Getting over an ex is hard, but that pain makes sense.
The pain is harder to understand when getting over someone you never dated. Sometimes we project ideals and fantasies on people we like but have never dated and then feel deeply hurt or lost when we realize that a romantic connection isn’t in the cards.
This article will explore how to get over someone you never dated and help yourself finally move on.
Why is it difficult to get over someone you never dated?
We all know the heartbreak that comes with a breakup, but few people realize the heartbreak involved in getting over someone we never actually dated.
Breakups are challenging, but when they happen, we often have a support system of people who understand that pain and can help us get through it.
It can be harder to receive that same support when you never dated the person because you may not have fully shared your feelings about that special person with others, at least not in the same way you would if they had been your partner.
It isn’t easy to get over someone you never dated, especially if the relationship was otherwise close. Perhaps they’re a stranger you crush on, a friend who put you in the friend zone, or someone you cared about a lot.
Whatever the case, realizing that a romantic relationship isn’t in the cards can be heartbreaking.
Genuine romantic relationships can evoke a deep sense of loss and grief when they end. Still, at least there’s a relationship in the first place, and there is even a chance for closure if both former partners are willing to talk and be vulnerable.
One may also find the motivation to walk away and move on when the official end of a relationship leads to conflict and stress. The problem with the one-sided, hoped-for relationship we’re exploring in this article is that we tend to have to get over them on our own.
Below are some of the main reasons why getting over someone you never dated can be so painful:
As mentioned, when dealing with the end of a real relationship, it makes sense that we feel sad and lost; others understand that and support us through it.
Dealing with the loss of a hoped-for relationship is more difficult to express to others, so it evokes a sense of loneliness.
2. Lost hope
When we want to be with someone we love or have a crush on, we tend to get lost in the imagination. We idealize this person and imagine a romantic future where they return our feelings.
When we realize that this relationship will not happen, we lose that vision of the future and the sense of hope that it will come true.
3. Confusion and self-doubt
You may beat yourself up based on negative thoughts and destructive self-talk. You may wonder if you may have done something to change their feelings or if you can be different in some way to make them like you.
These potentially harmful and destructive thoughts make getting over and moving on all the more difficult.
Moreover, often the reason behind the idealization of this person is not just about them but about our self-image and how a successful relationship with that person would alter it.
What will it mean to ourselves if we can be with that person? And what does it mean if we can’t be with that person? There is much insight and understanding to be gained through reflection on these questions.
How to get over someone you never dated
Go easy on yourself. Time and patience are pivotal; you don’t need to fill that time with self-criticism and judgment. Instead, try to:
1. Investigate your feelings
There is much insight and knowledge to be gained through self-reflection.
As part of the healing process, bring curiosity to your feelings around your crush. What is it about that person that draws you to them so much? And how does not being with them make you feel?
Do those feelings remind you of other feelings you’ve had in your life, perhaps a feeling that you haven’t fully processed?
Self-reflection and investigation can be challenging, but it’s nonetheless essential. The more we know ourselves, the more light we shed on our inner world, and the more we see the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs we project onto other people and the world around us.
For example, not getting to be with your crush may evoke a sense of rejection. If you’ve had a difficult time with rejection, this situation will be all the more difficult.
Still, understanding the relationship between current and past feelings helps us ultimately accept and move through them. Self-reflection makes you realize that even if this person doesn’t want to be with you, that does not define your worth or value as a person and partner.
2. Embrace the pain
Even though this relationship never took off, you still experienced a sense of loss.
It’s crucial for your mental and emotional health and well-being to accept however you feel. That may mean grieving the loss of this person.
Grief may sound like a strong term to use here, especially since this person wasn’t even a partner, but the heart and mind are wired, so they need to move through emotions, not away from them, to achieve emotional balance.
So, allow yourself to grieve over the loss of this idealized relationship.
Acknowledging and accepting your pain without trying to numb or avoid it gives both heart and mind a chance to move on.
If you need any more encouragement to let yourself feel this pain, understand that not allowing these feelings can affect your future relationships. Shutting down rather than healthy processing may make you cynical or cold toward the idea of love and relationships in the future.
This can set off sentiments of isolation and loneliness that can further complicate your feelings.
“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” ~ Steve Maraboli
The magical thing about allowing and embracing our emotions is that once we get them all out, we’re in a much better position to move on ultimately.
