Almost Relationship: What It Is, Why It Sucks & Signs You’re In One

An almost relationship feels like an unfinished story, which is why it feels as bad as it sounds. If you want to stop wasting your time, keep reading on.

Almost Relationship

Sometimes, relationships can’t be justified as black and white; in the case of an almost relationship, the lines are entirely grey and blurred. There’s no certainty regarding what you’re getting into, and the rules keep changing as you go.

The only clear thing is that you are engaging in a semi-relationship with someone who may or may not be your partner in the future.

The thing about an almost relationship is that it’s an unfinished story. You have no assurance which direction it will go – if they’re going to take you seriously or if it’s just a casual thing.

There’s no accountability. There’s no promise of an actual relationship. There isn’t even a word to describe it, hence, the put-together term, “almost relationship.”

The problem now is this: Is it even worth getting into? Is there a chance for a commitment on the horizon?

It’s possible, but there’s also a chance that you’re wasting time on something that will never turn into something more. After all, there’s a reason why almost relationships hurt this badly, and we’re not the slightest bit exaggerating. 

[Read: Sleeping together but not dating – A really good idea or a stupid one?]

What is an almost relationship?

An almost relationship occurs when you meet someone who you start to feel strongly about. You end up dating, but only that. You never follow through with an actual relationship, and you have no idea whether that offer will ever be on the table.

Sure, you can be proactive about it and ask where things are going, but everyone knows that it is the kiss of death if asked at the wrong time. If your almost-lover believes a definition of your relationship is the kiss of death, they’re more likely to feel pessimistic about committing.

That’s the time when you find yourself in an almost relationship: when either you or your partner find yourself unwilling to commit. An almost relationship is precisely what it looks and sounds like.

They’re not yours, and you’re not theirs.

As brutal as that sounds, it’s the truth. The lack of commitment is what makes it an almost relationship. [Read: What does a casual relationship mean to a guy and your future?]

Is it really a waste of time?

That depends on whether you and your partner agree about where things are going. Almost relationships are not decidedly the endpoint of any love affair. They can also be the beginning of one. There are many reasons why people end up in almost relationships.

It could be that neither of you is willing to push through with a commitment without a sign from the other. It could also just be how you approach your relationships. Almost relationships are sort of like the first date, only longer. You and your partner are still feeling each other out and getting to know each other.

Depending on your reason for embarking on this flirtation, the lifetime of your almost relationship can either be long or short. If someone was just looking to hook up, they would be perfectly happy with an ongoing almost relationship, if it gets them what they want. [Read: Exclusively dating or just a casual fling? 14 signs to know your exact status]

If, however, you’re looking for a serious relationship, the almost relationship is the talking stage before you start really dating each other. Still, you can never know what it’s really leading up to unless you ask.

[Read: The talking stage – What it is and how to progress to the next one]

How do people end up in almost relationships?

The thing is, almost relationships don’t have any form of commitment involved. People end up in relationships for several reasons, some that are beyond our comprehension. Maybe they really liked the person and there’s a real connection, but they’re trying to see where things are going.

Maybe both people weren’t ready to commit, but one person fell for the other. Or maybe you both wanted to be in a serious relationship, but things never got to that point because life happened.

If you’ve never experienced this kind of relationship before, it truly crushes your heart knowing you were on the verge of being committed to this person, but it never got there. They’re basically the ones who got away, and you might never know the answers to why your almost relationship never worked out.

So if you’re currently in one, it’s incredibly vital to see if you’re just wasting your time or not. After all, time is something you can never get back. [Read: Talking vs dating – How to know your exact status and tell them apart]

The biggest signs your almost relationship is not worth the time

So you’re in an almost relationship, and you want to know whether you’re wasting your time or not. Here are the concrete signs you should stop hoping for the best, and accept the brutal fact that the relationship is stagnant and may not move ahead unless you do something about it.

1. The crystal ball doesn’t agree with you

You need to look inside yourself and really ask whether or not you see a future with this person. Do not look at the fantasy you’ve built in your head. Study the reality and see whether or not your partner is someone that will stay with you for the long term. Don’t let yourself be blinded by the fantasy you want desperately to become a reality.

Really observe if there are any red flags with your chemistry or compatibility, and don’t get fooled by how much you adore them. The things that you do together should be in preparation for a more serious connection.

If you keep doing the same things and never talk about what’s next or make any future plans, you’re better off being single because that’s exactly what you are now—but with unnecessary baggage in the form of your almost-relationship. [Read: 23 types of relationships that can help you define your love life]

2. You’ve stopped growing

When your almost relationship is ready to flourish into a full-blown happily ever after, you should have noticed that everything you’re doing together with your partner is getting more and more serious. You should be discussing or showing your growing feelings for each other.

If you’re still doing the same things and not connecting on a deeper level, then that means that your almost relationship has reached its peak and is probably destined to deteriorate.

The minute you realize your connection has got stagnant, hasn’t moved forward in a long time, and there isn’t a next phase, it might be time to give up. Your relationship isn’t going anywhere, and it’s time to accept the facts. [Read: What is a normal relationship supposed to be like? The real truth]

3. Your life is an unanswered question

Your partner has no idea who you really are, and you don’t know much about them, either. If you were on your way to a legitimate relationship, you should have been learning more about your partner and not begging for scraps of information.

If you’re not willing to share your lives with each other at this point, you should start thinking about moving on. Relationships should be about growing together and moving forward, so if nothing is happening and you barely know one another, what else is the point?

