03/10/2011 20:01 BST | Updated 03/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Game Over: How can you Lose Someone you Never Really Had?

Just over a week ago, the person I had been seeing for around a year and half, give or take, pushed our relationship to just about the one place it hadn't been before. The end.

Apart from one hellish week somewhere back in June, he and I were never officially "together." First he was a booty-call, a means to an end, he served a purpose. For a long time I never stayed the night, never had him back to mine and never communicated with him in daylight hours. It suited me.

But somewhere along the line, as it inevitably always does, our relationship crossed over into no-man's land, the metaphorical 'grey-area', a place somewhere between sex and love. He said he liked my mind. Slowly but surely I started staying over. We opened a gateway of communication, which in this age of technology, meant there was really no going back. It became constant. We spoke on Facebook. We started texting. We would whatsapp all hours of the day because we could. But despite this constant flow of consciousness, never once would we discuss "us". Because to all intents and purposes, there was no "us". And that's how we liked it.

Until one day, he met someone else. Suddenly the relationship that we'd never had, became the NOT-relationship that we were very definitely having. Emotions started coming in to the picture (I was sad, he was frustrated) and at around the six months mark, everything got... well, it got messy. When they were on, we were off. When they were off, we were on. When I look back at it now, it's pretty text book. I was the other woman, a good distraction. Over the last year we've been on a rough journey. There's been passion, anger, love, hatred, desperation, sex, pain and excitement and sometimes all of those things at once. Intense, to say the least.

So now, I find myself sat here, having drained myself of tears, wondering how exactly I managed to get so deeply entangled in a NOT-relationship that I had never intended on becoming a part of, with a NOT-boyfriend who my friends would now refer to as a total... well, I can't write that word in this article. I guess I must admit to you that I am sensitive and emotional - I'm creative, it comes with the territory - but i'm not your typical girly-girl. I'm strong minded, well educated and obsessed with people, which is why, I think, I am attracted to otherness.

Like many other women dissatisfied with what 'the norm' has to offer, I am seeking some kind of perfect imperfection. I have a modern idea of what I want from a relationship. I'm not looking for 2.4 children and a husband that tells me i'm beautiful in the morning (i'm not beautiful in the morning) and then goes about his mundane day as part of our boring, but happy, existence. Nope, sorry, that life is not for me. I'd rather a man that was deadly honest. And that's exactly what I got, a man whose final words to me were such a painful truth that they didn't finally click until days later.

And do you know what the worst thing is? At the end of it all, at the time when I am most entitled to hate his guts, I don't. I don't hate him at all. Everyone around me tells me that I'm better off without him. And I am intelligent enough to understand that I am. I've not felt sadness but a soaring, unequivocal freedom in the immediate wake of every "goodbye" we've said (it's happened more than once) and I know that in this situation, I walk away with my whole life to look forward to, having cared as much as I could have and probably more than I should have, for another human being. He walks away knowing that he hurt someone that gave him everything she had to give.

I believe that a very real, primal sense of care and nurture goes hand in hand with being female. Of course, some women have more of it than others, but if women are from Venus and men are from Mars, I can guarantee you that Venus is a more understanding's just in her nature. But understanding can be a dangerous thing and can easily be confused with weakness.

I am not weak. I just refuse to hate somebody who I have taken the time to understand. When my friends told me not to try to express to him how much he has hurt me, now that we are finally at the end, they were right. Even if he did listen, it wouldn't have the desired effect. He'd sooner call me every name under the sun than admit to himself he had anything to feel guilty about. But yet I still don't hate him, because I understand why. I understand down to the tiniest nuance of his being, WHY he has done what he has done.

It doesn't excuse his behaviour. It doesn't excuse the fact that I allowed myself to be treated without respect for a long period of time, but it does help me deal with this horrible sense of loss. A sense of loss that to all intents and purposes, I shouldn't be feeling. HE was the bastard and yet there's been no eureka moment when I've jumped up and screamed "good riddance!" When you have a NOT-relationship that is built on a twisted type of honesty, with a person you are willing to take the time to understand, it makes it very hard to close the book. Because you never had a relationship to lose in the first place, just the constant promise of what-if.

It's at times like these that I wish I had more of that angry, self-respecting gene that so many of my girlfriends seem to have. The one that makes you turn around the first time things get nasty and say "I'm done with this" and damn well mean it, but I don't. It would be so much easier to hate him and slam the book shut, but then what would I have left? 18 months wasted and several degrees less respect for myself? Nah. I don't hate people. I understand them and at no detriment to myself. I will mourn the loss of this person in my life, regardless of how I've been treated, with dignity and respect, not only for me but for him. It might make it harder, but he is from Mars after all, and it isn't that great there from what I understand.