When you’re truly happy with someone, there are a lot of things that can give you a euphoric feeling that isn’t quite love but sure feels like it. Many times, it’s only after you end things with your partner that you realize that although you really, really liked him, you didn’t LOVE him. The difference can be hard to see, but here’s how you know that whatever you felt with him wasn’t that special four-letter word:
You only miss the idea of him. You’re not happy that it’s over, but mostly because he seemed like the perfect guy on paper. He had the dreamiest eyes, an impressive job, and great taste in movies, and that can be hard to let go of. But if you’re fixated on why he could have been the one and not missing the essence of who he truly is beyond all that, it might not have been love at all.
You only dated for a brief period of time. Falling in love at first sight is certainly possible, but if it fell apart after a short period of time, it’s more likely that you were merely in lust. Both can be consuming and totally real, but if the feelings came on quickly without a lot of emotional commitment, there’s a chance that they’ll go away just as fast.
You felt relieved when you broke up. True love often lasts, but when it doesn’t, it can be devastating. If you were sad following the breakup, but also felt like a weight was lifted off your chest, it might be a sign that the relationship wasn’t right anyway and that you’re moving in the right direction now.
You’re already in love again. If you’re head over heels for someone else almost immediately after a breakup, it wasn’t love before… and it probably isn’t love now.The odds of being in love twice in a month aren’t great, and it might be a sign that you tend to rush into things because you like the feeling of infatuation.
You want him to feel bad. If you were really in love with him, you wouldn’t want to parade your new boyfriend in front of his face or make him feel like a bad person. You might hurt people that you love, but you shouldn’t WANT to. Real love means being empathetic and ultimately hoping the best for the other person even after you go your separate ways.
You never really had that spark. You might have been fully committed to him, but in retrospect, you realize that you never felt that magic when you looked into eyes or felt like you could melt off the planet when you kissed him. You will with someone, and when you do, you’ll wonder why you ever settled for less.
You had an easy time walking away. It doesn’t really matter why you left him, whether it was over something he did or whether you felt yourself becoming attracted to someone new. If the decision was easy for you, it wasn’t really love. You did yourself a huge favor by walking away and giving yourself the opportunity to find something real.
You don’t think about him. It’s natural to want to avoid thinking about your ex, but it’s completely different when his memory doesn’t even try to enter your mind. When you loved someone, you’ll think of him from time to time, not because you necessarily want him back, but because he made an impact on your life that can’t ever be totally erased.
He wants you back and you don’t care. You might know better than to get back with an ex, especially if the relationship wasn’t healthy. But if he came crawling back to you and you didn’t feel even the slightest bit of conflict over whether you should take him back, you probably didn’t love him to begin with.
You didn’t learn anything. Love comes into our life to change us in good ways, often expanding our world and forever changing us from that moment on. But with change often comes some lessons, and if a relationship didn’t move you or leave you with any lasting impressions, it’s possible that whatever bonded you two together wasn’t love at all.
Your feelings just vanished. You might have had a week or so of the breakup blues when it ended, but then, just like that, your feelings were gone. You don’t feel like barfing when you see his photos on Instagram, you aren’t secretly hoping to run into him, and you’re not even sure why you thought he was cute in the first place. If whatever you felt for him practically evaporates the moment you break up, you definitely didn’t love him… and you probably didn’t even like him very much.
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