How to Get Over Someone You Never Dated (24 Tips + Expert Insights)

It’s a bit strange, isn’t it? You find yourself nursing a heartache over someone you never really dated. Who knew our hearts could take a tumble over someone who’s a literal… stranger?

But, yep. It happens. Feelings sure have their own quirky ways.

Now, what’s next? I’ve put together the ultimate guide to kiss those pesky what-ifs and could-have-beens goodbye. You’re stronger than you think, and it’s time to leave what’s gone behind. (Coz there’s no way I’m letting you look back!)

Acknowledge Your Feelings as Valid

Sometimes it feels silly, right? To catch yourself a little heartbroken over someone who was never yours to begin with. But hey, let me tell you something: it’s 100% okay to feel bummed out about it.

Your feelings don’t follow rules; they are what they are—real and significant. It’s okay to admit that someone touched your heart without a formal relationship.

Nobody gets to tell you how you should feel—not even those well-meaning friends who say there’s plenty of fish in the sea. So, yes, you’re allowed to be sad, to miss what could’ve been, or to feel a bit blue about the whole thing. 

Expert insight: 

"You are human. Your perception of a relationship with someone can be different in their viewpoint. Hence, it is okay to feel it was real though it just fleeted away. You are entitled to those feelings and to feel hopeful about it."

— Mary, J. Gibson | Relationship Expert, Dating XP

Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings

This one works wonders!

Get all those thoughts that are doing backflips in your mind right now and put them down. Sketch, scribble, or type—whatever feels right. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else but you.

  • Start with a bullet list of all the things you wish you could’ve shared with them.
  • Draft a text message you’d never send. It’s just for you.
  • Jot down what you’ve learned from this whole saga—there’s always a silver lining.

Writing them down puts them somewhere else, so they’re not taking up so much room in your mind. You can see what you’ve got, decide what to keep, what to say goodbye to, and make some space for new stuff.

Reflect on What You Truly Want in a Partner

Okay, it’s time for a little heart-to-heart with, well… your heart—and your brain, too.

Think about what you really want in a partner. I’m not talking about their favorite ice cream flavor (though, hey, if that’s important to you, jot it down). This is about the big stuff—values, dreams, life principles, and the way they laugh at your terrible jokes.

  • Make a list—yup, good old pen and paper—of qualities that matter to you. Kindness? Ambition? A love for bad sci-fi movies?
  • Ask yourself if the person you’re trying to get over actually ticked these boxes. Were they more of a “nice idea” rather than the “right fit”?

It’s not about finding someone perfect but finding someone who’s perfect for you. Big difference.

When you know what you’re looking for, it’s easier to see when someone isn’t the right fit. It’s good to know so you don’t go down a road that leads nowhere.

Debunk the Illusion That They’re the One

Now for the part that’s a bit of a bummer. You might have built them up in your head as the perfect match—“the one.” But if they were “the one,” they probably would’ve felt the same way, right?

It’s time to challenge the idea that they were your only shot at happiness. There isn’t just one perfect person out there for you. There are lots of potential”the ones,” and this experience is just showing you that.

This is about breaking down that make-believe world you’ve built around them. You have plenty of other chances for love ahead *wink*.

Expert insight: 

"In order to move forward, you must first make the realization that you were never actually attached to this person. What you were attached to is the idea of them. The perfectly painted picture that you created in your own mind."

— Djemilah Birnie | Spiritual Life Coach, Becoming The Big Me | Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner | Hypnotherapist

Remind Yourself Why It Didn’t Work Out

It’s easy to romanticize all the good bits and forget why things didn’t fly.  Sometimes, reminding yourself why it didn’t pan out with someone can help you move forward.

Maybe they weren’t ready for a relationship, or perhaps your lives were just going in different directions.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Were you two really a good fit?
  • Did you actually share common interests?
  • Were your life goals compatible?

Sometimes, relationships don’t start because they just weren’t meant to be. That’s not on you. It’s just how life goes sometimes. And that’s okay. It means something better suited for you is out there waiting.

Let Go of the “What Ifs”

What if they felt the same? What if we had taken the leap? The classic trap, I know. But holding on to the ‘what ifs’ can spin your head round and round like a merry-go-round.

Here’s the thing: “What ifs” can’t change what is. So it’s time to park those “What ifs” and step off the merry-go-round.

