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


  1. 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 it will also get him to move on to find something better.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 is just my look on love. And by the looks of it she probably wouldn’t have jumped in front of a bullet for you so I say don’t trip she ain’t worth it.

  7. l feel so sorry for you even though l went through it some 4 months ago. l even cursed myself of not having any man again in my life. He ruined eveything of mine including even failing my (KNEC) papers during that period because of stress.He was the only man l had put all my dreams on,he loved me yes but up to now l dont understant why he left because to his parting, he just told me he still loved me but wanted some room to solve his personal issues and left, he even changed his cell phone number. Thank God lm now relieved and now working under the Ministry of Agriculture. So my friend, that is part of life. You have to forget about everything and start planning afresh for your life. ITS YOUR LIFE and you have to admit to that.Go on!

  8. Love is elusive, and few of us in this culture made of illusions have a clue about love. Love is given freely, and not dependent on “the other”. Loves lessons, and loves agonies are not for the weak. Read many classical literature pieces, and you may get a better idea about love than what we have adopted in this fast paced superficial “all-about-me” culture.
    I do ache for all those who wrote, and I am very old, and can say, … Love is never what you think it is, and you are blessed if you have tasted the joy of feeling it with all your heart, no matter what pain it caused you. Blessings to all of us that have loved and lost, and found that love itself was worth it… if you really love you are always the better for it.

  9. I feel for you as I have been head oer heels for a man I have been seeing for over two years..then one day boom he was gone no real reason other than I love you but gone..I was so upset it made me so Ill i could not eat nor sleep for months..6 six now I lost 46 lbs cried and the pain is still there..He was my soulmate there shall be no one else for me..Real Love exists when you find it old on to it treasure it for it may be gone>>>

  10. Love can be an emotion, but a long term relationship like a marriage or serious dating soon loses its emotional love somewhat and should gain the act of love for one another. True love is an act done day in a day out whether you feel like it or not. I feel like the path to find that person is finding a true best friend that you are attracted to. My husband was first my friend, then my boyfriend, and now my husband. Butterflies turn into a lifelong friendship bond of love that surpasses all others. Many marriages fail because their concept of love is not correct. The butterflies don’t last forever day in and day out. The come here and there still, but our devotional love for each other is what lasts.

  11. I feel for you Heart in a Blender. I feel like i wasted the past 10 yrs of my life and sacrificed by body, mind, heart and soul for nothing. What a waste….

  12. What happened to Heart in a Blender happened to me about 3 weeks ago. My husband asked for a divorce citing similar reasons as Fuckface. The kicker was i just had baby no. 2 with him 8 weeks ago! Which we agreed and plan to have, by the way. So how am i suppose to move on with 2 kids from a relationship he says was never “real” and was never “in love” with me and should have left when we had our first. That we were to young when we met.Mind you, the entire almost 10 yrs we were together he seemed “happy” and said he “loved me” and we had great sex and good times with each other and as a family. How am i going to move on from or walk away from what feels a life we built together to starting all over on my own with two little ones?

  13. I also agree with Em&Lo.

    I don’t believe in telling young people “You ‘thought’ you were in love.” or “You don’t know what love is.” That’s silly. LOVE is a state of mind, and if you feel you are In Love, you ARE in love! Age has nothing to do with it. I never ever argued with my oldest child, who fell In Love for the first time at the age of 14. She said it, it was TRUE!

    As for your girlfriend, Fuckface, just because the Love cooled for her does not mean you were “never in love.” People fall out of love all the time. I do think, perhaps, that pursuing her is a lost cause, and it will only cause you more heartache.

    You sound like you have a LOT to give a young woman, so pick up the pieces (take your time, I KNOW it hurts) and eventually, when you are ready, don’t be afraid to give your heart to a young women WORTHY of your love.

    Good luck, honey.

  14. I can see two more possibilities in addition to what’s been mentioned:

    1) She’s never been in love, with him or anyone else, and the whole marriage theory is her way of trying to strangely figure out why things didn’t work out. It’s a bit cart-before-the-horse. If she finally does fall in love with someone, there’ll be an “Oh, now I get it” moment, and thoughts of marriage will come around.

    2) She was in love with him, but has a chronology in her mind of how things should unfold, and when marriage talk wasn’t happening soon enough on the heels of falling in love, she gradually began to lose faith.

    I could be way off, though.

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