16 Signs You Were Never Genuinely In Love

16 Signs You Were Never Genuinely In Love Shutterstock

Love is a complex emotion that can be hard to define. We often find ourselves questioning if what we felt was truly love or something else entirely. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new relationship or the comfort of a familiar one, but sometimes, looking back, we realize that something was missing. So, how can you tell if what you felt wasn’t genuine love? Here are some signs that might offer some clarity.

1. You never truly felt comfortable being yourself around them.

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When you’re genuinely in love, you feel a sense of acceptance and belonging with your partner. You can be your true, authentic self without fear of judgment or rejection. If you constantly felt the need to censor yourself, hide certain aspects of your personality, or pretend to be someone you’re not, it’s a sign that you might not have been genuinely in love. Love should allow you to flourish as an individual, not confine you to a mold.

2. You were more focused on the idea of love than the actual person.

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Sometimes, we fall in love with the idea of being in love, rather than the person themselves. We get caught up in the romance, the fairytale, and the societal expectations of what love should look like. If you found yourself more invested in the concept of love than in getting to know your partner on a deeper level, it’s possible that your feelings were more about fulfilling a fantasy than experiencing genuine love.

3. You constantly compared them to other people or idealized them.

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When you’re truly in love, you appreciate your partner for who they are, flaws and all. If you found yourself constantly comparing them to other people, wishing they were more like someone else, or putting them on a pedestal, it might be a sign that you were more infatuated with an idealized version of them than with the real person. Genuine love involves accepting and embracing someone’s imperfections, not trying to change them into someone they’re not.

4. You were more focused on what they could do for you than what you could do for them.

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Love is a two-way street, a partnership built on mutual respect, care, and support. If your focus was primarily on what your partner could do for you, how they could meet your needs, or how they could make your life better, it might not have been genuine love. True love involves a willingness to give and sacrifice for the well-being of your partner, not just expecting them to fulfill your own desires.

5. You never truly felt a deep emotional connection with them.

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Love is more than just physical attraction or shared interests. It’s a deep emotional connection, a sense of intimacy and vulnerability that allows you to share your hopes, fears, and dreams with your partner. If you never felt that level of emotional connection, if you couldn’t truly open up and be yourself with them, it’s possible that what you felt wasn’t genuine love.

6. You didn’t feel a sense of partnership or teamwork in the relationship.

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Love involves working together as a team, supporting each other through challenges, and celebrating each other’s successes. If you felt like you were always going it alone, that your partner wasn’t truly invested in your well-being, or that you were constantly competing instead of collaborating, it might not have been a loving relationship.

7. You didn’t feel a strong desire to build a future with them.

Conflict, upset and couple fighting on a sofa for toxic, cheating or relationship breakup. Upset, problem and frustrated young man and woman in an argument together in the living room of their home.

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When you’re genuinely in love, you naturally start envisioning a future with your partner. You imagine building a life together, sharing experiences, and growing old together. If you never felt that desire, if the thought of a future with them didn’t excite you, it’s possible that your feelings weren’t rooted in genuine love.

8. You didn’t feel a sense of loss or grief when the relationship ended.

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Ending a relationship, even one that wasn’t based on genuine love, can still be painful and difficult. However, if you felt a sense of relief, indifference, or even happiness when the relationship ended, it might be a sign that you weren’t truly in love. Genuine love leaves a void, a sense of loss and grief that takes time to heal.

9. The relationship felt more like a convenience than a choice.

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Sometimes, we stay in relationships because they’re comfortable or convenient, not because we’re truly in love. Maybe you were afraid of being alone, or you enjoyed the social status of being in a relationship. If you felt like you were settling or going through the motions, it’s possible that your heart wasn’t fully invested in the relationship.

10. You were constantly trying to change them or fix their flaws.

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While it’s natural to want to help your partner grow and improve, trying to fundamentally change who they are is a recipe for unhappiness. If you spent most of your time focusing on their flaws, trying to mold them into someone they weren’t, it’s a sign that you might not have loved them for who they truly were.

11. You didn’t feel a sense of excitement or anticipation about seeing them.

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When you’re genuinely in love, the thought of seeing your partner should bring a sense of joy, excitement, and anticipation. If you felt indifferent, bored, or even dread at the prospect of spending time with them, it’s possible that your feelings were more about habit or obligation than love.

12. You didn’t feel like you could be vulnerable or share your deepest fears with them.

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Love requires vulnerability and trust. If you felt like you couldn’t be open and honest with your partner, if you couldn’t share your deepest fears and insecurities with them, it might be a sign that you didn’t truly trust them or feel safe enough to be vulnerable. Genuine love involves creating a safe space where both partners can be their authentic selves, flaws and all.

13. You didn’t feel like they were your biggest supporter or cheerleader.

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A loving partner should be your biggest fan, your confidant, and your source of encouragement. They should celebrate your successes, support you through challenges, and believe in your dreams. If you didn’t feel like your partner was truly on your side, if they didn’t show genuine interest in your life or offer unwavering support, it might not have been a loving relationship.

14. You didn’t feel a strong sense of respect or admiration for them.

Young couple looking at each other angrily while sitting apart in the living room sofa after having an ugly fight because of their relationship problems

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Love is often accompanied by a deep sense of respect and admiration for your partner. You appreciate their qualities, admire their strengths, and feel inspired by their character. If you didn’t have those feelings, if you didn’t truly respect or admire them as a person, it’s possible that your feelings weren’t rooted in genuine love.

15. You didn’t feel like you were a priority in their life.

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When you’re genuinely in love, you naturally prioritize your partner and make time for them. If you felt like you were always an afterthought, that they consistently put other things or people before you, it might be a sign that their feelings for you weren’t as strong as you thought.

16. You didn’t feel like they brought out the best in you.

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Love should be a catalyst for personal growth and self-improvement. A loving partner should inspire you to be a better person, to reach your full potential, and to become the best version of yourself. If you felt stagnant, uninspired, or held back in the relationship, it’s possible that it wasn’t a truly loving one.

Originally from Australia, Emma Mills graduated from the University of Queensland with a dual degree in Philosophy and Applied Linguistics before moving to Los Angeles to become a professional matchmaker (a bit of a shift, obviously). Since 2015, she has helped more than 150 people find lasting love and remains passionate about bringing amazing singletons together.

Emma is also the author of the upcoming Hachette publication, "Off the Beaten Track: Finding Lasting Love in the Least Likely of Places," due out in January 2025.