You’ll be met with plenty of advice—from friends and family, in movies and online articles—on how to get over a breakup. We’ve all been there, and it’s usually a time of grief, loneliness, and heartache. But what if you never actually dated the person in question? Yes, I’m talking about how to get over someone you never dated.
“Almost relationships” are incredibly common, and sometimes these are more painful to move on from than “actual relationship”s.
But why is it hard to get over someone you never dated?
Because there’s no closure. No real beginning and no real finale. You’re left wondering what if… The future you dreamed of and the potential you saw in what you could be together are erased slowly over time. You’re left with a barrel of unanswered questions. Because nothing has really happened, you’re clinging on to a shred of belief that something might still happen.
Can you be heartbroken if you never dated?
There’s this idea that breakups are only real if they’re with someone you dated for years. But you can fall for someone, open your heart to them, and get your feelings hurt just as hard in the space of a few weeks.
So if you’ve been open with your feelings and it’s clear this person is not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you, it’s time to do the hard work of healing and moving on. Yes, it sucks that your feelings are not reciprocated, but at least you finally know the truth. You can now take conscious steps to let go of this person and eventually find someone who does want to be with you—because that’s what you deserve.
How long does it take to get over someone you never dated?
Regardless of whether you dated someone or not, we’re all different, and every relationship is unique. That means it might take you a few months, maybe even a year or more, to fully get over someone you never dated. It all depends on how strong your feelings were for this person. If it’s love, then that will take significant time to heal from. So be patient with yourself while you try to move on.
Here’s how to get over someone you never dated and move on
1. Don’t blame it on bad timing
Here’s what I have to say about bad timing: bullsh*t.
In my opinion, there’s no such thing as bad timing. Either you want to be with someone enough that you figure out a way to make it work, no matter what else is going on in your life right now, or you don’t want to be with them. Bad timing is often wishful thinking and usually just a case of incompatibility, commitment issues, or clashing priorities.
If you’re blaming your situation on bad timing, then you’re letting yourself cling to the idea that maybe in the future, it will work out between you. And this false belief will only keep you stuck.
If this was the right guy for you, then trust you would be together. But you’re not, which means your guy is still out there waiting for you to find him. Accept that this was not a case of bad timing, and the easier it will be for you to close this crappy chapter and begin a bright new one.
2. Decipher between what actually happened and what you hoped would happen
“Almost relationships” tend to happen when we allow our imaginations to run wild, miles ahead of what’s happening in real life.
Maybe you only talked to this guy on a dating app for a few weeks, but because you were talking non-stop and went deep with your conversations, it feels like you’ve known each other for three years instead of three weeks. Perhaps you only went on a couple of dates? But you got so excited about connecting with someone who (seemingly) matches your love vision that you let yourself get caught up in fantasies of the white wedding, the cute kids, and the happily ever after.
If you built up an idea of what this relationship could have been before it even became a real relationship, you’re likely to feel a deep sense of loss. In your mind, you haven’t just lost a guy you dated for three weeks; you’ve lost an entire future with him.
The best approach here is to clarify what actually happened and what you hoped would happen. Make a list of what was true versus what was a fantasy.
3. Cut all contact with him
Are you still stalking the guy in question on social media?
Do you still respond when he texts you late at night?
Are you hanging out in places where you know he’ll be, hoping you might “spontaneously” bump into him?
As tempting as it might be to cyber-stalk this guy and see if he’s talking to any other women, the only thing this is doing is keeping him (and this situation) at the forefront of your mind. How can you move on if you’re tethered to the past?
Here’s what you need to do:
- Block or unfollow him on all social media
- Delete his number from your phone
- Cut all contact with him IMMEDIATELY
That might sound intense, but the way you’re feeling about this guy right now is kind of intense too, so we need something that’s going to combat that. Don’t worry that you’ll come off as mean—this is a way of showing yourself love, and that’s precisely what you need right now.
It’s true what they say—out of sight, out of mind.
4. Give yourself permission to be sad
One of the problems with “almost relationships” is that your friends might assume that you’re over it already or expect you to be after just a few weeks. But as we’ve talked about already, “almost relationships” can be just as long and painful to recover from.
So regardless of whether the people around you get it or not, here’s how to get over someone you never even dated: let yourself be sad.
I want you to know that all your feelings are valid, so embrace everything you feel now. You’re not crazy. You’re not stupid. And you’re not weak. How you feel is how you feel. You don’t need anyone to validate those feelings—they are yours, so own them.
If you force yourself not to be sad or feel your true feelings, you’ll only slow down the healing process.
So let yourself grieve this person, whether you knew this guy for two weeks or two years.
5. Work with a therapist
Maybe you already work with a therapist, in which case, opening up about this grief could really help propel you forward on your healing journey. If you’re not working with a therapist, now might be a great time to find one.
Aside from this experience, you’ve probably got a ton of emotional baggage and inner child healing to do (we all do), and a therapist can help you confront and overcome those shadows. Therapy offers a safe, supportive space where you can be vulnerable and open and not censor yourself. Who knows what you’ll discover about yourself in the process?
