These days, relationships are no longer seen as a yes or no thing. There are tons of gray areas between not being a couple and being an actual, official couple. The funny thing is that the gray area seems to be getting bigger and bigger, as more types of almost-relationships pop up.
You may wonder why people don’t just man up and make things official. But with the advent of technology giving singles so many options, there will always be that nagging feeling that you’ll miss out if you completely commit to just one person. Hence, the hookup culture and its many colorful shades of almost-relationships are born.
For those of you who have never experienced an almost-relationship, here’s an eye opener for you.
The almost-relationships you find in today’s hookup culture
Almost-relationships aren’t any less “real” than your run-of-the-mill-headed-for-marriage relationships. But what defines these almost-relationships is their inability to really reach the point where both people are in it for the long term. Here are the most common almost-relationships that you may be well-acquainted with.
#1 The cyber flirtation. You see that little red notification on your Facebook page, signifying that you have a new message. There’s no doubt as to who that message is from. The cyber flirtation is the almost-relationship that can’t seem to drop that “almost,” because everything that happens between the two of you happens online. Your “relationship” is composed of “likes,” sweet little comments, and romantic messages. You might even play online games where your characters are faking out or married.
What kills it: When neither of you have an internet connection, you’re not too keen on the idea of taking things offline a.k.a. going out on a real date.
#2 The un-date. This is the almost-relationship you have with someone you go on un-dates with. What’s an un-date? It’s not quite a date, but it’s a notch above hanging out. Everything’s casual in an un-date, and neither of you feel pressured to have that good night kiss at the end of the date. For all intents and purposes, you’re just hanging out and flirting while you’re having brunch or hanging out in a bookstore or taking a walk in the park.
What kills it: Odds are one of you will start to want to go out on a real date. If you both think it’s a good idea, then you’re a step closer to a relationship. If one of you doesn’t think it’s a good idea, then the other one may feel that this relationship will inevitably end up heading nowhere. [Read: Everything you need to know about flirtationships]
#3 The pseudo-LDR. This is one of those almost-relationships that had a whole bunch of potential to become a real relationship. The problem is, one of you had to move away, so you never really got around to making things official. In an attempt to keep the chemistry alive despite the distance, you download all the LDR apps you can get your hands on… And then you delete every single one, once the passion fizzles out.
What kills it: The distance is usually the prime suspect here. But there are still some couples that make their relationship official when they’re already miles apart. [Read: 10 survival tips for long distance relationships]
#4 The one built on * tension. You know how sitcoms always bank on the s*xual tension between the hot leading guy and his equally hot femme fatale partner? That’s what it’s like when you’re in this almost-relationship. It’s all about the s*xual innuendos and the will-they-won’t-they moments that keep you on your toes. One more nudge, another shot of tequila or another flirty comment, and you’ll be all over each other. But without that extra shove in the right direction, you’re both just stuck with the tension.
What kills it: The tension that never gets anywhere may sometimes be too much, and one of you ends up just hooking up with someone else.
#5 The mutual crush. This is the tamer, more high-school-ish version of the s*xual tension almost-relationship. You both like each other. You both know it. Heck, the whole world probably knows it. But for some reason, neither of you are willing to make the first move, despite hanging out with the same people, and having all those people push you towards each other.
What kills it: The frustration of knowing that someone who likes you can’t seem to muster up the courage to formally ask you out will leave you feeling like you’re not worth their effort. And so you move on to someone who’s more responsive.
#6 The office romance. Because of how boring work can get, you start a flirtation with someone from the office. Take note, the person you’re having this almost-relationship with isn’t your usual type, and the only reason you’re going through with this is the fact that you need a little more motivation to show up for your 9 – 5 job.
What kills it: Either someone from HR gives both of you a memo, or the whole routine of trying not to get caught starts to get old. [Read: 9 tips for a hassle-free relationship with a coworker]
#7 The gremlin. You know that gremlins multiply when there’s water, right? This almost-relationship, much like a gremlin, only flourishes when there’s a certain liquid involved: alcohol. This almost-relationship is the one where you’re only into each other when you’re drunk.
What kills it: Anyone you associate with the next day’s raging hangover will eventually have to bite the dust.
#8 The all-physical relationship. It goes by many names: friends with benefits, f*ck buddies, casual *partner, and a host of other creative names. This almost-relationship can’t seem to transcend the physical realm and hop into the emotional realm. It’s all about *, nothing more.
What kills it: A lot can go wrong with these types of relationships. One of the most common killers is, obviously, the fact that the *is getting boring. [Read: 9 brilliant tips for having a casual relationship]
#9 The one that’s all in your head. The way he touched your hand wasn’t accidental, right? The winky face in her message means she’s into you, right? This almost-relationship is the one that only transpires within the crevices of your mind. Ask anyone else and they’d think you were delusional. And yet, you still hold on to the fact that the object of your desires is as into you as you are into them.
What kills it: You wake up and realize that they’re not into you. Or worse, you find out that he or she is with somebody else. Ouch.