and growing up the hot guys never wanted you and you internalized that to believe you were a loser and now a hot guy wants you and it’s validating and addicting.

Maybe he represents unhealed trauma. What did you think he could heal within you?

Maybe he represents the familiar… he was emotionally distant in the same way your caregivers were emotionally distant and the subconscious will always pull you back to what feels familiar.

Also- does this guy represent a pattern of yours? Do you always seem to go for the same kinds of guys, and end up in the same sorts of situationships that seem to end in the same ways? This isn’t a conspiracy against you. If your dating life feels like Groundhog’s Day, it means there is a lesson you need to learn… and you’ll keep ending up in the same situations until you learn it!

Maybe it’s not about your trauma, maybe you’re just bored in your life, maybe you have nothing going on, and you’re obsessing over him because you don’t have much else to focus on.

Really look at yourself and your life and examine what took you to this place and how you can come out of it even better and stronger.

4. Fill your life up.

Obsession grows in vacant space. If you keep thinking about him and what went wrong and what you did to cause this, you need to stop. You didn’t do anything wrong, there just wasn’t enough there to sustain a relationship.

Instead of dwelling on it, redirect your focus onto something else. Fill up your time and your life with things you love and things that bring you joy.

Try to give to others in any way you can- maybe by volunteering or just by being there for a friend or family member in need. This will put you back in a place of strength and that’s what you need right now.

Visualize what your ideal day looks like. See it from start to finish- what time do you wake up? What do you do first? Who do you spend time with? How do you structure your day? What hobbies and passions do you pursue?

Now that you have a vision of who you want to be, try implementing these things into your life. When your life is full and fulfilling, you effortlessly attract more goodness.

Sabrina Bendory is a writer and entrepreneur. She is the author of You’re Overthinking It, a definitive book on dating and self-love.

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