Simple ways to let go:

  • Every time a “What if” pops up, tell yourself, “But we didn’t, and that’s okay.”
  • Keep busy with things you love doing.
  • When a “What if” thought comes, picture a big ‘STOP’ sign.

It’s not about never having those thoughts; it’s about not letting them control you. Because you’re the boss of your thoughts, not the other way around.

Remember: For every ‘what if’ that bugs you, there are a bunch of ‘what nows’ that deserve your attention—like What now can I do to make today awesome?

Cry It Out, It’s Okay!

Grab a cozy blanket, maybe a pint of your favorite ice cream, and let those tears flow. Crying is like a natural cleanse for the soul—think of it as letting your heart take a big, deep breath.

It’s your body’s way of dealing with all those tangled-up feelings, and guess what? It can make you feel a whole lot lighter afterward.

Remember: Crying isn’t a sign of weakness. Nope, it’s quite the opposite. It shows you’re brave enough to face your feelings head-on. So, if you feel those tears coming, don’t hold back.

Expert insight:

"Letting yourself feel your sadness is a natural process after any shock or loss. This gives our brains the time to adjust to the loss of hope that our love would be returned."

— Dr. Sanam Hafeez | Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Comprehend The Mind | Relationship Expert | Faculty, Columbia University

Unfollow or Mute Them on Social Media

Seeing them on your social media feeds can be like poking at a sore spot—it’s just going to make it hurt more. You know it, I know it. So, what’s the plan?

Hit that ‘unfollow’ or ‘mute’ button. Like, now! Out of sight, out of mind, right?

But, hey, what if they notice and think you’re avoiding them? Who cares, babe? Your healing journey is about you, not them. You first, always.

It’s about protecting your peace and giving yourself the space you need to heal. Plus, it stops the endless scrolling through their profile at 2 a.m., looking for… what, exactly? It’s time to put your well-being first.

Expert insight: 

"Depending on the situation, cutting off all ties can allow you to focus on yourself both emotionally and physically giving you space to begin living your own life without the longing for this person."

— Dr. Sanam Hafeez | Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Comprehend The Mind | Relationship Expert | Faculty, Columbia University

Delete Old Messages and Photos

Holding onto old messages and photos is like keeping a box of “what ifs” under your bed. It’s tempting to look through them, but doing so only keeps you stuck in the past.

It’s time for a clean-up. You clear up space on your phone and, more importantly, in your mind.

Steps to take:

  1. Start with the easiest—photos or messages that don’t stir up strong emotions.
  2. Gradually work your way up to the ones that are harder to let go.
  3. Remind yourself that you’re doing this to feel better.

When you clear out the old, you make way for the new. And this new space is for the awesome new memories you’re going to create without the shadow of the past lurking in your photo gallery or message inbox.

Lean on Your Support System

Now, more than ever, is the time to lean on your friends and family. Just like double cream makes coffee better, good friends make tough times easier. They’re there to listen, distract you, and sometimes just to be around when you want company.

Things to remember:

  • It’s not a burden to ask for their support.
  • Sharing your thoughts can lighten your load.
  • They want to help, so let them.

Call them, text them, hang out with them. Their support is a reminder that you’re not alone in this. Plus, they probably have great snacks, and who doesn’t feel better after a good snack?

Make a “Moving On” Playlist

Who doesn’t love a good playlist? Music has this magical power to lift our moods, motivate us, and even help us process our feelings. So, why not put together your very own “Moving On” soundtrack?

Pick songs that get your spirits up, not the ones that sink your heart. Turn the music up in your car, in the shower, or while you clean the house. Let those beats remind you that life is still good, even when it feels a bit blue.

Distract Yourself with Hobbies and Interests

You know all those things you love doing but kinda forgot about? Now’s the perfect time to dive back in. Whether it’s painting, kicking a soccer ball, or baking the world’s best cookies—filling your time with hobbies can turn the “blah” moments into better ones.

You’re taking the focus off your heartache and channeling it into something that makes you happy. Plus, who knows? You might just make some amazing new friends along the way.

Stay Active and Exercise Regularly

There’s something about getting your body moving that can work wonders for your mood. Exercise releases those feel-good chemicals, like endorphins, which can give you a natural high.

