Love Column: As Bieber said, ‘We’re just friends, what are you saying?’

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Love Column: As Bieber said, ‘We’re just friends, what are you saying?’

Melanie Curry - Graphic By Ally Rzesa / Berkeley Beacon Staff

Melanie Curry - Graphic By Ally Rzesa / Berkeley Beacon Staff

Melanie Curry - Graphic By Ally Rzesa / Berkeley Beacon Staff

Melanie Curry - Graphic By Ally Rzesa / Berkeley Beacon Staff

By Melanie Curry

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Last semester, I “dated” a guy I’ll call Eric. I use the word “dated” loosely because we were never an official couple. We would sleep together, FaceTime weekly, and hang out every two weeks. But we were never together. Instead, we were, as many people have told me, in an “almost-relationship.” 

An almost-relationship feels and sounds like a real relationship but isn’t one, according to Elite Daily. It’s everything you do in a real relationship but without the title.  

After I dated Eric last semester, he moved back to his hometown in Sacramento, California without telling me. I discovered his departure from Boston four months later when I texted him at the beginning of September. I felt hurt and confused. Why couldn’t he tell me that he was moving? When I asked him, I recall him saying, “I didn’t think it was important. We’re just friends.” 

He was right—we were technically just friends. But we were also something more. We were something temporary with the potential to become something permanent. And the lack of defined boundaries established within us is what hurt me the most. 

After Eric moved, I met another guy who I’ll call David. We talked every day for two weeks before a personal tragedy in his life caused our connection to fall apart before it could begin. Before we got the chance to enter an almost-relationship, we found ourselves in a “situationship”: an unclear, short-term relationship, according to Huffington Post. A situationship exists as an unlabeled casual connection that can lead somewhere else, but doesn’t necessarily. Despite the difference between a situationship and an almost-relationship, both can hurt.

I’ve been in many situationships and almost-relationships, and neither often lead to anything more. And when they fail, as they always do, I find myself eating a tub of ice cream and watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit as my friends try to comfort me. In a situationship, failure is expected: The premise of this type of relationship is for it to be short-term and focused solely on hooking up. However, almost-relationships bring a sense of shock when you’re ghosted or dumped.

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The end of an almost-relationship hurts more than the end of a real relationship, according to Bustle. In a real relationship there’s clarity—a clear understanding that both partners are 100-percent committed to each other. With almost-relationships, the lines are blurred. You’re doing everything people do when dating. You text each other every night, sleep only with each other, and even meet each other’s parents. Even still, there’s no commitment. Instead, you get wishy-washy signals that are impossible to decipher. Can you be upset if they don’t text you or if they sleep with another person? No, you can’t. Why? They were never yours to begin with. 

I often find myself in these types of situations due to my desire to be with someone and my inherent tendency to be agreeable to my significant other’s wants. Instead of asking for clarification or a label, I’ll wait around and hope for them to bring it up, because I’m afraid that any conversation about commitment will send them running. 

In a generation that finds dating unnecessary, it’s hard to find a college-age partner who wants something real. Therefore, when I meet someone I’m attracted to, I sacrifice my desire for commitment in order to be with them and end up hurting myself in the process. 

After each almost relationship, I have to emotionally build myself up again. But, how do you get over a relationship that never formally existed? The answer, according to Bustle, is to avoid making the same mistakes, move slower when being with someone, and be honest with your partner about what you want. While this sounds like an easy solution, the reality is much harder when the majority of the men around me only want me for sexual pleasure. It’s hard to find someone who wants to commit. Therefore, I have two options: get involved with someone whose interests don’t align with mine, or wait for someone better to come along. 

In order to avoid the pain of an almost-relationship, I should avoid men who aren’t looking for commitment. However, as cuffing season begins, the wish to be with someone in the colder months grows stronger. Yet, as I write this article, I’m realizing the tears, ice cream, and constant crying calls to my mom are not worth being with someone who doesn’t share my desire for commitment. 

Being in an almost-relationship sucks. Like, really sucks. It’s not healthy and it’s not getting me anywhere—if I want a commitment, I need to wait for someone who shares that want, as unfortunate as it may be. And, if the desire to be with someone grows stronger, I need to listen to my mom’s advice: “Get a teddy bear if you’re lonely.”