I get a lot of questions from you guys that sound something like this: My boyfriend or my ex or the guy I want to be my boyfriend is not nice to me, he ignores me, he’s disrespectful, he blocked my number, or he’s cheating on me or I just found out he has a wife … but I want him back and I want to make it work, what can I do?
Now I’ll usually respond by saying something like: “That sounds awful, why do you want to be in a relationship with someone like that?” And the answer always is … because I love him.
Or I’ll get messages from women saying they can’t stop obsessing over this one guy and can’t move on. So I’ll ask, “what’s stopping you from moving on?” The answer … because I love him.
Ladies — or gentleman, because this applies to you too — this is not what love looks like or feels like!
To clear things up, I’m going to tell you the signs you were never in love, even though you thought you were.
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1. The relationship moved at lightning speed
If you become so enraptured in each other and spend every waking second together and are saying I love you right away… it isn’t love, it’s infatuation.
Infatuation literally produces a chemical reaction in your brain. You are flooded with Dopamine and Norepinephrine which can produce feelings of elation, intense energy, sleeplessness, craving, loss of appetite, and focused attention, and usually, the focus of your attention is only on your relationship.
Love takes time to develop. In order to love someone, you need to know them. Yes, chemistry is great and it’s important, but a relationship can’t survive off that alone, and having good chemistry does not mean you’re in love.
2. You see the potential, not the reality
What are you really invested in here? Is it the guy, or what he represents to you?
A lot of the times we’re in love with the potential of what could have been, not the actual guy. It’s so easy to project our wants and fantasies onto someone, especially someone you hardly know.
You finally meet a guy you click with and you just invest so much mental and emotional energy into it before you even have anything. Then he pulls back or breaks up with you or ends whatever situation you had going on, and you are devastated.
What are you really mourning here? Is it him or is it the death of what could have been?
3. He was scratching an emotional itch
A lot of the times this devastation we experience is because of what the other person represented to you.
If you fell for him super fast and felt that obsessive pull toward him, he most likely was fulfilling some sort of emotional need for you. A lot of the times we are drawn to people who remind us of previous relationships, or even our relationship with a parent, and our subconscious pulls us toward them in an attempt to rectify past pains as an attempt to get it right this time around.
Essentially, the theory, which was developed by psychotherapist Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly, states that the feelings you experienced in your childhood relationships are bound to come up in your adult relationships. According to his theory, we seek out qualities our parents had as a way of repairing old wounds. This gives you the chance to get the kind of love you wanted to get from your parents and when you get it, you’ll feel like you are worthy of love after all
You may also seek a mate you can vicariously experience repressed aspects of yourself through. If you’re intellectual, you may seek someone who is more emotional.
The point is, if you are obsessing over someone and fixated on them, it may not necessarily be love but rather your subconscious trying to repair some old and painful wounds.
Watch The Video: 7 Signs You Were Never in Love
4. You don’t have a meaningful relationship with him
This applies if he’s not your boyfriend … or even if he is and he just doesn’t seem to really be in the relationship. If you don’t have a real, sustained relationship with them, then you can’t possibly know him. You may be in love with the idea of him, but you aren’t in love with him.
Love is being seen and known, if you don’t actually know him, you can’t possibly love him.
Do you talk to him every day? Do you know things about him that no one else does? Ask yourself how well you truly know this person.
MORE: Signs You’re in Love
5. You can’t be yourself around him
One of the greatest parts about being in love is that you can just be
When you love someone and they love you, then they love all of you. And even the sides they don’t love, they embrace as being part of the whole. If you feel like you need to be a certain way, you can’t be your true self, then this isn’t love.
A huge component of being in love is being able to openly share your emotions and vulnerabilities. If you can’t do these things, then you aren’t actually in love.
6. You’re in love with how it used to be
I mentioned that the beginning is this magical, amazing time. But the beginning is not built to last. After the beginning comes the real relationship … and if it’s not a match, then things will devolve quickly.
A lot of the time what you’re lusting for isn’t the guy, it’s how it used to be. You miss the beginning of the relationship, and you hold onto it as proof that you guys were in love once upon a time.
Everything was so amazing in the beginning, so you just know there is great potential here. But the beginning is an illusion. You are literally high off of chemicals your own brain is producing. You can’t hold onto how it used to be, look at how it is now. If it’s not good, if you can’t work together, if he doesn’t want to work on it, if the relationship just feels awful, then this isn’t love
7. You feel anxious, on edge, and just plain awful.
Why is it we confuse these horrible feelings with being in love? Feelings have a very real function; they let us know when something isn’t right and we should change course. When you are in the wrong relationship, you will feel it. It can manifest as a physical ailment, or maybe you’ll feel it deep in your gut.
Physical ailments are often emotionally rooted. Insomnia, stomach pain, hives, feeling drained, all of these are your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right.
Our gut can also be a powerful guide. The problem is that most people don’t trust themselves and end up ignoring what their body is trying so hard to tell them.
Love doesn’t feel like this. Love isn’t hard and drama-filled and painful. Love doesn’t need to be forced.
True love is pretty effortless. It feels good. It just flows. Yes, relationships take work, but those are just logistics. The work is about how to spend more time together, how to connect more, how to be more open to the other persons’s needs, etc.
The work isn’t filled with obsessing over how to make him love you or even just acknowledge your existence.
When you’re fixated on someone, your relationship ceases to be about enjoyment and effortlessness. Instead, it is more like you are gasping for air, desperately hoping they’ll give you whatever it is you think you need from them.
OK, those are the signs you were never in love. Now what can you do about it?
But a quick tip to end with is: stop telling yourself you love him.
Don’t speak something into reality. Words have power. If you keep telling yourself you love him, you’ll never get over him. And you’ll give yourself permission to act in all sorts of irrational ways because you’re doing it for love … and we’re allowed to be crazy when it comes to love, right?
Tell yourself something else. I’m fixated on him, I’m perplexed by him, I’m curious about him- no more saying” I love him.”
I hope this article gave you the tools to identify whether you were truly in love or not. Sometimes the best thing to do is just gracefully let go. Think of it as a good thing, now you’re free to find real love. And speaking of… do you know what inspires a man to commit and see you as the one? If not, read this next: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman
Another thing to be aware of is there will come an inevitable point in your relationship when he starts to pull away. Do you know what to do when that happens? If not, read this next: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...