You need to set rules for your almost relationship so you can avoid falling in love.
By The Mind’s Journal — Last updated on Aug 18, 2023
Photo: Jacob Lund via Canva
By Shreyasi Debnath
An almost relationship will always feel like you are halfway there.
Such a relationship is like juggling with your emotions — you feel like you are neither totally in nor completely out.
At some point in time, you might even catch feelings, yet you know you are not supposed to.
How half-hearted is that, do you think?
An almost relationship is a tightrope walk.
Striking the ideal balance between indifference and consideration is not as easy as it looks.
Nevertheless, almost relationships are fun.
There are no strings attached, no responsibilities to take, no broken expectations, and no commitment.
You both are rocking the party, chatting over the phone, having fun, traveling together, going on dinner dates, and all these topped with great intimacy.
You both are not stopping at anything. This sums up all the sunshine of a relationship sans the rain and thunder.
And the flip side? There is not one that I can think of.
But wait, what if you fall in love? What if you realize you are the only one who unknowingly got serious about the relationship?
What if confronting the other person makes him/her leave you?
If you are considering having fun and being carefree about your relationship, these 6 rules will help you not get attached.
Here are 6 things you need to do to avoid falling in love during an ‘almost’ relationship:
1. Set your relationship boundaries well
At the very beginning of the relationship, you must make it clear to each other about how you want everything to materialize.
Whether the issue is big or small, you must clearly communicate to your partner about what your limits are and what consequences await once the limits are crossed.
Relationship boundaries may seem unnecessary, especially when you are aiming at a short-lived, temporary connection.
To start with, let your partner know what’s in your mind, what your value system is, who you are like, what pushes your buttons, what makes you click, what you detest, and what your needs and desires are.
On the same page, consider understanding the needs of your partner and reach a middle ground.
Set rules and limits, keeping both of your satiation points in mind.
A fused sense of entity is not healthy for any kind of relationship.
A lack of healthy boundaries in your relationship takes away the sense of self-esteem, self-control, and independence.
2. Learn to say “no”
The thing that keeps us from saying “no” to questions we desperately want to answer “no” to is the fear of being disapproved.
Make sure you do not comply with your partner’s needs, which goes beyond your boundaries.
Saying “no” to things you believe is beyond your capacity to commit to, is a wise decision.
It is better than taking responsibility and failing to accomplish it.
Learning to say “no” means you are sticking to your boundaries in the relationship, rather than making it permeable to unnecessary changes.
3. Regulate your expectations
What exactly do you expect from this almost relationship?
If you are not aiming to commit to each other, you should not even behave like you are intimately committed to the relationship.
If you have decided upon your boundaries as well, you should strictly stick to them, such as if you are allowed to flirt with other people, go on dates with them, or kiss other people.
If you both have decided to be okay with it, then you should not be jealous of it when this happens on the other side.
State clearly in a conversation about what you expect from the relationship.
One cannot swing between being serious and fun from moment to moment.
This will only distract your intention.
4. Tell yourself the bitter truth
The truth is that this relationship is all about fun and not about being committed and dedicated to each other.
Learn to swallow the hard pill.
The more you deny the truth, wanting to avoid it as far as possible, you are denying your own mental clarity.
Are you settling for being in this arrangement of an almost relationship to satisfy the needs of your partner?
Or do you genuinely want this almost relationship?
Are you secretly in love with the other person, but pretending to not care?
Telling yourself a lie will only break you apart later in the relationship.
Ask yourself what your needs are. Are you settling for something lesser than you wish for or deserve?
5. Keep your self-respect intact
Just because you are in an almost relationship, doesn’t mean you sacrifice your self-respect, your independence, or your needs.
If you feel anything else other than what you deserve to feel, always feel free to walk away.
There is no need to compromise your feelings, sabotage your self-esteem, or tolerate unhealthy treatment from the other person, merely on the pretext of the relationship.
Do not allow a temporary person to make permanent damage to your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Settle for the one that deserves you, respects you, values you, and is aiming for a long-term relationship with you.
What will you be left with, if the other person leaves you on the basis of nothing at all?
Self-respect is the answer.
6. Do not engage in typical “relationship activities”
If you have planned it to be temporary and non-committal, do not engage in activities that typically committed people to do.
Trust me, it’s worse than playing with fire.
One day, these fun fantasies of making a family with the other person will be your worst nightmare.
Avoid daydreaming about a future with your partner, fantasizing about having children with them, living with them, giving them expensive gifts, and emotionally investing in them.
Know what your values are and make decisions accordingly.
One simple thing to remember when not trying to get into a messy situation with your partner in a casual relationship is that if you are planning to get attached, never, ever get into a casual relationship.
There are lots of people out there looking for authentic, emotional intimacy with someone.
If you believe that a casual relationship is not your cup of tea, never engage in one just for its advantages.
In such a case, the degree to which an almost relationship can psychologically damage you is beyond comprehension.
If you are not prepared for the loss, it’s wise to never involve in one.
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Shreyasi Debnath is a psychologist and writer who focuses on mental health, self-care, and self-love.
This article was originally published at The Mind’s Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.