8 Ways to Get Over Someone You Never Actually Dated

My favorite part of being a millennial, probably, is how many different ways my generation has to classify a relationship that isn’t technically a relationship.

It’s true! Never let anyone tell you that millennials are lazy–we have invented (or, at the very least, repurposed) an entire vocabulary just to appease our minuscule attention spans and fear of commitment when it comes to long-term relationships. Take, for example, “talking.” If you are “talking” with someone, it doesn’t actually mean you are speaking out loud to them (ew)–it means texting, usually, in a nebulous not-really-dating-but-not-strictly-friends sort of way. Then, there is “just” hooking up (not to be confused with “exclusively” hooking up), which, if you’re lucky, your “talking” endeavors will deliver you to. But that doesn’t guarantee that your bae won’t be “talking” with someone else while you’re seeing them–because, after all, you were never actually dating.

Sound familiar? Whatever the situation is–or, rather, wherever you lie on the hooking up spectrum–it seems like there are more words for non-relationships than there are for actual relationships. The point is, in situations like these, you never really date. You’re never technically “together.” You never actually break up and, as such, you never actually get over them.

Or, at least, that’s what it seems like when a non-relationship comes to its eventual inevitably dull, anticlimactic conclusion (“not with a bang but a whimper,” as T.S. Eliot opined in his famous poem on non-relationships, “The Hollow Man”). I’ve been there more than once, and while it’s hard, it’s definitely possible to get over. Here are some tips on doing that:

Let Yourself Wallow

It's okay. Even if it wasn't "official," you're still undeniably sad and, when you're sad, wallowing is kind of the best.

But Not for Too Long

If you wallow for an unreasonable amount of time, things start to get stagnant. Feeling sorry for yourself for too long is not good, and it definitely won't help you get over your person. Set a (reasonable) wallowing limit for yourself and stick to it. A good way to do this is to tell your close friends that you will be in a wallowing period for, say, seven days, and after that you expect some #realtalk rather than straight-up sympathy.

Don't Rely on Your Friends to Heave You Out of the Not-Quite-Over-It Hole

The curse of the ubiquity of the not-really-dating-breakup situation is that, while it happens to nearly everyone, it's really hard to sympathize with when you see it happening to someone else. Your friends will be supportive for a while but chances are that, after some time, they'll start to lose patience. Obviously, don't feel like you can't talk to them at all but, at the end of the day, you're the only person who can actually get over this. No one else can do that for you.

Don't Delete, Unfollow, or Unfriend Them

This sounds counter intuitive, but unfriending someone you're trying to get over is actually the LEAST effective way to get over them. Why is this? Mystery is often much more terrifying than the truth--if you unfriend them, your overactive imagination will concoct tales of your former bae-adjacent person gallivanting about with a new bae in exotic locations, when the reality is probably much less jealousy inducing. You can definitely mute or filter them out of your newsfeed, but unfriending will actually cause more trouble than it's worth.

Do NOT Stalk their New S.O.

Or their exes. Or friends. Or, you know, them. While unfriending them completely is a bad idea, try to stay out of the habit of typing their name, or anyone they're hyper-connected with, into your search bar.

Be Open to Other People

You don't even have to think about this in a strictly "dating" (or, you know, not-dating) sense. Just get out there and meet new people! This will distract you from thoughts of this other person, and show you that there are much more interesting and exciting people out there.

Resist the Urge to Text Them

Don't think that they're just sitting around, waiting for you to text them. Delete their number if you have to. Chances are that, if you text them, they'll respond (because you never actually broke up--what's the harm in doing that?), and you'll take that to mean...something, but sometimes a response is just a response. If they wanted to talk to you, they would. Just...don't do it.

Do NOT Think About Things You Could Have Done Differently

You weren't "too clingy." You didn't text them "too much." You shouldn't have been "more responsive." The thing about non-relationships is that they almost always fizzle out. It wasn't you, so please don't blame yourself. The faster you realize that blaming yourself won't help anything, the faster you'll be able to get over this non-relationship.

Have you ever been in a non-relationship? How did you get over it?