Yes- I was one of those girls who defined herself by the relationship she had. To my friends, my family, my blog followers, I had the ideal partnership. We worked together, lived together, slept and cooked together. I was eighteen when I moved in with him, and I was twenty-three when I realized I wasn’t in love with him. We spent five years together, and it took me five years to realize that I didn’t love him- I had never loved him.
I remember the trembling physical pain as my world started crashing apart. I was terrified. My entire life had been invested in him. We owned a house together. Every single piece of my life was attached to him. And I realized I didn’t love him. He didn’t love me either. We were just a couple, a pair, two perfectly matched pieces that didn’t have the spark they needed to weld. Our romance was loveless, and it took a lot in me to admit that. But don’t think I walked away from our loveless relationship having learned nothing about love. I learned more about love, by not loving him, than I ever could have loving someone else.
1. Butterflies Do Mean Something
And I never had them with him. Our kisses, hugs, slow dances- they never had that stomach-stirring physical feeling that I yearned for. My head didn’t spin when he told me he loved me for the first time. My heart didn’t race when we kissed after being apart for a while. Those butterflies mean something. That physical confirmation of your feelings for someone means something. The absence of them also means something. Don’t ignore the fact that they aren’t there.
2. Sex Shouldn’t Be A Chore
I’ve always been really sexual. I have a really high sex drive and my boyfriend didn’t. Maybe it was just me, maybe it was the fact we didn’t have what each other needed in the bedroom. Sex was always a chore for us. We did it- a lot, but it was never fun. It was never Notebook movie romantic. Sex shouldn’t be a boring mechanical act. And if you don’t have passion in the bedroom- where do you have passion?
3. The Best Relationships Aren’t Always With Your Best Friend
He was my BEST friend. We got along in every way. He knew so much about me- too much about me. There was never an aire of mystery between us. We had this mutual understanding, but it was boring. We weren’t alike, but we accepted every damn flaw and never tried to change ourselves for one another. But the person you’re with should make you want to be a better person. We didn’t have that. We accepted how awful we were and we didn’t strive to be better for each other. We were always better friends, but friends (and their mutual understanding of one another’s idiocies) don’t always make the best lovers.
4. Trust Your Instinct
I knew -deep down- that I didn’t love him. When I said “I love you” it didn’t feel right. It was weird and forced. It felt awkward and unnatural. I just assumed that’s the way love felt sometimes. It didn’t come easy. It would grow on me, right? And maybe if I said “I love you” enough I’d start to feel it. You can never talk yourself into loving someone. Your heart is an entirely separate entity from your mind. You’ll never make it believe something it doesn’t want to.
5. You Shouldn’t Have Doubts About Saying “Yes”
When he asked me to marry him, my first thought was “no”. My words were “yes”. He was doing it because we’d lived together three years. It was time, right? There was nothing special about his proposal. It was a half-assed ‘here’s your ring’ ordeal and that was it. He wasn’t into it, and nor was I. But we both said “yes” because we thought we had to. If we would have truly been in love, we would not have treated our engagement the way we did.
6. It’s Okay To Say “No”
Which brings me to my next point- it’s okay to say “no”. It’s okay to realize that you and someone you’ve spent so much of your life with are not meant to be. And it’s okay to quit holding onto something that isn’t there. Yes- even if you don’t love them, leaving them is going to hurt. Breaking up is never easy or fun. But sitting next to someone you don’t actually have a special bond with is also not easy or fun.
7. When You’re In love, You’ll Know It
Love shouldn’t be work, it shouldn’t be awkward, forced, or waited upon. When you’re in love you’ll know it. You won’t question it, you won’t worry about it coming later on. It will already be there, head-strong and full-forced. Love is an in-your-face experience, and if you aren’t feeling the butterflies and the assurance and the ‘deep down knowing’, you aren’t in love.
8. It’s Okay To Not Be In Love
For the longest time I thought that I needed to be in love to feel fulfilled in life. But forcing love was never going to make it happen. And faking love was so much work. Being in love- truly being in love, is wonderful. But not being in love is okay too. Your time will come. Your butterfly-stirring, head-spinning, heart-pounding time will come. But if you’re busy pretending that it’s already here, you may miss your chance to feel it. Be patient, love is worth the wait. And it’s not going to happen to your accord. It can’t be planned or grown. It will show up though, unexpectedly and beautifully, so long as you’re courageous enough to say “no” to the relationships and the people that aren’t right for you.