You don’t need to run a marathon or lift heavy weights (unless you want to). It could be as chill as taking daily walks, starting yoga at home, or dancing like no one’s watching. The key is to find something you actually enjoy doing so it feels less like a chore and more like a treat for yourself.

Regular exercise can help you sleep better, feel more energetic, and guess what? It’s also a great time to crank up that “Moving On” playlist. So now you’re not only working out your body but also your emotional well-being. Win-win!

Spend Time in Nature to Clear Your Mind

Give your brain a break from overthinking.

There’s something about being outdoors that just does wonders for the soul. Take some time to step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and let nature do its thing.

What to do in nature:

  • Go for a walk in a park.
  • Try hiking a mountain you’ve never been before.
  • Sit and watch the calm waters in a lake.

A change of scenery can sometimes give us a new perspective on things. So, lace up your shoes and give yourself the gift of some outdoor time. It’s a simple, free way to feel a bit lighter.

Explore New Social Circles

You know, meeting new people can really open up your world. It’s not just about dating—it’s about making connections that add sparkle to your day-to-day life.

New pals can mean new adventures and stories. And the best part? They don’t know your history, so you’re just you with them, no strings attached.

How to meet new people:

  • Look for clubs or groups that share your interests.
  • Say ‘yes’ to invites, even if you’re a bit nervous.
  • Start conversations—you never know where they’ll lead!

Remember: Every friend was once a stranger—who knows what amazing people you’ll meet along the way?

Be the Partner You Wish to Have

It’s easy to list down all the things you want in someone else, but what if you flipped it and became all those things yourself?

If you want someone kind, start by being kind to yourself and others. Want someone who’s always learning new things? Hit the books or take a class. It’s about being the kind of person you’d be excited to date.

When you focus on being the best you, you do things because they feel right, not just because you might meet someone. And that’s when you often bump into a person who’s right for you—when you’re out there living your life to the fullest.

Focus on Self-Care and Self-Compassion

Take it easy on yourself. Finding out that you’re not on the same page with someone is rough, even if you weren’t dating. But being hard on yourself isn’t going to help.

Instead, pat yourself on the back and say, “You’re doing okay.” Take care of yourself. Watch your favorite movie, take that nap, eat the slice of cake. Because you deserve good things.

Self-care helps you bounce back stronger. It means you’re ready to handle whatever comes your way with a smile. Remember, treating yourself well is the best way to get past the hurt and on to feeling good again.

Know Your Worth (Really Know It)

Your worth isn’t up for debate. Not dating someone doesn’t change how awesome you are. Sure, it might sting a bit, but it doesn’t change your value.

Remember all the cool stuff about you? All those things still stand. Now, make a list of all the things you’re good at, all the quirks that make you ‘you,’ and all the reasons someone would be lucky to have you in their life.

Carry this list in your heart (or your pocket) and add to it every chance you get. Because there’s plenty about you to adore, and it’s time you celebrate that.

It’s All on You

Tough love moment: getting over someone you never dated? It starts and ends with you.

Sure, it might feel easier to blame timing or even the other person for not seeing what could have been. But real talk: moving on is your gig. It’s about making the choice not to stay stuck on a looped track of ‘what ifs.’

Remember, no one else can do this for you. You’re the boss of your own heart. So, take the lead and show yourself the way forward.

Stop Making Excuses—Face the Truths!

Now comes the part where you gotta be real with yourself. It’s easy to come up with reasons why things didn’t happen or to hope things might change. But deep down, you know the deal.

Facing the truth head-on—that it’s not going to work out with this person—is like ripping off a Band-Aid. Yup, it stings, but it’s the start of healing.

See the situation for what it is, not what you wish it could be. Remember, being honest with yourself is a form of self-respect. Give yourself permission to let go and focus on what’s next.

Consider Professional Counseling if Needed

Sometimes, friends and self-help books aren’t quite enough, and that’s okay!

Maybe the feelings are too much, or we’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to work. That’s when talking to a professional counselor can help.

  • Look up counselors who deal with relationship issues.
  • Talking out loud with a pro can really help things click.
  • There’s zero shame in getting help—it’s actually a pretty brave move.

There’s a whole world of support out there, and sometimes reaching out is the bold step you need to take. A professional can give you that nudge to move past what’s been holding you back.

