As I write this post, I’m on my couch and it’s currently 1999. I’ve got Brandy’s, Almost Doesn’t Count playing throughout my house, I’m wearing my old Abercrombie sweatpants and an ex boyfriend’s old high school sweatshirt that I found in my closet. All that’s missing is a Capri Sun instead of my mint tea. I wanted to write about a totally different topic today, I really did, but beside the amount of requests I’ve received these past few months to write about almost relationships, the concept of “almost,” has been showing up a lot in my life lately.

I’m listening to the lyrics of this song and although “almost doesn’t count,” makes total logical sense…

Why is “almost” even harder to get over than full-blown?

What is it about almost relationships that, no matter how we move on in our lives (in spite of what could have (never?) been), keeps our hearts frozen in the time of what almost was?

The hardest breakup I’ve ever had to go through was the breakup of my codependent relationship with emotional grey zones. Black and white was always boring and immediately written off, but GREY?… I was IN.

I gravitated toward emotional grey zones because it gave me a valid license to spend my time (& tie my value to), trying to make black and white sense of what always was and always will be… GREY.

I needed to grey all of the black and white deal-breakers, initial red flags and ambiguity, so that I could buy more time in the land of limbo and have an emotional jerk off session with fantasies that my insecurities, hopes, dreams and delusion had labeled as reality.

The codependent addiction was simple – I needed emotional grey zones to feel a sense of irreplaceable passion, intensity, etc. and emotional gray zones needed me to stay relevant.

So how does this tie into almost relationships?

The only way that an almost relationship can EVER exist is from the seed of emotional grey zones and the fertilizer of blurred lines.

Emotional grey zones make us feel like we’ve been locked out of nirvana and finally got let in. They make us question how we EVER got on before they came into our existence. And because of the intensity and sexy, “keep-you-on-your-emotional-toes” fear that they ignite, we try to replace the FACT that there are too many “almosts” to count, with deciding to further INVEST into the belief of the emotional ponzi scheme/scam we’re playing on OURSELVES.

All of us have had that one person – the one person that wasn’t ever completely ours, but we so badly wanted them to be. The one person that was almost everything we could have ever dreamed of. This person made us feel like anything was possible… even Happily Ever After.

With almost relationships, there’s never any certainty as far as what you’re getting into (we immediately squash this fact though, by engaging in emotional philosophication, asking ourselves bullsh*t like, “what is EVER really certain in life anyway?”).

The terms and conditions of the what “almost” is keep changing as you go on because the relational foundation isn’t compacted in reality. The only black and white in the midst of so.much.grey, is that you are a part of (?) a 1/2 way, quassi-relationship with someone who may or may not be fully invested and may or may not be a part of your present (& future).

All the contradictions and confusion end up acting as the ultimate build up; an aphrodisiac to those whose hearts are in repair.

The problem with almost relationships is that although it may seem like there’s a level mutuality and accountability… it’s fleeting – and fleeting or “almost accountability,” is ZERO accountability.

There’s no commitment, discussion or promise of an actual relationship. You don’t dare bring it up for fear of “rocking your dreamboat,” which you’re convinced will result in abandonment. And they’re too comfortable getting the benefits of having a monogamous relationship without having to assure you through words and actions, that they’re being monogamous.

There isn’t a word to describe this kind of intense, exhilarating, momentarily beautiful but ultimately futile union except…

Almost.

Here’s why almost relationships happen, why they’re so alluring, why they’re harder to get over than an official, full-blown relationsh*t & how to LET GO:

Something I recently learned is that almost relationships don’t just happen in a romantic sense. I’ve had to learn the hard (& heartbreaking) way, that they can happen with friendships and even with family. The best way to deal with this is to make the decision to stop engaging in the “let-me-emotionally-bend-over” HOPE that “almost” will ever actualize into a mutual, connected and empathetic relationship.

In my opinion, the most dangerous attribute of almost relationships is that for them to survive, one party has to be empathetically bankrupt. How? If one person didn’t lack empathy, there wouldn’t be any room for “almost,” because “almost” can’t survive when there’s a MUTUAL understanding; an ability to put yourself in the the other person’s shoes.

Sometimes though, almost relationships are just that because they CAN’T be anything else – whether it’s an affair, distance, illness, rare circumstances, etc., it can hurt even more.

