Between 2010 and 2014, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber started dating, broke up, got together again, posted intimate Instagrams together, kissed a lot, spent celebrity parties avoiding each other, went on romantic, make-up ski trips. Then finally, they broke up for good. Like most super famous humans who date one another, their relationship was super exposed —and whether you were rooting for Jelena or not, you were probably up-to-date on the status of their relationship, thanks to the million media outlets that chronicled their every interaction.

And while Selena and Justin seem pretty confident in their decision to go their separate ways, it’s OK to wonder what would have happened if these two beautiful musicians never broke up for the last and final time. Especially since, as of late, Justin has been pretty open about the relationship.

On Tuesday, Bieber told Access Hollywood that his feelings for Selena would never change. “[She] is someone I love dearly. I’m never going to stop loving her. I’m never going to stop checking in on her. I don’t think if you end a relationship, you should end that, unless it was super toxic and you guys were hurting each other physically or mentally,” Justin said. “We always respected each other and we still respect each other.”

He also called Selena his “first real love” and mentioned that about three songs on his latest album were inspired by her.

There were supposed to be four Selena-inspired songs on the album, but one didn’t make the cut. After admitting that he met Selena when he was too young, Justin revealed, “Yeah, I wrote a song [that] didn’t make the album, it was called ‘If I Would Have Met You In 5 Years’. How true is that? How many people go through life and end up meeting someone and it feels so right, but it’s just the wrong time? So many people can relate to that.”

What’s even more relatable, is that Justin knows he’s not fully over Selena —after all, she was a huge part of his life for a long, long time. “It was really tough. I don’t know if I’m over it yet. I think that I’m definitely in another place and I think we’ve definitely went our separate ways. I love her and I want her to be awesome, but there are things that remind me of her,” he admits. “I don’t know what happens. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. I think we both gotta do some soul-searching ourselves and figure out ourselves before we can just try to figure out each other.”

Back in September, Justin opened up about Selena to Complex magazine, saying, “we were so in love. Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other. But when it’s like that and you get your value from that, people will always disappoint you. Your girl or your dude, they’re always going to disappoint you. Your full identity can’t be in that person. My identity was in her.”

Selena has also mentioned that they’re both moving on, that they’ve found closure. But proof of their lingering feelings for each other exists, like that leaked duet and graffiti that read Selena in Justin’s “What Do You Mean?” music video.

Overall, it seems like the two have maturely come to terms with their relationship, and how meaningful it was (and is). When you’re with a person for so long, that person doesn’t just disappear into thin air —you carry them with you for long, long time. While it’s unclear whether they’ll ever get back together, we do know that both Justin and Selena are taking some serious time for themselves and their careers. If eventually they feel like they can give their relationship another go, we fully trust their judgement.

[Image via Shutterstock, Instagram]