You know the relationship (or lack thereof) that I'm talking about. No, I want to call it a relationship -- a friendship is a relationship, so whatever connection you had, that was a relationship, too. It was undefined, I know. There were no labels, you were so careful about that because in the world you live in, if there were no labels, then no one could get upset and no one would get hurt. Easy peasy. But here's the thing; even without labels, there were feelings involved, so no, it was a relationship no matter what you want to call it.
It doesn't matter how you met them, it's always the same.
There was the guy you met at a bar -- kind of friend of a friend. You text, you flirt, you meet up again, but never a date. He tells you what bar he's at with his buddies and asks you to meet him there. You go because you're at home with Netflix otherwise. Hey, you're young and should experience some of these shenanigans. You're out with your girlfriends one night and he texts and is nearby. You convince all your girlfriends to go to the bar he's at. And yes, you slept with him. Was that really your only mistake? You slept with him so he doesn't think you're "girlfriend/dating" material. You were horny and a bit tipsy and he was cute in that kind of dorky way you like. Wanting sex doesn't discount the great conversation you had or dumb you down from your education or job. So, is that just it? You're just sleeping together? In the most vulgar of terms, f*ck buddies? Were you just one of many he would text and see who would respond?
But the thing is, it's not just that, is it? He told you about his family, the ugly things he doesn't usually tell anyone else. How complicated things are with his parents and siblings. The past he doesn't necessarily hide, but just omits to everyone else, but he told you. He told you how his buddies let him sleep on their couch when he was looking for a job and that's why he never bails on them when you told him you were frustrated that there was never any one-on-one time. He offered his place to stay when yours was being exterminated. He wanted to cuddle during the afternoons and not do anything. So, no, look me in the eye and tell me that we were just sleeping together. I know I wasn't being the "crazy girl" and reading more into it than there was.
Or there's the guy you met on Tinder. Everybody told you that you couldn't expect anything because of how you guys met. But so what if you met on Tinder if you're talking every day? Are you simply being catfished? Does he talk to other girls every single day? He FaceTimed with you for hours when you were drunk and upset. He was there on the phone as you made your way home after a night out to make sure you got home OK.
So what was he to you and what were you to him? Were you both just distractions? Were you both just bored? Was this relationship on your phone just convenient and easier than actually having to meet someone? Or was it just nice to have this attention when he was really in love with a girl in his hometown? How was it that you went from talking every day to suddenly just stopping?
What about the guy from Paris (or London or Hong Kong or fill in with any other city that's not yours)? Maybe you guys met when you studied abroad there and somehow against the odds, still kept in touch. Or maybe he was visiting New York (or Chicago or San Francisco or whatever city you live in) and you felt a real connection. Maybe you talk every day or you have a deep conversation once a month, but somehow that connection is there. And maybe it's timing, maybe it's geography, but there was always the chance that maybe, just maybe, you might end up in (whatever city.) You loved it or you always wanted to move there, but... life got in the way, but there was always that maybe. Everything was always maybe, maybe, maybe, but no concrete plans ever formed. What was that relationship then?
It doesn't matter how these begin, they always end the same way -- it just fades out. One day you just realize how much nothing is being said between the two and simply end all communication because you wonder, was there anything real there to begin with? He replies back "Haha" to something stupid you said and you just never replied and he didn't either. Or you miss a Skype call from them and forgot to call back and he just never called again either. And that was the end of that. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't, maybe you purposefully stopped replying, but it always ends with a lot of questions. Not about "us" or "you and me," since there was never an "us." But sometimes you still wonder, in a purely platonic way of course, what are you up to? Did you end up making partner at your law firm or did you take the position in the corporation with the better hours and lifestyle? Do you hate me for blocking you and never replying or did you already forget my name? Were you kind of dating that brunette girl in the picture I found of you two at that music festival -- another undefined thing so you weren't cheating on either of us? Do you ever think about me?
Maybe you're good -- doing kind of great, in fact. You dated a couple other "nothings" after that person, went on some terrible first dates, but are now dating someone awesome and starting business school in the fall. In another scenario, you're still enjoying the single life, but got a job offer and used it to negotiate a promotion. Maybe you're still single, maybe you're dating, maybe nothing really has changed in your life, but at the end of the day, no matter which scenario you fall into, that other person meant something to you at one point in you life and you learned from them. For that, be thankful.