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Ariana Pezeshki

– lifestyle writer

Relationships are hard.

They’re messy and complicated, yet they’re still full of wonderful moments you replay in your head like a giddy high-schooler. But what most of us don’t talk about are the relationships we have that never actually had a label.

The ‘not-your-boyfriend’ break up can be one of the worst of all. If you had feelings for someone and you never put a label on the ‘relationship’, you’re in the sticky territory of what could’ve been.

The reality of dating in 2020 is that we don’t want to have that awkward conversation with romantic partners of ‘what are we?’ ‘Are we dating?’ ‘Are we more than friends?’ ‘Do you see a future for us?’ – simple questions they can make oh so complicated for us to decipher. But it shouldn’t be a puzzle, or a riddle, or a rhyme. If someone truly cares for you then they will drop any doubt in their mind and hold on to you as if their life depended on it.

Most of us don’t want to end up being in our late-twenties and in love with just an idea. We secretly – or perhaps not so discreetly – crave labels. We want to put a name to the late-night calls and texts, the kisses, the pillow talk. Deep down we know what we share with the guy we’re seeing is real, and to an extent, it is a relationship. If you’re eager for your relationship to lead to the end game, you’ll have to take a chance to see if it’s not as labelless as you thought it was.

However, for some non-labelled pairs, the risk of questioning WTF is going on will actually end whatever TF is going on. We think to ourselves: If I wasn’t in a relationship and we were ‘nothing’, then I shouldn’t be allowed to feel hurt.

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But the truth is it was something, and it’s ok to naturally roll through the emotions of a ‘normal’ breakup. You know in your heart it was something, otherwise it wouldn’t phase you. Accept and acknowledge you had feelings for someone, and go through the phases I like to call ‘getting over the not-your-boyfriend relationship’:

Talk to your loved ones

Mama truly knows best. Sometimes it just feels good to vent to your mum about the boy who broke your heart, because she’s been there! She’s experienced heartache and she knows you better than anyone else and she can give you perspective and advice that will make so much sense in the long run. Other loved ones to reach out to for advice and comfort are siblings and close girlfriends. The sisterhood will help you stay strong.

Journal your feelings

Writing down your feelings can be cathartic, and one day in the near future when you start to feel normal again you can flick back to the pages you wrote when you felt the worst pain and you will see the great progress you’ve made. Even though it might not feel possible now, every day is a new day to heal and you’ll start to shatter through the glass and rebuild.

Stop texting him

There’s nothing worse than getting into bed and replaying all the memories you had together. Picking up your phone and looking through photos you took together can be one of the not-so-great ideas to have during a breakup. I know it’s hard, but I urge you not to send the classic “I miss you” text or a message to see what he’s been up to.

Get active

Going for a coastal walk can be both rewarding and liberating. Enjoy the beautiful view while listening to a killer breakup playlist (ie. Kelly Clarkson), check out all the other fish in the sea (not literally, I mean cute guys that walk past) and remember all the reasons why life is beautiful and why it’s worth getting out rather than laying in bed in the fetal position.

Love yourself

It’s hard not to automatically jump into that mindset of not feeling good enough after a not-your-boyfriend break up.

The process of a break up
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The thoughts that seep into our minds of not feeling worthy or valued enough need to be shut down! Remember how amazing you are and how you don’t need anyone else to make you feel that way. You come first.

The truth is, it’s okay to hurt and yearn over a guy who never committed to you in the first place. We’re allowed to go through the grieving process of feeling the loss of a relationship that we never truly had the chance to fulfill. There’s no need to discredit your feelings for someone because you feel guilt or shame if you think it wasn’t a real breakup.

Sulk and be sad – but not forever. Get back out there when you’re ready because life isn’t over, it’s just the beginning!

The goodbye hurts and the flashbacks are painful, but don’t look back on the past and what could’ve been. Go forward this year and be the badass woman you are and find someone that values you and sees your worth and knows anyone would be crazy to let you get away.