Love Doesn’t Look Like These 40 Things


Trigger warning: Toxic relationships

Love. It’s something we think about often, an ideological concept that we tend to over-romanticize and fantasize about. It makes us feel like we are floating on clouds and makes us fall flat on our faces both at the same time. We dream of this big white wedding and of our partner standing at the end of the aisle with tears in their eyes. It makes our hearts flutter and calm. It can be beautiful and perfect, however it can also be soul crushing and painful. Love fills you, good and bad. Love is a lot of things; it feels like a lot of things. However, there are a few things that love is not.

Love is not:

1. Cheating on me days before my birthday

2. Sexting other people when you’re in a relationship to help you feel more validated.

3. Telling me that it’s “hanging out” when you’re two feet away on the couch on your phone for two hours

4. Using the excuse “I’m visiting my family” to avoid saying you have a girlfriend

5. Telling me to make my Instagram private so that it causes less “drama”

6. Deleting all my comments off your social media so that your followers don’t know that I exist

7. Telling me that I’m “annoying, whiny and dramatic” when I’m trying to express my feelings

8. Abandoning me

9. Calling me a cunt and a slut

10. Telling me that I’m the reason you keep other people on the “sidelines”

11. Lying about what you’re doing or who you’re talking to

12. Using my mental health struggles as the reason why no one talks to me

13. Googling “how to break up with your depressive girlfriend” instead of trying to talk or support me

14. Being confused about your feelings and using that as a reason for why you’re acting distant or shady

15. Making me feel like I’m useless and just another person, even when I do everything to please you, take care of you, and love you with every ounce of my being

17. Listening to me tell you that I had a panic attack and overdosed on my anxiety medications and then saying, “Why would you do that? There’s nothing wrong with you.”

18. Changing your mind every 10 days just because you love the thrill of the fight and having me beg you to stay

19. Telling your buddies that I’m “just another girl” when you’re telling me that you love me

20. Insulting my friends and isolating me from healthy friendships and relationships

21. Telling me not to have that bite of ice cream because I will get fat one day

22. Not letting me choose a movie, yet forcing me to watch golf and bad Adam Sandler comedies every single night

23. Only telling me that you love me while you’re drunk

24. Holding my hand when I tell you about all the pain that previous exes have caused, and then turning around and doing the exact same thing

25. Telling me that I have no female friends because I’m too intimidating, too tall, and work too hard compared to the other girls you know

26. Secretly having dating apps on your phone and calling me crazy when you match with my best friend on Bumble

27. Having strangers DM me to share screenshots of sexually explicit text messages between the two of you

28. Promising me you’ll come and cheer me on during my interests and games but never showing up

29. Making me sneak into your apartment because “people are sleeping,” but in reality, no one knows I exist

30. Finding out and having me trust you enough to tell you my insecurities, and then turning around and use them against me when we fight

31. Not introducing me to your friends because your friends think that I’m just your “fuck buddy”

32. Bringing me to a strip club just to compare me to the strippers

33. Picking the life of one child over another just because you like the first child’s mother better

34. Letting me write your university papers for you while you leave the room and go play video games instead of helping me

35. Using my fears and struggles to steal my money and scare me to submission

36. Telling my family that we’re dating so they will help you, but telling your own family that we are “just friends”

37. Spending Saturday night with me and then Sunday morning on the beach with someone else

38. Using the same breathe on Valentines Day to say that you want to marry me and then dumping me five minutes later

39. Going to my sister’s wedding and whispering to me that “that will never be us” as we dance in front of my family

40. The way you treated me.

I could go on about all the things that love isn’t, about all the red flags I saw but convinced myself weren’t there. You’d think people would learn—you’d think I would have learned. I wish we could all realize what was right in front of us, that this thing we thought was love was actually breaking us down and destroying us. But sometimes, it’s not that simple.

A Taylor Swift song won’t just make it better, screaming into your pillow won’t fix it, crying yourself to sleep won’t make things better in the morning. Nothing makes these things leave your mind and your soul. Some say it is because we don’t know how to stand up for ourselves. I don’t know if I believe that. I think we all want love so much that we just end up settling. We think we’re going to be the person that saves them. We believe that the love we give is going to be the factor in changing their behavior. That doesn’t make us weak or stupid. It makes us human, and it just means that now we have to take those lessons and learn what love doesn’t look like for next time.