What do you do then? You ask yourself, “HOW did this even happen? How did I get here?” 

There IS a way to minimize the pain and let go.

Why do almost relationships happen & why are they so alluring?

  • Almost relationships happen because they play on the fear of something that we’ve ALL experienced: abandonment. We convince ourselves that if we “take it slow” and remain “patient” (at the expense of our happiness & emotional well being), our Happily Ever After is bound to eventually manifest. We also take out the sh*ttiest insurance policy on abandonment, convincing ourselves that since it’s not a full-blown thing, we won’t be THAT broken if it doesn’t actualize into a real relationship (yeah, riiiight).
  • Even though almost relationships aren’t “official” relationships, they cater to those who struggle with boundaries, self esteem and self love. The allure of the what ifs, the unknown, the hot/cold, etc., provides a fertile ground for us to be triggered into making it emotionally official in our hearts (& for oxytocin to override logic).
  • We get in WAY over our heads in almost relationships because like a moth to a flame, the bright light of our hopes, dreams and the potential of what could be, dims the truth of what really is.

This sets us up for something that my Mom brought up to me and it was so powerful, it hit me right between the eyes. This is something that I’ve struggled with my entire life (& will definitely discuss in another post):

Giving the other person credit that they haven’t earned. 

The reason that you tolerate almost relationsht territory is because you’ve chosen to give someone ovulation-inducing credit for things that they have not yet earned. 

Why are almost relationships harder to get over than official, full-blown relationsh*ts?

Almost relationships are the hardest to get over because there’s never any real or substantial closure. It’s one thing to breakup with your boyfriend because you walked in on him cheating on you. Although that’s extremely heartbreaking and difficult, you have at the very least, a visual image and concrete knowingness to remind you of the f*cktard your ex is.

What’s so difficult about almost relationships is that it’s having to breakup with things you that CAN’T just refer to, accept, separate and unplug from: your thoughts, hopes, imagination and dreams of everything that could have been.

The only way healing can occur is by unplugging from the story that you’re choosing to subscribe to; cashing OUT the credit that was unjustly given and rewiring your thoughts.

There’s no sense in trying to put the mute button on something that can’t be muted. It can only be unplugged from, flushed and redirected.

How to let go of an almost relationship:

Read and re-read these bullet points until they become so imbedded in your neuropathways that you have them emotionally memorized:

  • You deserve so.much.more than feeling ALMOST good enough for someone.

  • Feeling like you’re ALMOST loved, cherished, respected, valued and that your partner ALMOST, only has eyes for you is NOT enough.

  • You are worth SO.MUCH.MORE than being ALMOST exclusive with someone, no matter how amazing they seem or how intense and passionate the sex is.

  • Being ALMOST exclusive is NOT exclusive.

  • ALMOST acting like you’re in a committed, monogamous, mutual and exclusive relationship is not a precursor to them being “the one.”

  • You deserve more than someone who can ALMOST commit.

  • Being ALMOST honest with yourself and having an ALMOST honest partner is NOT what genuine openness and honesty is ever about (nor will it ever be conducive to the kind of relationship that you claim to be after).

  • Being ALMOST practical, but falling short and continuing to subscribe to your fantasies is NOT a relationship. It’s you getting an emotional hard on from your own triggers.

  • Being in an ALMOST relationship – whether it’s ALMOST connected, ALMOST empathetic, ALMOST together should never, EVER be good enough for you.

  •  You are so much more than a contender. REMEMBER: You’re only going to settle for being an ALMOST relationship if deep down, you still feel like you’re ALMOST (but not quite), enough.

Being that it’s Mother’s Day today, this post is dedicated to the mate to my soul, my beautiful Mother who allowed me to develop an allergy to almosts by always giving me her all. Mom, I love you more than my words will ever be able to express.

Wishing all of you amazing Moms a very happy Mother’s Day!

You don’t have to be a Mom to celebrate today. We are ALL mothers – mothering ourselves and each other. Make sure that you take some time to mother yourself today and honor the Mother(s) in your life.

BIG ♡ to you all.

