Getting Over a Guy You Never Technically Dated: Part 3 of 3
Okay, look. I know this guy is a really nice guy. Or maybe he’s a smart guy. Or funny guy. Or he has a great body. We all have our needs. Whatever the case is, if he’s not actively trying to date you, you need to break out of the confrontation-denial-game-playing nightmare cycle. And that means breaking up with him.
The challenge is you don’t get to have a blow out fight with the guy. You don’t get to call up your girlfriend on Friday night sobbing because he cheated on you. You don’t get to get dumped. And just in case you’ve been holding out for him taking the reins here: It’s a very, very rare man who is going to pick up on your crush, also not be interested in hooking up, and has the balls to pull you aside and say “Thanks but no thanks.” Because face it, what if he did that and you didn’t actually have a crush on him? Then he’s a douche and an ass. A dash, if you will. Or a deuce. Either way, you have to break up with him, and you don’t even get to tell him about it.
If it makes you feel any better, a lot of serious relationships don’t get that final blow out either. Sometimes things fall apart gradually, with cracks widening and resentment building and lives slowly creeping away from each other, day by day. If you’ve never been in a relationship (certainly true at the time of my first couple non-breakups) or have never had a “quiet” break up, this is hard to grasp. So just trust me on this one: there doesn’t need to be screaming and breaking things and yelling for it to be over.
Unfortunately, even without the drama, it’s still going to hurt like a bitch. And like a home bikini wax, for some reason it feels even more painful to inflict the whole insane act on yourself. So if you’re ready to move past your game-playing and denial, it’s go-time. If you’re not ready yet, go back and torture yourself a little more until you want to rip off the bikini-wax strip.
Stage 4/Acceptance: Also known as the cry-in-bed-at-night-wondering-what’s-wrong-with-you stage.
Try not to wallow in this stage. You’re fine. He’s an idiot. Feel better? (Probably not. Let’s get you your coping substance of choice.) This stage is rough, because this is what you’ve been avoiding the whole time. This is the knife-to-the-stomach, self-esteem-busting, lonely-heart isolation you’ve been running from for months. Sure, you didn’t have a boyfriend, but you had a possibility. And all of your coupled-up friends with their fucking dates and brunches didn’t seem so annoying because you had someone too! You just need to be patient and make sure to look cute whenever you saw him! So you could put on a brave face when everyone went to dinner and you didn’t bring a guy because whatever, you’re working on it and you’re a confident, single gal living the fun life!!!
Trivia fact #1: Most exclamation points are compensating for something.
This is the shittiest stage, made even shittier because it’s hard to talk about it with people. It’s easy to understand, “My boyfriend dumped me.” It is harder to understand, “I finally accepted that the man I know personally and have been crushing on for months has no interest in dating me.” If you’ve got single friends, try talking to them about how you “really liked this guy” and “can’t believe it’s actually not going to happen between you.” If they know what’s up, they’ll tell you he’s dumb and you’re very pretty, and let’s go drinking!
I don’t mean to shit on people in relationships-I have several very close friends in serious relationships whom I ask for dating advice regularly-but sometimes couples are just as insecure about “playing the game right” as people trying to be in a couple. So a lot of times when you ask people in relationships for advice, they just tell a thinly veiled story of how they got together with their current significant other because that must be the right way to do it because if it’s the wrong way then OH GOD that means maybe they shouldn’t be with this person and they have to call off the wedding. Just take everything with a grain of salt.
Secretly, this is the best stage: It means you’re not a little chickenshit sitting at home rereading G-chats and crossing your fingers anymore. You should be proud. You might now be sitting at home, reading G-chats and crying into your wine glass, but I’ll let you have your moment. Because once you’re done crying, you get to wallow in a new sense of crappiness.
Stage 5/Sense of being a complete dumbass: So you now feel about as pathetic as you are.
