Person: “Have you dated much since you’ve been here.”
Me: *Shakes head*
Person: Why not? Is it just because you didn’t want to?
I hate that when people ask me about dating or why I haven’t dated much I get super awkward and can barely even utter a verbal response. How do I explain that, no I haven’t “dated” but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been in relationships. And that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my heart broken.
I hate that there is not language to describe the importance of intimate relationships that aren’t romantic or sexual. When you have a friendship or family tie for years that suddenly ends, the pain can be unbearable. More shattering than any break up after a few casual dates.
I’ve dated before. I’ve had a long term “romantic” relationship. I’ve broken up. I’ve been ghosted. I’ve been dumped. I’ve avoided people. And none of those previous endings have been as confusing, miserable, and life shattering as being best friend-dumped.
It’s one thing when friendships naturally drift apart due to time or distance. It’s another when someone you trusted, loved, and spent a significant amount of your time with suddenly stops talking to you. And then on top of that you still have to deal with the fear of running into them on a daily basis.
I remember telling a close friend that I’d lost a friend. She tried to comfort me by saying,
“It’s like you got dumped, but you didn’t even get to make out.”
Those words cut through me like a knife. As if making out was directly correlated with how much you love someone. As if because we didn’t make out, our relationship was less significant and my pain was less valid.
I spent months blaming myself for not getting over this friendship faster. For not moving on. Blaming myself for not being able to talk about it. It’s not my fault.
It’s not my fault that I’m still traumatized by being cut off. It’s not my fault that I still have panic attacks when I think about this person I used to love. It’s not my fault that they decided to leave me. And it’s not my fault that we never even “dated,” but I’m still devastated.