If we don’t allow our feelings and accept them with self-love and compassion, they linger and significantly prolong the healing process.
3. Get busy
It’s important to take time to reflect and investigate your feelings, to accept and acknowledge them with love and compassion, but it also helps to take your mind off that person from time to time.
Avoidance can be an unhealthy coping mechanism when we don’t do any inner work, but keeping busy with other parts of our life can give us a break from our heartbreak.
You can combine self-reflection and acceptance with other activities to strike a healthy balance.
Loss and hardships are unavoidable in life; however, “how” we deal with our pain will make us or break us. – Melanie Willard
So, stay busy. Explore other areas of your life that can benefit from your caring attention, such as passion projects, new job opportunities, and hobbies you love or would like to try for the first time.
There are so many ways to spend our time and energy that do not involve that person we never dated. The more you engage fully with other parts of your life, the less consumed you will feel by those negative feelings.
4. Spend time with loved ones
Even though you may not be able to have your crush, don’t forget that other people in your life love you and care about you. These people may not be able to satisfy the hopes and dreams you had envisioned with your crush, but they can offer meaning and fulfillment in other ways.
So, spend time with people who support you, love you, and have been there for you in the past. Research proves that solid friendships and familial relationships profoundly affect our self-esteem and mental health.
5. Start dating
Just because this one person didn’t share the same feeling doesn’t mean nobody will. There are so many potential lovers and partners out there that it would be a shame to close yourself off over one person.
This person you never dated probably has no evil intent, but your lingering feelings for them can hold you back, especially when it’s clear that a relationship isn’t in the cards.
So, brush yourself off and get out there (as long as you feel emotionally ready). Keep an eye out for people who interest you and try a coffee date, lunch, or some evening drinks.
The more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll realize there is far more to be experienced than this person. Life is full of unique and colorful characters, so make a point of getting out there and meeting them!
6. Reduce your exposure
It will be much harder to move on from your unrequited crush if you’re constantly around or getting updates about their life. If they’re a colleague or classmate, you may be unable to avoid them physically, but you can still try to hang out with others and talk to them less.
This may seem awkward and painful initially, but it becomes easier over time. You don’t have to cut this person out of your life completely, but at least give yourself a chance to move on by creating space.
7. Seek support
If your feelings about this person have become overwhelmingly difficult, you must reach out for support. Doing so is a courageous and wise act of self-love.
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of reconnecting with a close friend or family member who has been a source of support in your life, but you may also consider professional help.
A qualified mental health professional can offer in-depth and practical emotional and psychological support as you explore your feelings in a safe, unbiased environment.
Their informed professional advice can help you see areas of projection and attachment patterns that may enlighten your feelings.
Self-reflection and investigation are among the most effective ways to get over an unrequited crush, but this journey can be difficult for some, especially when challenging emotions arise.
So, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’re struggling.
Can you love someone you have never met?
Is it possible to love someone whom you’ve never physically met? This is a rich topic of discussion, and opinions may vary.
Online dating spaces are increasingly popular. Many spend hours, days, and even months talking to and getting to know people they have never met. Many even developed romantic feelings or a sense of romantic potential for these online connections.
No one can tell you that your feelings are ‘wrong’ or invalid, so if you feel a sense of love for someone you met online, that’s your experience, and you’re entitled to own it.
However, relationship experts and scientists understand that love has some critical aspects that cannot be achieved through an exclusively online relationship.
The chemical processes involved in touch and smell are compelling. So, if we’ve never touched or smelled this person but only interacted with them online, it can be hard to tell if we’re truly compatible.
We may seem compatible with them on paper and even have great conversations, but if the physical chemistry isn’t there, then it’s probably not going to work out in the long run.
The physical chemistry may very well be there if people meet in person, and it may not, but it is only then that one can honestly know.
A healthy relationship with yourself is more important than a lost potential relationship with someone you never dated.
Even if you have strong feelings for this person, it’s detrimental to your health if you keep holding on. You may be feeling sad today, and you may feel sad tomorrow because you can’t be with them.
Still, suppose you can commit to a healthy relationship with yourself (which involves practicing acceptance, forgiveness, and unconditional self-love). In that case, you can finally break away from those unrequited feelings and start cultivating relationships that serve you moving forward.