ENTITY shares open letter to non-relationship

I still have your Lakers tee, the song you wrote for me, and the memories. But what I lack, is you.

After all, that’s the problem with being in a non-relationship. You have no right to claim them as your “person.” If you were to someday lose contact with one another, you wouldn’t call them your “ex.

Hah. From what?! Our “situationship”? No, these kinds of wishy-washy relationships don’t work that way. And that is why I’m writing to you, Jackson (I’ll call you that for the purpose of this letter).

Dear Jackson, it has been four years since we first met. Four years since you first friended me on Snapchat and followed me on Instagram but didn’t ask for my phone number (first red flag).

You’ve since been unfriended and re-friended on Snapchat more times than I can remember.

When we first met I was absolutely captivated by you. You were a bit nerdy, creative, cool and larger than life. You rocked this small town girl’s world.

I immediately told all of my friends about you. They hammered me with questions. Would I ever see you again? Could we be together after we graduated? When is our wedding? They were making plans for us before we even had each other’s phone numbers!

It was like they expected us to be together and were in dire need to label our relationship. But how could they assume that? After all this time, we’ve never been together.

ENTITY shares open letter to non-relationship

IMAGE BY J. KENDALL ALLEN

Jackson, I’ve been in this non-relationship with you for so long. We’ve gone for months without speaking and dated other people. We’ve also spent several months dating and meeting each other’s families. We have even been on trips together.

I remember the exact moment you told me you were writing a song for me. It felt incredible to know I was your muse, the Gwyneth Paltrow to your Chris Martin. I mean, that is the definition of love, right?

But we’ve never been in love.

I used to think the reason we’ve stayed in this relationship limbo was because of distance. You were here, I was there. But now I’m seeing that it’s more of a matter of inconvenient timing. Except you only want to be with me when it is convenient for you.

To you, our non-relationship operates on a seasonal calendar. When I brought up the fact that we’ve been doing this for several years you responded with “Yeah, I guess it’s just a summer thing.” But how does that make sense when it’s also been a New Year’s, Thanksgiving and a whenever-the-hell-we-want thing?

Unfortunately, the anxiety I have from our non-relationship operates year round. The insecurity I feel about us quietly lingers inside of me. It manifests itself as a little voice in my head that frequently asks “What if?” and “Why didn’t you?”

When we are in contact, I am constantly questioning myself. I’ve started so many conversations with you in my head that I’ve never had the nerve to initiate out loud. What happened? What wrong turn did we make that landed us in relationship purgatory? Did you always want us to be this way?

To this day when you text me, I don’t know how to respond. You shoot me a simple”‘What are you doing tonight?” and I will spend hours trying to come up with a clever answer to mask my lack of a social life and eagerness to see you.

Because I never know where you stand.

Hell, I never know where I stand. I am always unsure of myself around you. Why do I let your actions affect me like this? Why do you let me down so easily?

I used to sit in my bedroom and replay our interactions in my head, wondering if you were doing the same. But you weren’t because you’ve always made sure to keep us ‘casual.’

We’ve never broken through the superficial surface of our conversations, and while they evoke so much laughter, they are just small talk; meaningless stories that I would tell anyone.  

Yet I still make excuses for your behavior with hope that we’ll have another insignificant conversation again someday.

“He’s just busy”, I say. He’s in a transitional phase in his life. Some girl must have given him commitment issues (red flag: he keeps socks on in bed). And then there’s always the thought that cuts the deepest: “He’s probably in love with someone whose name he’s never mentioned in my presence.”

Yes, these thoughts are totally irrational. But our non-relationship is a bit irrational.

ENTITY shares open letter to non-relationship

IMAGE BY J. KENDALL ALLEN

Something you should know about me is that I place importance on titles. I label and categorize the people in my life in order for me to better understand their thoughts and actions.

My exes have all been stored in my brain’s Burn Book, and they might as well not exist on this earth anymore. However, the ones I love are in the forefront of my mind in Rainbow Land.

But my biggest struggle with you, Jackson, is that I don’t know where to file you. You don’t fit into any of my categories because we don’t have a relationship.

I’ve tried to be the “cool girl” and act like this hot mess of a non-relationship doesn’t bother me in the slightest. However, as the years have passed, my perception of you has been dramatically altered. Needless to say, my friends are no longer drafting our wedding plans.

When my friends ask about you now, they do so in a concerned tone. After all, they were there  every time you didn’t reach out, when I cheated on him with you. And when you tried to get me to cheat on the next guy too. 

They were there for me when I cried, but not over us. Because how can one mourn the loss of something that never was?

Yet, I still make excuses for you.  

We’re both so young and not looking for anything serious. While that may be true, the most terrifying question I’ve yet to ask you or myself is “How does it end?”

Yes, we’ve been in other relationships during our time spent not-together. But what happens when you meet someone else? And not just someone else, the someone. The someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Do you expect me to pull a Taylor Swift “Speak Now?” Will your family wish she was me? Will you expect me to answer your call when your marriage is in a rough patch and you just want to “kick it” with me? Seriously, why do you even say phrases like that? You are so confusing.

It’s so easy for me to be frustrated with you and claim that our complicated non-relationship is a product of your actions alone. But I chose this too.

Do I feel the need to label us after all this time? Yes, a little. However, I believe that what we call it does not outweigh the importance of knowing when to call it.

Our non-relationship is like another incompletion on my to do list. But something inside of me tells me it is not quite time to cross you off.

As I am writing down my frustrations with you, I am still hoping you’ll reach out. And while I may not know what to call you, I know that it is not time to call it quits.

I’ll talk you soon, Jackson.

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