– Natasha xx

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50 comments

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This post made me well up 😭😍 we are worth so much more ladies/gents! Never settle, we all deserve that good good love that makes us truly happy 😊 walk away from the emotional bloodsuckers and have the strength to accept those who truly value you, your time and efforts x

Happy Mother’s Day

Love liv 💗

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Love you Liv! So glad that the post served you 🙂 Thanks for being the light that you are. xxx

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That article showed from A to Z how I feel. So thank you. 😢. Rx

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You are not alone Reg <3 sending you love. XO

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Wow…I can’t begin to thank you enough for writing this post. It was an ‘almost’ relationship with one of my best friends that drove me to find your blog initially, and to read this post just brings all these feelings to light. I started crying before I finished it because I know how right you are, but I’m still finding it harder to get over than any ‘real’ relationship I’ve had. Your articulation and way with words is such a gift. <3

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Hi Vanessa! YOU – your light, love, sisterhood and support is the real gift. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You are understood, loved, supported and never alone. I’m happy that the post helped 🙂

Thanks for being a part of this tribe. XX

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So good, Love you!

wy~

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Love you too! Thanks so much Wyatt 🙂 You are missed!

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Oh my, Happy Mother’s Day to you Natasha and to your mom. How proud she must be today….to have a daughter who thinks for herself, and a daughter who isn’t afraid to share those revolutionary thoughts.

xoxoxo

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Happy Mother’s Day to you – my second Mom, my teacher (literal & eternal), my inspiration… my sister. Miss and love you so much. XO

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Thank you for this post.. I was listening to “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy a few days ago to make some sense out of the ‘ickiness ‘I was feeling. I’ve lived/endured/ so many “Almost’s” and loving myself changed my focus back to myself. I can’t allow myself to be an Almost too. I always look forward to your posts. Thanks Natasha!

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Hi Maitha! Another great song 🙂

YES! I couldn’t agree more <3 I'm happy that the post helped. Thank you so much for your love, sisterhood & support!! XO

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Oh WOW! this article arrived in my inbox this morning… What great timing as I’m currently experiencing the ALMOST Relationship… This past week I’ve been an emotional wreck on trying to find the strength to let go. Reading this article and many others on your site has put things in perspective. I’ve lost my way and now it’s time to regain my self love, confidence and happiness… Too much time wasted on these type ALMOST f*cktards…
Love It… Thanks Natasha! x x x

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Hi Kylee! YES! So happy that it served you 🙂 You are loved, supported and never alone in any of this. All my love to you soul sis. xx

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My hope is that you can even begin to understand all the lives you have made better, Natasha. Your gift and skills of reaching through to others is nothing I’ve come across before. The articles hit home with particular resonance. You use your gifts to help others of us who are in need to the depths of our souls. Thank you for using your energy to do good things.

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Jeanette,

Your message brought me to tears. I took a screen shot of it and am going to read it again and again when I need to. Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for your love, encouragement, compassion, sisterhood and support. It was, is and will always be my pleasure to help. Love to you sister. xoxo

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A beautiful message in this. Self love will bring real love.
But it can be a hard lesson to master. For anyone out there who read this and ‘got it’ … it is truly a sign you are on the right path.

I’m not sure what angelic realm Natasha is from but all her words are beautiful and wise. Even the reality checks she writes about and the cold hard facts we need to learn (and face) are wrapped in compassion. Just sitting here feeling grateful. 🌸

Love your mothers wisedom too Natasha! I’ve never heard that before but I’m writing it down!

Xxx 🌸🌷🌸

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Lorelle!! Thank you so much for just… being the angel that YOU are.

Your comments mean more to me than my words will EVER be able to express. You are adored, looked up to, valued, loved and appreciated 🙂 xxxx

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Ohhhh…typos above….mother’s not mothers. Wisdom not wisedom. Just got home from work!

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LOL no worries! I do this all the time 🙂 xx

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THIS.. this is exactly what i needed right now!
its like you are a part of me and know exactly whats happening in my life!
Im from the UK and want to say thankyou for everything you post, i can relate to all of it!
Keep doing what you do, you are amazing!
Thankyou
Natalie xxx

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Hi Natalie! That makes me SO happy to hear 🙂 I’m glad that the posts have helped! Hope to give you a big hug in person one day when I’m in the UK. I promise to keep doing what I’m doing and just remember… it takes one to know one – you are a gem.

