Let’s be honest — you loved the IDEA of them more.
You didn’t love them as much as you loved the idea of them, and you certainly didn’t love them as much as you loved other things.
Signs you didn’t — or don’t — love them that much:
If your focus is the list of stuff you want to do with a significant other
You always wanted “someone to travel with.”
You always wanted to eat at that restaurant. You always wanted to try acroyoga, or take cute Christmas card photos, or snuggle.
You fell for them because “you picked up on a few key traits and let your mind fill in all of the blanks.” They’re just a stand-in for the shit you want to do.
It’s fine to want to do things with them — awesome! — but if your focus is their role in doing these things with you, it’s a bad sign.
If you “just want someone to love”
Or you just want a husband, spouse, or parent to your future children.
This is the exact same point as above.
If you don’t find joy in sharing the things they love
Not every day, but sometimes. If it brings you no delight whatsoever in seeing how happy it makes them, and how happy they are that you’re experiencing it too, then odds are good it’s not love.
If you groan or sigh or roll your eyes when they start talking about what they love
News flash: not everything is about you.
If you can’t sit quietly and smile at their sheer delight whenever they talk about what they love — their work, or cars, or sports, or celebrities, or the intricacies of the beer brewing process, or the history of the Civil War, whatever — then the problem is you and your pseudo-love for them, not them.
If you don’t ask about, hear out, or try to help solve their issues
If you avoid noticing problems as they come up. If you wait for them to say something. If you deny or discredit anything they mention, saying things like “it’s not that big of a deal,” or “you’re imagining that,” or “can’t we just get along?”
If you don’t try. And I mean really try — not “hear them out” and then say you’ll “try” without ever actually trying. I mean actually making an honest, deliberate effort to do the things they ask — not to avoid getting “yelled at,” but because you love them.
Not just the things you deem “real” or “important,” but the things that bother them as well.
If you get impatient or frustrated by their concerns, complaints or responses
“In your mind, you’re dating a likeminded person, who sees things in many of the same ways that you do. In reality, the responses your partner gives you in conversation often frustrate or disappoint you.” — Heidi Priebe
If you’re not intrigued by someone’s unique personality, and instead feel annoyed by them, then what you feel for them is not love.
If you move across the country and leave them behind — or don’t follow them when they move
Something was more important to you than them — either exploring a new city, staying in your old one, or maybe just the opportunity to not be together in the same place (let’s be honest.)
If you give them a marriage ultimatum
Plain and simple: marriage was more important to you than they were. And you may like to play pretend that “marriage” and “love” are synonymous, with one being a representation of the other, but the reality is that if you drop them in pursuit of marriage, you’ve made a choice.
If you expect — or expected — them to fit into the box of your idea of a partner
And only that box. Without yielding to who they actually are, or what they want and need.