Deconstructing Love #3: How To Heal From A Casual Relationship That Ended Without Closure

We’re back again with the weekly Deconstructing Love column where Aaron Zhu, our guest writer, and I will be deconstructing quotes or answering questions on love and relationships — Please feel free to send in your own quotes and questions by emailing me at

Today we will answer a reader’s question about her current romantic turmoil:

“I’ve been going through a rough patch lately. I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 6 years. A few weeks before the breakup, I was involved with a guy that had a girlfriend. Now I’m involved with another guy who is 2 years younger than me. We slowly got to know each other after we were introduced at a gym by a mutual friend. We texted basically every day. Then he went back to China for a month and within that month our relationship grew deeper. He had mentioned in the beginning that he had a beautiful girlfriend but they didn’t have sex at all because she didn’t like it or something.

When he came back from China, we went out ALONE for the first time and let’s just say things got real HOT. One thing led to another and we started hooking up occasionally as the weeks went on. At this time I was also seeing and going out with other guys while he was still with his girlfriend. I tried my best not to grow attached to him and so did he but we started getting jealous of one another. It got ugly to the point where we stopped following each other on social media. I have no sense of closure to why this happened.  

The first time I saw him again after all that was a few days ago and we basically ignored each other at the gym. Deep in my heart, I’m really sad. Because I do really miss him but also know that we weren’t ever going to work out anyway. I know I probably just liked his attention a lot plus he was really attractive and good in bed.

WHAT DO I DO NOW THOUGH? I mean all I can do is move on right? I know I put myself in this situation and the only person to blame for is myself. I hate this feeling though. Of not being wanted, of being chucked aside.”



Towards the end of a committed relationship, our self-esteem reaches a low point. We don’t know why the connection with our partner is not working like it used to despite all the signals we send. However, even when we know deep in our hearts that it isn’t working out, we still stay. This may be a result of confusion, attachment, or even a hope that things will change. Finally, the relationship reaches the breaking point, and it must end.

I’m going to make the assumption that you’ve checked out of your relationship well before the breakup occurred because you became involved with another person. It seems that you have a pattern of attracting men who are taken. This may be a result of how you were treated by your ex, you want the feeling of being wanted and chosen over another person.

Truthfully, we all search for that feeling; we want to feel special. Especially after a breakup when our self-esteem is damaged, we cling to others who give us their undivided attention even if it’s not real. Therefore, we pursue relationships that are inappropriate and actually detrimental to our well being in the long run.

It is very common to yearn for a relationship right after we break up with our long-term partners. You looked to others to take the position of our ex, so you can pick up from where you left off because mentally, you’re not ready to be single. I believe that you want this other guy to be the next real relationship. But the truth is, it isn’t real. This type of attraction was produced by the loneliness and loss from your breakup.

Deep in your heart, you’re not sad about this other guy. Deep in your heart, you know that he’s not right for you and the possibility of a real relationship isn’t there. I believe that you miss him. At the end of the day, we’re human and we form bonds with one another when we connect mentally or physically. You’re being very honest about how you feel which tells me that you’re a decent person but you are being overwhelmed by feelings of loss and loneliness. So let me just tell it to you like it is. Deep down, you’re sad about losing your ex, it’s the root cause.

You’re on the right track by thinking that your next and only step is to move on. However, moving on is not a very specific goal and the phrase in itself can sometimes be self-sabotaging because it doesn’t take into account the significance of everything that has happened. Don’t make it your goal to move on. Make it your goal to take time for yourself and learn to be happy alone. Make it your goal to not require the attention or approval of another man. Focus on yourself and what makes you truly happy. Those are the little goals that will eventually lead to letting go and truly moving on.  

It sucks to not feel wanted, but when we focus on ourselves, we learn that the only person that we need approval from is ourselves. People will feel however they feel, and that is not within your control. What is within your control is how you feel about yourself. I know it may feel like this pain and feeling of loss will never fade. But, I promise that if you take time and truly put an effort into working on yourself, life will pay its dividends. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.    



I’m just going to add that your attraction to men who are already taken might be a sign of your being emotionally unavailable yourself. You chose the unavailable guy for a reason, remember. It makes sense though as you were in a long relationship and are now grieving over the loss of that relationship. I don’t think I have to tell you much anymore as I believe when you wrote this question to me, reading through your own words, you’ve already found your answers.

You seem self-aware and you said it yourself. You know you put yourself in this situation and you can only move on. I’m not encouraging you to blame yourself but it’s a good thing you understand your part in all this. Yes. You’re responsible for your happiness, for getting you out of this feeling you hate.

That being said, don’t rush getting out of it. Let yourself be. It’s okay to be feeling that way. No one wants to feel unwanted or like they’re being chucked aside. You’re a worthy human being. You deserve the whole damn pie, not just a slide.

On the bright side, like you said, you don’t know why he did what he did. You don’t know what he really thinks about you either. His actions reflected his characters more than they reflected you. Plus you’re also seeing other people. So, all in all, it’s not really like he’s chucking you aside. No one can chuck you aside without you allowing them to. Don’t trap yourself into this negative narrative.

I’m sorry we don’t have any magic spell to give you all the guys you want. But hey, they’re not right for you anyway. You think you want them now but really you don’t need them. Girl, think positively. You’re the only one who can help you here. You have all the power. Don’t give it up.

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