1. We love cautiously. We’ve seen heartbreak and not just in our own lives. We take commitments seriously, which is why we don’t make them often.
2. We believe in big love because we know it was at the root of our parents’ marriage, before it imploded. We believe in run-away-together kind of love stories, because we heard those stories first hand.
3. But we’re also pretty sure big love ends in shambles. We’ve never seen otherwise. Whenever we’ve seen passion and fire, we’ve also seen the wreckage it leaves behind.
4. We optimistically believe that no love ever dies. We were told that “deep down” our parents still loved each other, even as one of them was moving out of the house. We wanted to believe that would always be true. That’s why when we break up with someone, whether it’s a significant other or a friend, we still believe a connection exists after the relationship ends.
5. We take care of you. It doesn’t matter if we don’t know you, or we aren’t interested. It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken our heart in the past. We know what it’s like to take care of our parents even after they’ve taken their problems out on us and it translates to our daily life.
6. Things like emotional stability pique our interest. It’s something we’ve never seen in a relationship, and we want it. We find people who come from good marriages or “normal families” fascinating, and hope this means they know more about functional relationships than we do.
7. Love means questioning everything. We ask why over and over, even if we already know the answer. We need to reaffirm your love sometimes, just to make sure it’s still there. We need to make sure you have no ulterior motives, which we learned from our parents’ post-divorce paranoia.
8. Loving one person for the rest of our life seems terrifying. Not because we want to cheat, just because we are incredibly unsure if two people can stay married forever and actually be happy.
9. Our separation anxiety shows in the way we love. We hold on to people, to memories, to anything we can grasp at. Even if we were never abandoned, we have a huge fear of abandonment which stuck with us from the irrational fears we had growing up.
10. We will love you for loving us in our worst moments. We sought comfort as children and not much has changed.
11. We believe love will drive you to do crazy things because we’ve seen it first hand. We understand love can send you to great heights, even if it turns sour. It will drive us to follow you across the country if you ask, but will also make us pick the biggest fight you’ve ever been in.
12. We expect a lot. We come from single mothers who inspired us to get what we need before anything else. We come from a lifetime of watching fights and knowing there was an easier solution. We will demand that you find the easier solution.
13. We find problems after the first date. We’re trained to see the failures before the successes.
14. We are generally difficult people to love. We are unsure of what love to accept. We don’t know what’s too much. Honestly, we think most love is too much.
15. We forgive easily. If you stomp on our hearts, we’ll still take your call. There was always a time when we thought our parents would forgive each other and so we assume more lenience is necessary.
16. No matter how soon we feel love, we won’t say it. We are never the first to say, “I love you.” We don’t ever want to feel that vulnerable.