Getting over someone is hard. But getting over someone you never dated? That's hard and confusing as hell. At least when you date someone and it comes to an end, there's some sort of line in the sand. But when you've had a crush on someone or hooked up with them and it it's never really gone anywhere, it can be hard to pull yourself away — because you still think that something might happen.
That's why the first step is to jump in and make sure those unrequited feelings are actually unrequited. "Take a risk IRL and ask this person out on a date," Chicago-based dating expert Stef Safran tells Bustle. At least you'll know how they're feeling and, if they aren't interested, you can move to getting over them as quickly as possible.
If they're not interested, that's OK — ultimately you don't want to be with someone who's not interested in you. And though when you're in the throes of feelings for someone, it's hard to remember that you could possibly feel that way about anyone else, you can — and you will. It's all about taking the first step to really let go of this person. Once you're ready to do that, the rest will follow. Here's how you can start to move on.
Ask Yourself Why You're Invested In This Person
First, it's important to think about why you're putting yourself through this. If it's a passing crush then that's one thing, but if you've been having strong feelings for them for a long time and you're torturing yourself, it's time to take a look at why.
“Sometimes we stay in unfulfilling or even drama-inducing relationships as a reinforcement of negative self-talk and/or self-sabotaging beliefs," Jeffrey Sumber, MA, MTS, LCPC, Psychotherapist and Author of Renew Your Wows! , tells Bustle. "If I believe on some level that I don't deserve to be happy or that I don't deserve to wake up and go to sleep each day in a state of peace, then it makes sense I’d choose a relationship that reflects that ‘stinkin thinkin.’”
If you've been unhappy from being interested in someone who isn't interested in you, remind yourself that you deserve better, that you deserve to be happy, and that it's time to move on.
Pause And Think About What You Really Want
Once you've really acknowledged that you deserve to be happy, think about this: what do you really want? What attracted to you this person? If this person isn't interested in you, think about what characteristics about them you found were drawn to and keep that in mind as you figure out what you want out of a relationship.
“I think being single is an exercise that every person should go through at some point in their adult life," psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "It is a time that gives us the distance and clarity that we need to get to know who we truly are as a person, and to firmly define what it is that we want in a future partner."
Remember Your Options
Finally, remember that this person might not be interested in you, but so many other people will be. “In a world of over seven billion people, it is astonishing sometimes to consider how we are able to convince ourselves to settle or stay in relationships that produce more hurt and pain than our inherent wholeness and a state of deep peace,” Sumber says. There's nothing more frustrating than the "there are plenty of fish in the sea" line when you're trying to get over someone, but it is true. You might not be ready for the other fish just yet, but one day you will be.
Getting over someone you haven't really dated can be confusing AF — and it's important to make the decision to truly move on. There's no point in punishing yourself by investing emotional energy in someone who's just not interested. Of course, it's frustrating to deal with unrequited feelings, but you deserve way better.