Getting over someone is never easy. Getting over someone you never dated, however, can be a strange and perplexing experience.
As much as you’d like to just snap out of it, there isn’t an on-and-off switch for unrequited love, just as there isn’t one for a broken heart.
For as long as you’ve cared for this person, your brain has been producing chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine to deepen your connection and stimulate that happy, giddy feeling you get whenever they text.
Combine a fear of rejection, the complexity of an almost relationship (aka a “situationship”), and a great deal of wishful thinking—it’s not surprising if you have trouble letting go.
Fortunately, it’s possible to move on from any kind of infatuation.
Given time, patience, and the right kind of support, you can healthily process your heartbreak and start dating someone who is right for you.
To help you take that first step forward, here’s a list of tips to keep in mind as you navigate this difficult—but ultimately beneficial—journey.
1. Mute or block them on social media
If you spend a lot of time stalking your crush’s posts and wondering if they’re going to text back, then it’s time to step away from your phone.
Unfollow them on all social media. For peace of mind, mute or block them and set boundaries with yourself. Start “ghosting” them if needed.
Though this may sound extreme, perhaps even cruel, remember that it’s you who needs to come first. Moving on will be a lengthier process if you continue to communicate and try to stay involved, even indirectly.
2. Keep yourself busy
Dopamine, the “pleasure chemical,” is produced when we’re in love, but researchers have also found that dopamine plays a major role in productivity and motivation.
In short, the more you (healthily) distract yourself, the better your brain and body might feel.
Though this may not be how you imagined your love story ending, think of this as the perfect excuse to shift your energy, get back into creative projects, and spend time doing things that make you feel good.
3. Resist the urge to flirt
A person as attractive, funny, and interesting as your crush will come again. In fact, you’ll likely find someone who’s all these things and more.
To make certain you don’t miss that opportunity when it arrives, give flirting a rest.
Whether your crush encourages your advances or not, flirting will only perpetuate the cycle of “will they or won’t they?”.
This is especially true if you happen to be in an almost relationship. If it hasn’t happened by now, then it’s time to accept it’s probably never going to.
4. Erase old photos and texts
Strong feelings will fade with time, and you’ll eventually move on.
To help you along the way, delete every photo and text you’ve hung onto until now.
Though forgetting may be the last thing you want, knowing these memories are in your phone can compel you to keep looking back rather than forward. It may be painful at first, but eliminating temptation is ultimately for the best.
5. Make a list of the qualities you didn’t like about the person
Think back to what attracted you in the first place. It may have been their smile, their kindness, or their sense of humor. Whatever special quality you saw, remember that you witnessed only a small portion of their personality.
Take a little time to list any qualities you don’t like about that person. This doesn’t have to be a long list of hateful or mean nitpicking. Perhaps there were red flags you never noticed before or inherent differences that would’ve made a relationship impossible.
Keep this list close at hand. It’ll serve as a reminder as to why things didn’t work out—and why that’s a good thing.
6. Focus on your career, family, and friends
This is also a good time to lean on family and friends. While your loved ones may not be relationship experts, they can offer you comfort and distractions as you navigate heartbreak and come to terms with your feelings.
Work can also offer a reprieve. As you refocus your energy on your career, remember not to overwork yourself or neglect your other needs. Instead, try to find a healthy balance between mindful productivity and a reignited ambition.
7. Allow yourself to grieve and feel all the emotions
While you may not have had a real relationship, you felt a connection, one worth mourning. This is especially true if the object of your affection is someone you can’t easily part ways with, such as your best friend or a co-worker you have to see every day.
Though it’s important to open yourself back up to the idea of love, there is nothing wrong with taking a hiatus from romance. Avoid anything that might trigger the pain and confusion your crush once elicited. Cry as much as you need, binge-watch Netflix, and give yourself a long, good hug.
8. Pamper yourself and give it time
After spending so much time and energy on a relationship that never happened, you may be left feeling burnt out or hopeless.
Take this as your cue to step away from real life and practice some self-care.
Whatever the activity is, make a conscious effort to address not only your needs but your wants as well.
This might mean a hot bath, going away for the weekend, or treating yourself to something nice, like your favorite flavor of ice cream or a childhood movie. Indulge yourself and rediscover the joy of life without your crush at the epicenter.
Bonus Step: Seek Professional Online Therapy with Emote
While you may have never dated, it doesn’t change that you are hurting and require love and support to see you through this heartache.
With the guidance of a qualified therapist, lingering what-ifs and unresolved feelings can finally be put to rest.
At Emote, we offer broken hearts a chance to heal.
Through online therapy, you can discover how to build healthier habits, address underlying issues, and learn what you need to secure a fulfilling, long-term relationship.
All this and more can be done from the comfort of your own living room.