All my love to you soul sister. xx

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Thank you for your blog, Natasha. Sometimes your posts don’t pertain to my situation exactly but I always find something I can apply anyway. I know you have so many things going on in your life, and that you have already gone through your lowest points in the realm of love, so I really appreciate that you continue to do posts on heartbreak and difficult relationships anyway to benefit the rest of us. Hope you and Mom had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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Hi Emily! Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3 I try to write the posts in a way that no matter what, they will be beneficial in some way. Your affirmation of that means everything to me. Thank YOU.

We had a lovely day! 🙂 Hope that yours was wonderful too.

You are appreciated, adored, loved, supported and never alone.

xoxo

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Thank you for this article, Natasha. While it did make me cry because it really hits home with me, it also gave me the reality check I need from time to time. Today is a bad day because I miss the ‘almost guy’ a lot… but reading this made me see a bit clearer again <3

Thank you.

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Hi Layla!

I’m happy that the post helped <3 you are loved, supported, believed in, understood and never alone. Keep coming back here to the blog and thank you for being a part of this tribe. All my love to you sister. XO

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This is another post that spoke to me. I am currently in an almost relationship right now – with the guy that we last spoke about. But it is getting to the point where I was something more secure, but he isn’t showing the same. So I don’t know what to do.. wait it out a bit longer, or just give up 🙁

Thank you for another amazing insight and reminding me that I am not alone. I am so happy to come across your blogs.. I am a better person because of you xx

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Love you soul sis! Thank you – I’m a better person because of you too. You inspire me more than you will ever, ever know. Miss, adore ad love you lots 🙂 xxxx

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WOW! I am so glad I discovered this blog today. I am coming off a divorce and entered in to an “almost” relationsh*t. I’ve lost my confidence through it all and this post helped me change my thinking patterns over the past few days. Thank you for that! Now to just have the confidence and self-love to cut off all communication.

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Thanks so much Kath! I’m honored to help 🙂 You are loved, believed in & supported. Sending you a BIG hug. xoxo

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Natasha this post could not have come at a better time, whenever I’m feeling low I always come here, I’m typing this with tears rolling down my face. You have a way of putting my thoughts into words and I want to thank you for giving me the motivation to pick myself up and carry on even through all the relationsh*ts that are breaking me down. Life can be so cruel at times but we are not alone and we need to help and be there for each other, thank you

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Chloe, your message made ME cry!! Thank you so much! I’m honored to help 🙂 Thank you for being a part of this tribe. You are loved, supported empathized with, understood and never, EVER alone. All my love to you sister. xxx

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Thank you for this post! Your blog is amazing and has been so helpful for me to move on from what this “almost relationship” was. Every time I feel frustrated, sad, depressed, or angry about the situation I come here and truly feel so much better. It has given me strength, hope, and faith. So thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

XO

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Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart Tiffany. I’m so happy that the post helped 🙂 I believe in you and you’re not alone. BIG love to you soul sister. XOXO

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I walked away from an almost relationship and know my heart won’t stop hurting. I am struggling with if I did the right thing or not and I really miss him. I know I wasn’t his priority even though he was good at staying in contact and in general treated me Nicely. But he didn’t want to be tied down and he didn’t make sure that we spent time together when he was busy busy busy. How do I stop wanting to contact him. I know walking away was the right thing, but I am really suffering. Please help.

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Hi Tallgirl!

I wish that I could provide insight, but I have too much to say to type it all out not enough hands to type or hours in the day. I would also need more details. This is why I cannot give specific advice/answers in the comments.

Thanks for your love, for reading and for your understanding. Keep coming back here to the blog.

I do offer one-on-one coaching if you’re interested and would be happy to help further 🙂 The link to it is on the homepage!

All my love to you.

You’re not alone xo

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Hello,

I have posted before and I had a heartbreaking situation happen yesterday. I made contact with my EU ex who has been in and out of my life for the past 5 years after three months of not seeing each other. His friend has asked me for a letter of recommendation and it opened the wound again. So my ex actually responded to my text saying that he couldn’t talk to me anymore because he’s seeing someone. I know that you’ve written about this before but he’s basically saying she’s the one. He’s never felt like this before and that he doesn’t see any reason this wouldn’t work out. Could it really be that I wasn’t the one and she is… or is she just the latest victim.

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Hi Jackie!