You should have known from the beginning this guy wouldn’t happen, and it was stupid for you to entertain thoughts of Saturday nights cuddling up to this man. Now that you’ve accepted he’s not into you, you can see clearly what a complete idiot you’ve been. Did you really go to every single one of his band’s shows alone? Did you actually go to “his” coffee shop every day “just in case?” Did you send all of your friends his picture saved off of Facebook telling them this time, this guy’s yours? Yes. The answer is yes.
I know it’s hard, especially after finally accepting that someone has labeled you not worth it, but try not to feel bad about all the past bullshit. Liking someone is something that happens, it’s not something you “did.” And sometimes liking someone makes you do questionable stuff. There’s nothing to feel guilty or stupid about. While your intellect can affect whom you’re attracted to, love itself is probably the dumbest emotion there is. If you really love someone, you’re going to love them if they’re being mean, stupid, or ugly. So yes, maybe the situation is dumb, but that doesn’t mean you are.
I’m making a leap here from like to love, but that’s kind of the point: this doesn’t have to be a big deal. You didn’t like, kill someone to impress this guy (if you did, there are more issues than can be addressed in a sex and dating blog). And here’s the other thing: no one cares about the stupid shit you did. No one. I promise. The one person who possibly could have cared was the guy you were interested in-but it turns out you’re not even on his radar so you have nothing to worry about! The curse has become the blessing.
Once you’ve acknowledged there’s no reason to feel dumb, you can graduate to-
Stage 6/Jokes and making out with other people.
“But Meghan,” you say-wisely and perceptively- “Meghan, you’ve been making hilarious jokes this whole time! And I can tell from your writing that you are very smart and of an attractive weight! What do you mean this is the jokes stage?”
I mean this is the stage where you get to laugh about everything that wasn’t between you and him. Can you believe you used to think his goatee made him look “poetic?” Or what about when you convinced your roommate to throw a party just so you could invite him, and then he didn’t show up (but the cops did)?! It’s all so finally hilarious.
If you’re still feeling down, just make an OkCupid profile and hang out online for oh, five minutes. I promise at least one guy will IM you, and he’ll want to fuck you. Think about that! The guy you’ve been crushing on is not the only guy out there (although I’ll tell you, in NYC it can sometimes feel it).
It turns out the world is made of like, half guys. Some of those guys are pretty cute. Some of them will be at parties or bars where you can make out with them. And you should do that. Trust me, after months of lying in bed alone at night, one hot make out session with some random dude (that is actually touching you!) and any trace of Mr. Whats-his-face will become as blurry as the television after my fifth cocktail.
You might have some lingering nostalgia (best dealt with through more jokes! Guess how I cope with things!!!!), and you might miss being so excited about someone. That’s a pretty silly thing to miss, seeing as you basically managed to make up an entire relationship with this guy-don’t worry, you have it in you to get all crazypants over another guy before you can say “So you also use the Internet?”
Bonus Stage: Now that you’ve been through this whole exhausting process, the next time you catch yourself in a “moment of confrontation,” instead of running from it and playing games, you can skip right to acceptance. There is no reason not to do this. Even if you misread things and he actually likes you, it doesn’t hurt to assume he’s not into it. Because if he’s into it, he will make a concerted effort to date you. I can’t emphasize this enough.
Jumping right to acceptance also means less investment in this whole charade, and makes it easier to let go and not act like a full on idiot. Hopefully we’re in agreement at this point that you’re not so special. As with most relationships (technical or not), the bad ones are obvious to everyone. It is not different and magical and special on the inside, it is just shit.
I should note that a modified version of the above also helps you get over men you actually slept with but never technically dated. The modification is that sometimes (not all the time!) you actually get to think he’s an asshole in stage one, which really helps with the whole healing process. Also friends are a little more sympathetic if he got it in and didn’t follow up.
So that’s it! Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything, or if you have a situation you know is actually special and I’ve just wasted a week of your life with bullshit. Any questions?
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