If there’s an evident wall you can’t break, it’s time to accept your relationship is not worth holding on to. [Read: How to overcome self-doubt – Get on the path of self-enlightenment]

4. Your relationship is the equivalent of Newton’s Cradle in Motion

Alright, time to get a little science-y! You’re not going any further, yet you’re not taking any steps back. You are just a couple of individuals stuck in the perpetual motion of keeping things the way they are because it is convenient. No commitments, no stresses, no obligations, right? But there’s also no trust, no loyalty, no love, no future.

Which do you choose? If there’s a central theme in any almost relationship, it’s being stagnant and remaining where you are for an extended period. It’s like you’re taking one step forward and three steps back *Olivia Rodrigo reference intended*. 

5. Your almost partner thinks you’re a cactus

They give you a little love now and then before sending you on your way. When they think you might be thirsty for more, they’ll provide a few more drops of love and affection just to keep the relationship alive. But the thing is, staying in a relationship like that is just going to kill your chances of ever finding true love slowly.

You deserve a relationship that showers you with consistency and affection – not just when it matters for them, but every day. So if your partner just gives you a bit of affection and time whenever they feel like it, and they’re not changing any time soon, time to let go. [Read: 20 signs you’re wasting time in a one-sided relationship]

6. Cat got your tongue

You can’t bring yourself to speak up about it. No matter how much you want to broach the subject, something always comes up.

Whether it’s your own doubts about the situation or your partner’s penchant for disappearing when the subject comes up, the signs are apparent.

There’s nothing else to talk about. If this is how you’ve been feeling a lot lately, so much that you want to explode because of how much you want to speak about it, there’s your sign. Stop letting them get away with deflecting the subject and just talk about it, once and for all. [Read: What are we? The right steps to get your crush to label your relationship]

7. Greener pastures look extra green

When you start to think that a relationship with another person feels better than what you have, you might be on the wrong side of the fence. If an almost relationship is not ideal for you to start something with your partner, you’re likely looking for something else.

If you think that being with someone else would make you feel better, rather than wait for things to progress, it’s probably time for you to move on from this almost relationship. Stop looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and for the grass to be greener, and just accept the facts.

You know that there’s someone out there who all give you the relationship you seek. And you know what? You’re absolutely right. But you’ll never find it if you keep holding on to your almost partner. [Read: 16 clear signs it’s time to move on and end the relationship]

8. No more butterflies

An almost relationship can fill your stomach with butterflies and rollercoasters at the beginning because it starts off just like any other relationship. But if it’s been a while since you felt those things, it’s possible that your almost relationship isn’t making you feel the way it’s supposed to: excited and giddy at the prospect of finally being together. Who knows which of you is doing something wrong?

If the initial stages of attraction are gone and the relationship isn’t progressing, it may be time to close the book. Almost relationships are only fun at first, but it can get quite boring if things aren’t progressing. So this is where you decide if it’s a relationship worth holding on to. [Read: 12 undeniable signs you’ll break up in a few months]

9. Uncertainty is your mental theme

If you’re in an almost relationship, uncertainty is quite probably your central theme. You never know what the future holds with the person you’re with, even if you’re not sure what the hell you’re really doing.

You’re not together, but you’re also not-not together. You’re uncertain about everything, and that includes any and all short-term and long-term plans with them. That’s just all part of the package with an almost relationship. [Read: The dangers of relationship uncertainty and how to move on]

10. You both avoid DTR talk *more for them than you, though*

The last thing you want is a Define The Relationship talk because you really don’t know where you stand in their life. You have no label, and there’s no exclusivity. However, this avoidance is more evident for them.

Every time you attempt to talk to them about your label and what your relationship means, they clearly deflect, or they try to avoid it altogether. And that’s when you know it’s not worth it. [Read: Talking to someone about your relationship – DTR made easy]

11. You get frustrated explaining your relationship to others

If you’re in an almost relationship, the tendency is you get extremely frustrated trying to explain your relationship to others. Your friends constantly ask you what you are – if you’re together or not. And the more you try to explain yourself, the more stressed out you become.

This is what being in an almost relationship feels like. You can never boast to your friends that you’re in a relationship because, well, you’re not. So the fact you get frustrated when someone asks your label indicates that this relationship or person is not worth your energy or time.

12. You feel guilty if you’re catching feelings

The moment you realize you’re catching feelings for them, it’s game over. You should never fall for someone you’re in an almost relationship with. The thing is, you’re not really together.

The fact you feel even the slightest bit guilty for having feelings for them means it’s not worth anything. You shouldn’t even be guilty of falling for this person! So stop wishing they’d change their mind and find someone who deserves you better. [Read: Afraid of catching feelings? How to face your fears and overcome it]

13. It’s evidently one-sided

The fact that it’s one-sided speaks volumes if you’re wondering if your almost relationship is worth it or not. Any relationship isn’t worth it if you feel like you’re the only one putting in the effort or investing in it.

Even if this almost relationship means a lot to you, realize that you’re never going to be in the relationship you deserve as long as you keep holding on to the wrong one. It’s just not worth it.

[Read: 12 hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

So, should you hold on to your almost relationship?

If you know that you can have a better relationship with someone else, someone who can provide you with affection and commitment, perhaps it’s time to let them go. After all, a stagnant relationship isn’t a relationship you deserve to have, because a real relationship should be filled with growth and great potential.

If true love or a healthy relationship is what you’re looking for, then save your energy and affection for someone who’s willing to commit to you, not for the time being but for the foreseeable future as well.

[Read: What does exclusive mean? 20 signs to know for sure if you and your partner are ready]

Almost relationships can be stepping stones, but perpetually being in one is not an ideal situation for your heart and mind. Always remember this, you shouldn’t be settling for a relationship that clearly makes you unhappy. 

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

LovePanky icon
Team LovePanky
The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...