I’ve Been In Plenty Of Relationships But I’ve Never Been In Love

I hear that love is the most important thing in the world, but as someone in my late 20s, I can safely say that I’ve never experienced it in a romantic sense. I’ve been in plenty of relationships, but none of them seemed to reach that point of ultimate care and commitment that love represents.

  1. I’ve never felt mutual love. You know that warm feeling you get when your partner looks at you from the other side of the room and you both sorta think, “That’s my person!” simultaneously? I’ve never had that. I look at my partner and feel a combo of hoping he loves me and doubting that he ever would at the same time. I’d love to feel that my partner cares about me just as much as I do him, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
  2. Breakups have never been that bad for me. A lot of my friends seem to absolutely lose it when they go through a breakup, but not me. When I get dumped or break up with someone, I feel sad, of course, but it doesn’t feel like it’s as big of a loss as my friends seem to think it is. It must be because I didn’t truly love my exes, otherwise, I would have felt much more upset about it.
  3. I’ve never been in a real fight with a boyfriend. All of the old married couples I talk to say communication is the secret to a healthy, happy relationship, even if it means fighting every now and then. Going through conflict as a couple is supposed to make the bond stronger because you end up working together to fix it. I’ve never gotten to the point of fighting with my exes and I just see that as us not being close enough to be real with each other in that way.
  4. That feeling of “doing anything for love” is totally foreign to me. I’ve heard stories of people doing pretty crazy things for their significant others, but I can’t really say that I’ve done the same. I don’t feel addicted to love and I’ve never been lovesick or anything like that. Maybe I’m just not open to letting love in or maybe I’m just immune to it. It certainly feels that way sometimes.
  5. I don’t think I’ve ever felt totally safe with any of my exes. I hear that love is a comfortable feeling of being completely safe in the arms of your lover. That’s all news to me! I find I’m not able to totally let go and trust my partner with anything, really. This is all my doing and I know it—I need to open myself up more and trust that someone else can take care of me.
  6. I don’t remember ever feeling free to be myself in any of my relationships. No matter how “close” I’ve been to a partner, I’ve always felt a teeny bit judged. I’d also worry that I’d do something that would make them fall out of love with me. Past experience has taught me that I need to try extra hard to make sure people like me and it’s really hard to let that go, even though I know real love wouldn’t take that much struggle.
  7. Love has always been conditional for me, and we all know that’s not what “true love” really is. My relationships often feel transactional. If my boyfriend gives me a gift or buys me dinner or whatever, I feel like I owe him. It could be all in my head, or maybe I’m just basing it off of the feeling I get from the relationship in general. Love was always conditional in my household growing up. As long as I was a good girl and kept quiet, I would be loved. That mindset still hasn’t left me, which would explain why I’ve never experienced true, unconditional love as an adult.
  8. I’ve never been in a relationship long enough for love to blossom. The longest I’ve ever been with someone is a year. I’ve never had a long-term relationship, so I’ve actually never even had the chance to experience the kind of love that eventually grows over time, which I hear is supposed to be the best kind of love.
  9. I’ve never said “I Love You” first. I guess the fact that I’ve never had the urge to express my love to my partner in words is pretty telling of what I’m really feeling inside—emptiness. I get thrown off when someone says those three little words. I instantly think, “Really?” and then respond with a half-assed, “Love you too.” I’m never really serious about it.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.