Dear Em & Lo: Were We Ever Really in Love?

broken_heart_cookiephoto by CarbonNYC

Dear Em & Lo,

Four months ago my girlfriend of three years ended our relationship. She gave me generic reasons: “It’s not you, it’s me; we’re too young for such a serious relationship; we have a lot to experience.” Finally this week I got her to drop her guard and open up to me. Her reasons were valid and I had no problem with them. We did have a communication problem, we swept big issues under the rug only so we wouldn’t argue, etc. I noticed she used words like “cared,””liked a lot,” and would only occasionally use “love” when she referred to me. So I asked her, “Were you ever actually IN love with me?” I’m paraphrasing her response but it went something like this: “People throw around ‘I love you’ all the time — and that’s okay because I’m sure they do — but my ideas have changed so much on love.  I just think that when you tell someone you’re with that you love them, then you should want to marry them.  Obviously you and I never got married or even came near it, so it would be unfair to say that I was IN love with you.” Besides now thinking that the past three years were a complete waste of time and being crushed, I now question what I believe. I know that I was deeply in love with her and I would have bet my life on it that she was too. I don’t know what love is anymore. What’s your definition of love?

— Heart in a Blender

Dear HiaB,

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: Your ex-girlfriend — let’s call her Fuckface — is an evil shrew who has a piece of coal where her heart should be and who definitely doesn’t deserve someone as nice, sensitive, and extremely good-looking as you obviously are.

There now. Feel a little better? Good.

We think Fuckface’s philosophy of love is flawed: Just because you are no longer together doesn’t mean what you had when you were together wasn’t genuine or real. Plenty of couples are “in love” at some point but don’t end up married, for any number of reasons: too young, different career paths, one wants kids and the other doesn’t, religious differences, 3,000 miles between them, mistakes made that are unforgiven, a disdain for the “institution” of marriage, differing libidos, communication problems, extenuating circumstances, the list goes on. Ever seen Once? Or even The Breakup? There you go.
Even if Fuckface truly feels this way, believes it with all her coal, it just seems mean-spirited to be so brutally honest — especially when it’s clear you were in love with her. This is one of those rare instances in relationships (or ex-relationships) where we would condone a little white lying just to spare the person’s feelings (akin to the automatic “no” answer to “Do these pants make my butt look big?”).

The only reason we could see her dropping such a bomb on you is because she wanted to finally get you to drop it. And she would have a point: After four months, why are you still pushing her to open up about your past relationship, especially when she seems to have definitively moved on? No good can come of this — as you’ve learned the hard way. If you’ve been clinging to some hope of reconciliation, despite signals to the contrary from her, then maybe she feared that admitting to once being in love with you (whether it’s the truth or a kind white lie) would give you more false hope. Perhaps she was a bit harsh so you’d finally get the point, let go, and move on too.

And you should move on, but not by losing your faith in love. You say that you know you were deeply in love, and that’s all that matters. You do know what love is. Even though Fuckface has worked hard to taint the memory of what you had, don’t let her! Cherish the good times you had together, and try to learn from the mistakes you both made in the relationship. So that when you do fall in love again — and you will — it’ll be with someone who won’t be such a Fuckface if you — and you might — breakup.

All our love,
Em & Lo

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17 Comments on "Dear Em & Lo: Were We Ever Really in Love?"

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That is all jus bullshit. Love is different for everyone. The guys ex being honest with him will help him to move on faster. Being in love hold 7 billion different meanings. She has every right to believe that being in love means you want to spend the rest of your life with someone. People fall in and out of love. I do think that in someone she loved him, but wasn’t in love with him. 3 years is a long time. So by her saying no, she wasn’t in love with him, yes it will break his heart, but… Read more »

I could have really used girl friends like e&l to call my dumpers fuckface for me.

The problem is that if you’re an honest and open guy, when you get dumped all you can do is second guess everything. You hate yourself for not being a dick, but then know better and still hate yourself.


At least is was only a three year relationship. How would like to find out that after 22 yrs. of marriage and three kids that your husband tells you your marriage was a mistake. I asked why he married me then and he said because he loved me back then. So, I guess he doesnt now. Merry Christmas to me!!! Thanks alot


Em & Lo make good points. Bottom line, though, is that if Fuckface dumped you after 3 years, SHE didn’t love YOU. And would you really want to be with someone who wasn’t CRAZY about you, too? Some people would. I wouldn’t (which could explain why I’ve been single for 11 of the last 12 years… but I digress). If someone loves or loved you, you shouldn’t have to wonder the reasons why you broke up.


The only thing i would add is screw the ‘cherish the good times’ BS. You are better off without the heartless she-dog, take comfort in knowing that one day when she is old and alone, quite possibly she will wonder, ‘what ever happened to…’ you on the other hand will be hard pressed to remember her name.

The thing is that people can also be scared once they realize what the relationship really is. It may be safe to say that she was scared and made excuses as to why she could no longer be with you. Or it could have been a deep crush. If you feel you are in love with somebody one way I can tell you are in love is if you are willing to die for them. If you can easily jump in front of a bullet for somebody you truly love them. Some people say they would but they cant. That… Read more »
Gabi Patel