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Was I not in love, or did I just have my guard up


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I’m a self-conscious, insecure 30 year old. Never been in a relationship. Rarely dated. Then I was in a relationship for a year. I never said “I love you” to her. She broke up with me a little after the one year mark. Her name was Julie.



I think I had a wall up from the beginning and never gave myself a chance to fall in love with Julie. I was scared that I was going to fall in love with the first girl I dated and was missing out on other opportunities. I never went after other girls, but couldn’t help think about “what if I was dating that girl,” and so I didn’t let myself fall in love because then I would be 100% committed to my relationship, and the possibility of other girls would be completely out the window. (again, while I would look at other girls and think about missing out, I was committed to my relationship. I would never cheat on her).



This part I really, really hate. When I say that I would look at other girls and think, “I could be dating her,” what I’m really saying is, “I wish Julie was as sexy as her.” I am not saying that I found Julie unattractive. She is very pretty. I just did not find her “sexy.” If I am at the store and a girl in yoga pants walks by I would think “Holy crap, I would love to have sex with her.” If Julie was wearing some yoga pants, I would find her attractive, but would not get that “holy crap” feeling. Because of this, I think I was holding back in the beginning because I was too worried about her looks rather than really getting to know her. I feel like I always thought, “I wish she was hotter.” I know I am a POS for this, but I couldn’t help it. I think if I would have let my guard down and let myself fall in love, I would have ended up seeing her as the most beautiful woman in the world, and not worry about if I could have had a hotter girlfriend. I really, really hope that letting myself fall in love allows me to overlook any physical attributes I find less attractive in someone.



On that note, I was overanalyzing everything from the beginning, and focusing on the things I didn’t like that would not make the relationship work rather than the things I did. I was spending too much money going out - so I put up a guard because that’s not the lifestyle I like to live. Or she would like to sleep late, like real late on the weekends - I viewed that as lazy, and instead of talking it out with her and letting her know I would appreciate it if we could get up earlier together, I would start to resent her for it. I would just use little things like that that I did not like to give me reason to keep my wall up in the beginning



And while I never told Julie I loved her, I would say it to myself sometimes when kissing her goodbye for work or after saying goodnight over the phone.



When she broke up with me, she was very busy and stressed with work, and I had been completely stressed out from work too. I was not doing great financially, and I worked a lot of weekend days, so we never got to go on any trips or have a weekend getaway. It was just the same routine with some dinners out and a few other date nights in between.



Although I never told her I loved her, and although I was holding back, and although I was not sure if I actually was in love with her, when she broke up with me, I broke down. I cried that night, I cried the whole next day, I am starting to cry while typing about it right now. It made me realize how much I did care about her.



It has been just about a year since we broke up. We would text a little bit in the beginning of the breakup. When we would text I would feel so great, so happy. When we went a few days without texting, and I would realize she is not in my life, I would get depressed and sad. We did get together for dinner and some drinks 2-3 months after breaking up, and then again about a month after that. I would be so happy to meet up with her, but I immediately put a wall up and would not let myself have or show feelings of love. I just kept it friendly.



The last time we saw each other was November, but we would still text a couple times a week. I just could not let her go. Anytime I thought about a conversation that involved saying “we should cut off communication,” I tear up. I am holding back tears just from typing that sentence. The only reason “we should cut off communication” crossed my mind is because unless we completely stopped talking, I would never let myself get over her. And it’s not that I wanted to get over her, I wanted to be with her; but I wouldn’t allow myself to admit it and take action. So my thoughts were, “since I can’t admit I love her, and I am getting depressed thinking about not having her, I need to get her completely out of my head so I can focus on other girls.”



But no matter how much I cry, no matter how much I hate the thought of Julie not being in my life for good, when I tell myself that I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her, I always follow that statement with, “But do I?” Anytime I thought about saying I love you to her while we were going out, I always thought, “but do I?”



While I have never been in a relationship, I do think I have been in love. I worked a summer job for a few summers and had a crush on a girl - Emily. The summer after my freshman year of college, my crush for Emily grew. We had deep, intimate conversations - conversations I would not allow myself to open up to Julie about. But we were the ultimate Jim and Pam story. We worked together, we were in love with each other, but she was in a relationship. Emily was too nice to leave him, and I never expressed my true feelings (even though we both felt it) so that she would have reason to leave him. I went back to college and she was able to spend more time with him with me gone, and we stopped talking after a while. I don’t think I ever got over her.



I think part of the reason I held my feelings back with Julie and wouldn’t let myself fall in love, is that I did not have the same feelings when I was with Julie as I felt when I spent time with Emily. But I also fear that I never developed those feelings with Julie because I never allowed myself to open up and be vulnerable with her, and I’m not sure if you can fall in love without opening up like that. (I told Emily I was a virgin, and that was my deepest, darkest secret at the time. She was too, and I knew that, so that helped me express myself. But the feelings for Emily grew exponentially after talking with her about that on that night.)