I wish that I could advise and answer, but I have too much to say to type it all out not enough hands to type or hours in the day. I would also need more details. This is why I cannot give specific advice/answers in the comments.

Thanks for your love, for reading and for your understanding. Keep coming back here to the blog.

I do offer one-on-one coaching if you’re interested and would be happy to help further 🙂 The link to it is on the homepage!

All my love to you soul sister.

You’re not alone xx

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Natasha, this was exactly what I needed. Your posts always seem to give me strength and are always something I can relate to, but none have ever hit home as hard as this one. Currently have been in almost relationship for a while now, and I never understood why this has been harder than any full blown relationship I’d ever been in. I started crying reading your words and realizing I’m too good for this and worth so much more. Would never wish an almost on anyone, but it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. All my love to you x

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I’m truly so honored to help 🙂 thanks Justine! xx

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Dear Natasha,

I’ve been in a state of emotional messiness during the past 2 years, always being in the state of almost relationship, almost almost almost everything. Have been content with so little from his end, have not been happy and, even if I’ve always been aware it would not end well, not with a real relationship, I went on and on because of… “what if?!” and “let’s go slow”, “let’s not rush into things”, “maybe this time”, “maybe he’ll get to know me better”, “maybe I’m not patient enough, maybe I’m too hasty” etc. I’ve been afraid of abandonment, of being alone but have never realized that I was already alone ( or, to be specific, not with him, in a real thing).
I discovered your site several months ago and reading your posts was somehow liberating, because I understood I wasn’t the only one and wasn’t alone, for sure. There’s a lot of material out there, on the Internet but never have I read something which seems so precise and logical and clear. It’s not easy to digest it, it’s extremely difficult to read something that you already know on some level but that you blatantly ignore and continue living in the dark. I’ve got a lot to learn about myself, I feel like being at the beginning of a road, of knowing myself better, of having better set priorities ( me, most important of all), of knowing my worth and what I want. Your work is a true gift to me and it helps me a lot on my road. I thank you for that!
It’s difficult at the moment. Probably it will be like this for a certain amount of time but I cannot wait to feel like myself again, this time a better self.

Thank you,

Irina

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Hi Irina! I’m truly honored to have helped <3 Thank you so much for you connection, love, sisterhood and support. You're incredible 🙂

You are loved, believed in, backed, empathized with, understood and never, EVER alone. Sending you lots of love. You've got this! XOXO

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Thank you for summing up all the parts of an almost relationship for me! I broke it off with my almost man after a year of craziness. I must have tried to leave the ” relationship” dozens of times but he always made his way back. The difference now is that I don’t feel vulnerable anymore to his manipulative behavior. Instead I see a man who is completely self focused and who does not even remotely know what love is. Thank you for your post.
Cheers,
Bee

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Hi Bee! I’m happy that the post served you and truly honored to help 🙂 Thank you for being a part of this tribe! XOXO

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I have been in an almost relationship for fifteen years because it suited us both.But I ended it a few months ago as he was messaging other women when he had no need to as I always told him to be honest if he wanted to move on. We had never argued or fell out.It has been the worst few months of my life. He is with someone else and is doing things with her we never did and it makes me sick to my stomach.I can’t stop thinking about him and looking at pictures of them both. I am so sad.

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Hi Christine! You are loved, understood, backed, believed in and never, EVER alone. Keep coming back here to the blog and just know that the pain is here to pass, not to stay. I know it’s hard and wish that I had the time to elaborate more. Sending you love. XO

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I believe what you say. But how can he move on so easily after so long. And leave me feeling like shit? Xx

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Wish I had the time to reply in depth. I have too much to say to type it all out. Thank you for understanding <3 Read my post on rebound relationships! XOXO

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Yes. THIS. All of THIS. I’ve been in two almost relationships and one genuine relationship. The almost relationships were the hardest to walk away from! The genuine one was tough, but due to abuse, there was closure, exactly as you said! I just walked away from an almost relationship and stumbled on this. It’s been okay this week, but today was the hardest as I miss talking with him so much. Thank you for this post! It’s on my home page now as a reminder as I move on with life!

Also, it should be said, in line with your post, a man should not get the benefits of having a woman as a girlfriend without the commitment. That’s all there is to it!

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Happy it helped! 🙂 Thanks C! xoxo

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