Trust the Timing of Your Life

You might feel like you’re running behind or that love has missed you by a mile. That’s just not true. Life doesn’t have a strict schedule and love, least of all.

It’s like waiting for a bus—sometimes it comes early, sometimes late, but it’s always moving on its route, and yours will come. In the meantime, you can listen to music, watch the cars go by, or chat with a stranger. Use this ‘waiting’ time to enjoy where you are right now.

Timing can surprise you. It brings good things when you least expect it. So relax and trust that things will work out when they’re meant to.

Stay Open to Future Possibilities

Let’s dream a bit — not about the past, but about the future. Life is full of changes and surprises, which means new chances for happiness are always around the corner. So why close yourself off?

Keeping an open heart is about seeing that the end of one thing could be the start of another. It means believing that good things are ahead.

  • Remember, for every ‘no,’ there’s a ‘yes’ out there waiting.
  • Be curious about what the next chapter in your life holds.
  • Take each day as a brand-new opportunity.

A door you didn’t even know existed could swing open at any moment. Keep your eyes peeled for new experiences that will enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.

Make Space for Someone New

After you’ve given yourself time to heal and you’re feeling good about where you’re at, there might be room in your life for someone new. Don’t rush it or force it—when you’re ready, you’ll know. 

So, how do you make space?

  • Start saying yes to hanging out with friends.
  • Get involved in activities where you can meet new folks.
  • Keep an open mind when you meet someone. They could be great!

There’s a world full of people waiting to meet someone just like you. And who knows? The next person you meet could be the one to laugh with you over a spilled cup, admiring how perfectly imperfect life can be.

Expert insight: 

"This can be the first step towards a healthy relationship with someone else, someone who we truly get to know, and allowed to become close to us, and know us -warts and all!"

— Arlene B. Englander, LCSW, MBA | Licensed Psychotherapist | Author, “Let Go Of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food

More Expert Insights

“Ultimately the goal is to understand that any lack of reciprocity in this particular connection, does not mean your love life is doomed, and it does not mean you are not worthy of love; but it does mean self-love comes first.”

— Dr. Sanam Hafeez | Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Comprehend The Mind | Relationship Expert | Faculty, Columbia University

“What I want you to remember is that when you can’t get over someone you were never actually with, the only thing you actually need to get over is the picture you painted of ‘what could have been’ in your mind.”

— Djemilah Birnie | Spiritual Life Coach, Becoming The Big Me | Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner | Hypnotherapist

“Respect their decision and also don’t lose hope out there. Many a time, people do not respect the opposite person’s decision. But you should respect it as an adult and understand that there are people in this world who would love to fall in love with someone like you.”

— Mary, J. Gibson | Relationship Expert, Dating XP

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to get over them?

The time it takes to heal varies from person to person. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel your emotions, but also make a conscious effort to work through your feelings and start new chapters in your life.

Should I tell the person about my feelings even if it’s over?

Sharing your feelings can provide closure, but it’s not always necessary. Consider what will bring you peace and whether it aligns with your process of moving on.

Can I stay friends with the person I have feelings for?

Staying friends can be challenging if you’re still emotionally attached. It might be helpful to create some distance until your feelings subside, so you can form a purely platonic friendship later on.

How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Reflect on what attracted you to the person and the patterns in your attraction. Focus on developing self-awareness and self-care practices. Remember, it’s about learning from the past and not necessarily about preventing natural feelings from happening.

Final Thoughts

If your heart’s been heavy over someone you never dated, it’s okay. You won’t feel this way forever. Soon, the idea of them will just be a distant memory.

Take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve grown. Love doesn’t end with a ‘what ifs’, it starts with a ‘what’s next’. So, go ahead and find out what’s next for you.

You have a whole life ahead full of new stories and new people who can’t wait to meet you.

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Clariza is a passionate writer and editor who firmly believes that words have great power. She has a degree in BS Psychology, which gives her an in-depth understanding of the complexities of human behavior. As a woman of science and art, she fused her love for both fields in crafting insightful articles on lifestyle, mental health, and social justice to inspire others and advocate for change.

In her leisure time, you can find her sitting in the corner of her favorite coffee shop downtown, deeply immersed in her bubble of thoughts. Being an art enthusiast that she is, she finds bliss in exploring the rich world of fiction writing and diverse art forms.