There are few things in life that I can say that I have mastered. I was never good at jump rope, I was a pretty average athlete in high school and I think it’s safe to say that my flirting skills are slightly below average. But there is one thing that I can say that I have perfected, and that is the art of surviving the dreaded fling flat line. What is this clever alliteration creation you ask? It’s the breakup without the breakup. It’s the end without a clear beginning, and it’s basically the slow demise of the non-relationship thing you had at the time. Breakups are tough, but eventually you come to terms with it and move on, but the flat line? The flat line is the slow, unclear fading of an unsure kind-of but not really relationship. There is no clarity, no endpoint and no reason for the ending, so when you realize it’s happened, you’re left wondering why.
It all starts with an encounter. Whether if by chance or by fate, you meet a person who sparks an interest at a time in your life where you’re open to just about anything. You don’t expect much from it, but it’s a nice change of pace and you have this unique feeling that this time, things are going to be different.
Well before you know it, the encounters increase, you do that creepy thing where you smile at your phone when they text you, and weirdly enough, you kind of dig it. It’s this awkward feeling in the pit of your stomach when you actually enjoy the presence of a human being other than yourself. Urban dictionary defines a crush as “A strangling of the heart," and although this sounds extremely unpleasant, you’re loving every second of it.
As the days, weeks, and sometimes even months pass, everything feels right. You’re not dating so there’s no strings, little to no fighting and you hangout simply because you enjoy each other’s company. Instead of watching romantic comedies and throwing a self-loathing party (guests include you and your tub of ice cream), you feel like you’re living in the peak of your favorite movie. You dance at the bars, you eat food together and maybe you even hang out…dare I say…sober. People kind of notice that something is going on, but when asked, you just brush it off because after all, you’re not dating.
You’re on cloud nine. Life is effortlessly beautiful and you can’t remember a time where you’ve been happier. It seems as though everything is finally working out and that is a powerful feeling.
Just when you reach over to pinch yourself, all of a sudden something changes. Whether it be the first day in a while that you didn’t talk or the first night out that didn’t end with pillow talk or a walk home, you know something is off. Sometimes it’s something so small that you don’t even notice it until it’s too late. See, that’s it. That’s the beginning of the flat line. It’s never some big fight or fall out because you’re not in a relationship, and you can’t question it because you're afraid of sounding crazy. Soon enough, you’ll go a few days and then a week without talking, and the continued silence will feel like it’s eating you alive. No clarity, no explanation, nothing.
You'll see each other out and the first few times it's painful. You wish you could rewind to happier times or at least the moment when everything changed to give you some sort of reasoning behind all this, but in the back of your mind, you know that's never going to happen.
This is where my experience and wisdom come in. While at the time this flat line feels as though your heart is actually flat lining due to it being ripped out and trampled on, I can promise, everything is going to be okay. The only closure you're going to get is time, and that is a hard pill to swallow, but it will happen. The best part about our youth is the fact that there are semesters ahead with attractive people to accidentally sit next to in class, there will be more jobs where you can crush on your coworker, and you'll get the pep in your step back eventually, I promise.
Enjoy your fling. You're only young once and these weird romances are only socially acceptable for so long, and for those of you causing our flat line? I'm tempted to add another "f" just for you into this alliteration, but I'll control myself because I am sure my grandma will read this article.
Until next time,