Lauren Martin on why we stay together even if it’s not meant to be.
Hearing that someone doesn’t love you anymore is hard — not hearing anything is even harder. Taking someone out for coffee to tell him you no longer want to see him is painful — not responding to his texts is tacky.
Breaking up is difficult — and not really ever breaking up is f*cking us up.
Think about your last relationship. Maybe it was just a hookup or maybe it was something a little more serious. Think about how that “relationship” transpired, progressed and ended.
Think about if that relationship was ever really a relationship. Becauseis a relationship even real if no one says goodbye? Did the relationship ever begin if it never really ended?
There’s no denying that we live in the age of the unformed relationship. There’s no denying that we’re dating in a shallow, text-based world. There’s no denying that our relationships aren’t relationships at all.
We’re dating over platforms before meeting in person and connecting over messaging machines rather than face to face. We’re entering half-assed relationships and ending them with even less attention. Most of our relationships are over before we can say we know what that person looked like.
We’re just not responding, not answering and not giving a f*ck. We’re throwing our hearts at the first person who direct messages us then taking them back at the first sign of something better.
The problem with today’s dating culture is that there isn’t one. There’s a hook-up culture, and within that hook-up culture, there’s shallow, biased and surface feelings that we’re trying to use to get away from the real ones.
We’re guarding ourselves so that we never really have to face that inevitable heartbreak that almost always comes with every relationship. We’re refusing to enter real relationships, and we’re also refusing to officially end any of them.
By constantly keeping people on back burners, refusing to end things with real closure and never starting or stopping on any real terms is more damaging than experiencing the heart-wrenching pain of a real, honest breakup.
Because at least with the pain of a terrible and sad ending, there’s the hope of a fresh start.
Without this ending, without ever getting that closure we need, we’re refusing to let ourselves ever enter into something without carrying along our past five “failed” still open, never-ended “relationships.”
Because we were never really dating to begin with.
Because the relationship was never real.
Because you never confirmed what was in your head and what wasn’t.
Because we’ve confused lust and love.
Because we’re too scared.
Because we’re perpetually connected.
Because there’s nothing worse than getting your heart broken.
Because you can’t burn a Facebook photo.
Because they’re everywhere.
Because they’re on Gchat.
Because they’re on Instagram.
Because they’re on LinkedIn.
Because we hate change.
Because your next chance encounter is only a swipe away.
Because not responding to a text isn’t a breakup.
Because no one knows how to say goodbye.
Because we’re too chicken sh*t to be honest.
Because we’d rather just be casual than vulnerable.
Because casual is often only casual for one party.
Because herpes is forever.
Because we don’t follow any of the rules.
Because dinner is always just drinks.
Because we’d rather just not respond.
Because we’re living through screens before encounters.
Because we like to have options.
Because we don’t like endings.
Because we feel safer never cutting ties.
Because we get drunk and forget why we cared.
Because we don’t care enough.
Because we care too much.
Because we’re spoiled.
Because we’re insensitive.
Because the only person who matters isn’t that person.
Because it’s awkward.
Because it’s a hassle.
Because we’d rather just disappear.
Because we don’t know what we want.
Because we don’t know how to be real.
Because we have too much to lose.
Because we think it hurts less to just stop answering.
Because we don’t know what it means to be honest.
Because we’re scared we’ll want it again someday.
Because we want someone thinking about us.
Because we think it doesn’t matter.
Because we are ashamed it went so far.
Because we like knowing someone loves us.
Because we don’t like knowing someone loves us.
About the author
Lauren Martin is a Senior Lifestyle Writer at Elite Daily. After graduating from PSU, she moved to NYC to write fart jokes at Smosh Magazine. Making her way to ED, she now writes riveting commentary on nude pics, condoms and first dates.