How To Let Your ‘Almost’ Relationship Go (When You’re The One Holding On)

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woman learning how to get over someone she never dated
Heartbreak

How do you get over someone you never dated officially? Things seemed like they were going well, and you tried hard to make the relationship work.

Your guy seemed so into you, too. He came on strong and romantic. He seemed enamored with you, as though he couldn’t get enough. At least, in the beginning.

You thought, "This is it." Now, you’re holding on. To what and for what reason?

RELATED: 8 Ways To Get Over The 'Almost Relationship' That Broke Your Heart

You've gotten yourself trapped in an "almost relationship," and now you don't know how to let go of your love, or if you should keep trying.

When you’re holding on to a man that can’t commit, what is it in you that can’t let go?

Here is how to let go of your "almost relationship" when you feel like it's impossible to let go.

1. Stop thinking you you just have to "make" him love you.

It’s as if your life depended on it. You’ll do anything to make him love you. You bend over backward. You give and give and give. You even try to show him the errors of his ways.

He brings you to tears, reduces you to begging, and hurts you all the time. He’s there and then he’s not. He teases you with promises, breaks them, and tortures your heart.

Over and over, you try to convince him that the two of you are the perfect match. You keep showing him how much you care. You talk to him about what it is in him that is getting in the way.

The real question is — what’s getting in your way? Why is it so important to get a man to love you, when you could find someone who'll give you love freely?

2. Embrace being alone, even when feels like it's too much to handle.

Every time he breaks a promise and leaves you hanging, you just can’t stand it. A desperate feeling takes over. Either you text or call. Or, you try to sit with it — until he shows up again.

Then, it’s OK for a while. You think, "Maybe this time he’ll stay and make more of a commitment." You’re patient, you give him space, and don’t ask for much. Let him have control.

After all, you love him. And you can’t stand the thought of breaking up.

You’ll give him what he needs, but then he disappears. And it happens again and again. It makes no sense; you were so close, you laughed and talked. Being together was more passionate than ever.

Ask yourself if this feeling is really worse than being alone. Confront your fear for a better future.

3. Stop believing you'll never love this much again.

It seems like you’ll never love anyone this much again. You really believe it. Your feelings have never been this strong. How can he not love you as much as he said he did?

You go over and over the whole relationship in your mind. He’s still here, in and out. It’s such a tease. He gets your hopes up, then you crash. How do you make sense of it?

You think, "Only he can make you feel this way," and it's hard to imagine you’ll ever feel it again.

That’s where the voice inside blames you. When you believe that, it’s heartbreaking. It makes you desperately try to prove you are good enough to get the love you need.

You are more than enough. Know that you will find love again, even after a broken heart.

4. Let go of the idea that there's something "wrong with you."

You’ve been fighting this feeling for a very long time. Now, you have to get him to keep his promises — to stay with you and show his love.

Sometimes he does; that’s the trap. When he does, you feel OK, even good about yourself. Then you think just maybe, this time, he'll decide to stay forever.

You’re so connected, but then he “needs his space.” He’s busy. Work needs his attention, just give him time, etc.

But what about you? You’ve given him lots of time.

If a man won't commit to you, it doesn't mean you're unlovable. It means you need to look for someone who wants to give you their time, love, and affection.

RELATED: Why You Should Be Thankful Your Almost-Relationship Didn't Work Out

5. Face the understanding that you didn't get the love you needed.

What you’re struggling with is not about him. You’re repeating something from childhood. To a child, mom or dad is everything; they cannot be replaced.

Consider this: Who couldn’t give you enough love? Who was “there,” and then not?

Who did you have to work very hard to get love from? Maybe you had a parent who couldn’t give, or suffered an early loss. Were you the child of divorce? Regardless, you felt abandoned.

You did everything you could to be good and make yourself lovable. Yet deep down, you never believed you really were. Those experiences live inside you, long after childhood.

You had to make do with "not enough" love in the past, and now you find yourself trying to be OK with the same. Don’t.

6. Allow yourself to want more than the love "crumbs" you get.

You deserve more than crumbs. You don’t have to go hungry. Someone who can’t give to you doesn’t make you unlovable, so try to remember that. He’s not worthy of your love.

You needed your parents' love as if your life depended on it. Not getting enough of what you needed from them affected you greatly (especially your own sense of worth).

In fact, it made you feel that you aren’t enough. Having to constantly prove that you deserve more. You do. But it’s important to see and accept that he can’t give it to you.

You couldn’t control it as a child, but you can as an adult. Repeat to yourself: “I deserve much more. He doesn’t deserve the love I give.”

7. Accept your sorrow but say goodbye anyway.

It’s hard right now when you're thinking of letting your almost relationship go. You truly feel he’s the only one you’ll ever love.

Let yourself cry. You’ve invested a lot. This is a very big loss, even if you never "officially" dated and only saw each other on occassion over several months.

Don’t let yourself stay stuck in a relationship that isn’t giving you what you need, where you’re all in and he’s always one foot out.

Don’t continue putting up with a relationship that you have to fight to be loved in.

It’s not worth being treated this way. You’re letting yourself be hurt and you’re worth more. Tell yourself: You deserve someone who loves you back at least as much as you love him.

This may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but say goodbye. That will give you a sense of power.

Feel everything you feel. Talk to your friends. Write in a journal. Pour all your feelings out. He may not be able to care about your feelings, but you can care about your own.

If it’s too hard, if you find yourself going back for more, you don’t have to do this alone.

8. Seek professional help if you just can't do it alone.

When you’re repeating something from the past and feel like the loneliness and loss is too much to handle, give therapy a try before you run back for more of the same.

It really might be too much to go through the breakup by yourself, to have the courage to say goodbye and mean it. You may feel anxious or panicked when you think about being alone.

Loneliness can stir up old feelings; all the times you longed for love and didn’t have it. This can make you do anything to not to feel like this. But remember: You deserve more.

Therapy can offer you an ear to listen, someone to be there for you who understands the depth of your sorrow and loss. Someone to help you work out what you’re repeating.

You can end this relationship and get through your sadness with strength and resolve not to choose this kind of person again. You’ll be able to find the love you really need, and you will!

RELATED: How To End Your 'Almost Relationship' Without Ghosting

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Dr. Sandra Cohen is a Los Angeles-based psychologist and psychoanalyst who specializes in treating persistent depressive states and childhood trauma. Contact her if you have any questions about finding the right therapist for you.