Usually, we repeat specific patterns and behaviors in our relationships, and therapy can give you an insight into what these are so that you can break those negative patterns and replace them with healthy, empowering ones.
6. Remind yourself you deserve to be happy
If you want to figure out how to get over someone you never dated, the next step is to ask yourself how this situation has happened.
For example, maybe this guy is someone you’re friends with, and you’ve had strong feelings for him for a long time, even though you know he’s not emotionally available. Or maybe you rushed the “getting to know you” phase with this guy and didn’t establish any boundaries from the start.
Is there a possibility that, subconsciously, you’re drawing toxic or unfulfilling relationships into your life?
You might be thinking, “but Adam, why would I want to attract a guy into my life who is only going to cause me pain?”
And my answer is, I don’t know, why would you want to do that?
Psychologically speaking, there may be a part of you, on some level, that believes you don’t deserve to be happy. Could there be some truth to that?
If you don’t truly believe you deserve happiness, then you’re bound to attract crummy men into your world—because these guys are matching your thoughts.
My message to you is that you do deserve to be happy. Remind yourself of this whenever you find yourself thinking about the almost-guy.
7. Clarify what you liked about this guy
Okay, so you know you deserve to be happy. Now it’s time to clarify what happiness means to you.
What do you want?
When it comes to a relationship, what are you seeking?
One of the many benefits of being single is the time and space it gives you to get to know yourself more intimately and define what you want in a future life partner.
Make a list of all the things that attracted you to this guy—physical qualities and personality traits. I promise you, there are a ton of other men out there who also have these characteristics—this guy is not a unicorn!
Once you’re done with your list, you can start elaborating on it by adding other essential qualities that this guy doesn’t have (well, would you look at that—he clearly isn’t the guy for you). This is called creating your love vision (Little Love Step #2). When you know the kind of man that is compatible with your future, you can then start choosing the right men and artfully dodge the wrong ones.
8. Channel your energy into something else
“The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”
Yeah, don’t do that. That’s terrible advice. Rebounding only leads to more hurt and confusion.
That being said, there is some sage advice hidden within this rotten tomato.
If you want to know how to quickly get over someone you never dated, you’ve got to shift your focus onto something else. It can be anything you want: your career, a side hustle, a passion project, a solo retreat, a new hobby, etc.
I’m not recommending you avoid or mask your feelings; what I’m saying is to keep yourself busy. The more good things you’ve got happening in your world, the fewer opportunities you’ll have to sit around and feel sad. When you feel sad, use that as a cue to get up and do something that brings you joy. Hang out with friends, go for a walk on the beach, enjoy a pamper session—do something, anything, that will change your state of mind.
9. Remember: you’ve got plenty of other options
Did you know that about half of men under 30 are single?
But what about when they get older? Surely they’re all taken, right? That’s what your Grandma Betty warned you about every time you’d see her during the holidays…
In fact, when it comes to men aged 30 to 49 and 50 to 64, 27% of them are single, and 21% of men 65 and over are single too.
So although there may be fewer single guys, there are still plenty of them around. So what if things didn’t work out with this guy? He’s just one guy. One guy out of billions.
And even if you’re not yet ready to start dating again, there will come a day in the near future when you are ready, and I want you to know there are plenty of incredible men out there to get excited about!
10. Be more intentional with men going forwards (to avoid getting hurt again)
One of the reasons why “almost relationships” are through the roof right now is that we don’t set clear boundaries when we date. What if I told you your dating life could be a whole lot more fun and a whole lot less stressful if you made a few tiny tweaks to the way you date?
This is why I created the 7 Little Love Steps—to help women get out of their own way, find love, and attract the relationship they desire.
First things first, if you’re attracted to someone in your life, don’t be afraid to make the first move and ask him out. You don’t want to be secretly crushing on him for months only to have him introduce you to his amazing girlfriend who isn’t YOU.
Next tip: move your conversation off a dating app sooner rather than later. If you like a guy, meet up within a week. Avoid being reeled into overly-long and deep conversations before you’ve gone on a date.
Always remember to keep your options open when dating. What I mean by that is to date lots of different guys at the same time. This is the best way to figure out who’s right for you and avoid being hurt when one of those guys disappears (for whatever reason). Unless you’ve had an explicit conversation about being exclusive, you can assume you are both single.
If you are ready to take things to the next level and officially start a relationship, be vocal about that. The worst that can happen is he says no, and you can avoid wasting any more time on someone who doesn’t want the same things you do.
Finally, I want you to remember that there is no shame in the fact that you caught feelings for someone, regardless of whether it was a relationship or not. Getting over someone you like is always challenging, and there is no right time to be over it. Be gentle, loving, and kind to yourself while you find a way to move on. But trust that you will get there; you will move on and find an amazing man.
Have you ever had to get over someone you never dated? I’d love to know what that experience felt like for you and how you healed. Let me know in the comments below.
PS. If you’re ready to start making men pursue you for love, then join me on this free webinar to discover the 3 steps to building emotional attraction – Register here to get started (it’s 100% free).