So I think that I can fall in love with Julie if I would just allow myself to open up, to have those intimate, vulnerable, scary conversations that we never had. I never got too much into my relationship history (she knew I never had a girlfriend before her, but I never talked about my summer or previous feelings with Emily - or any of my other sexual encounters - from college and later - I never did anything physical with Emily). I also did not ask Julie to get too into her relationship history - probably because I would have then had to talk about mine, and I was too scared to do that.



I write all of this to say that, even though it has been a year since we broke up, I feel like if I told Julie that I was in love with her, and I was ready to open up and give my everything to her and not hold back my feelings, I think she would take me back. She broke up with me because I would not share my feelings, I would not be vulnerable.



But my problem is that even though I want to tell her I love her, and I want to hold her in my arms and kiss her, I want to spend the rest of my life with her… I still ask, “but do I?”



With Emily, I wanted to spend all of my time with her, I KNEW that she was the one for me. I did not have that with Julie. I did not KNOW that she was the one for me, and that is why I held back and never said I love you.



Now I am afraid that because I never opened up and got vulnerable with Julie, I missed out on the opportunity to fall in love with Julie and find out if she was the one for me. I want to ask for her back and to let myself open up and be able to let myself love her. But I am afraid that I might not fall in love with her. I am afraid to tell her I love her and start rebuilding our feelings only to then tell her another month or so down the line, “actually, I guess I’m not in love with you.” I can’t do that to her.



I had gotten so used to having my wall up and not being vulnerable around her, that I am afraid if we got back together that my wall would go right back up and I would still not let myself fall in love.



My phone is right here. I want so badly to text her and ask what she is doing this weekend and if she wants to get together. But I am so terrified to do that also. I just think if we get together to talk about all this, then after we see each other, we will either end up calling it quits for good and no longer texting and completely letting each other go; or we will get back together and she will give me another shot. I honestly don’t know which scenario I am more afraid of.


But I got a new job several months back. My hours are better, my pay is better, my quality of life (aside from everything you just read) is better. Life-wise, I am in a much better spot to be in a relationship than I ever was when I as with Julie.


Did I miss my chance at love with Julie? Is there still a chance that I can fall in love with her if I let my guard down and open up? Did I love Julie but was not actually “in love” with her, and therefore we need to stay broken up? Am I in love with Julie, but just can’t figure out how to let her know or how to let myself love her? These are the questions that eat at me. Sorry if this is jumbled and there are random thoughts everywhere. I have wanted to get this off of my chest for a while. Any advice is extremely appreciated, and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

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I think it's normal for anyone to have brief thoughts of other people that are attractive even in a relationship. It's just a part of being human but if you found yourself doing this and questioning your feelings about your gf that's not love. When you fall in love with someone that person tends to be attractive and sexy to you no matter if they look like a super model or not. They just become cute in their own unique way. If there is always that looming "but do I?" Then maybe your gut is telling you something. I'm not saying that you don't love and care about Julie a lot but you probably aren't IN LOVE if you are questioning it.


Ultimately, in order to allow yourself to fall in love with anyone it's going to take some work and vulnerability. I know it's not easy. I deal with anxiety and I can get shy and I have fears of getting hurt. It's easy to put walls up to protect yourself. Part of being in love involves tearing down those walls, taking a leap, being willing to open up to the person and accepting that it may be a risk. You can do it! I believe in you. You just gotta work on yourself and make it a goal to take more risk in your relationship and begin opening up and being honest with yourself and others.


At this point, so much time has passed that I'm not sure if it would benefit you to tell Julie how you feel and if you still have that seed of doubt then maybe it wouldn't be worth it incase she decides to give it another go and you find that you don't love her like you think you could and then disappoint her again. You can't go back and change the past now but you can choose to make a change for yourself now and for your future that any future relationship you enter you try your best to let down your walls, be completely honest, and open up as you get to know each other. Don't hold yourself back. Being in love involves the risk of getting hurt but you could find that you could fall in love with someone that falls in love with you too and it could be amazing!

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I think you developed sincere feelings for Julie, but you were afraid of them and because of that you simply wouldn't allow yourself to give your heart to her. Doing that takes confidence and reassurance in yourself, knowing that you could possibly get hurt, but being willing to take the risk. It is something that you are not yet willing to give, at least not with that particular person. I would say you need to do some inner work to discover the reasons why you are afraid to open up and let someone into your heart and learn how to allow yourself to do so at some point in the future. Love is always a risk. It's always uncertain, but you have to be certain as to whether or not it's something you will allow yourself to experience.

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I think your biggest problem is that you place so much importance on being in control (not saying "I love you," not admitting to (and thus resolving) problems in the relationship). Instead, you nurse resentment and FOMO, and you are ungrateful.


Really, it's like a curse. You can't enjoy the things that you do have because you don't have everything that you could possibly want.


You lie to yourself and get hung up on absolute fiction, like you KNEW Emily was the one for you.... if that's the case, where is she now? Not with you. Yet you'll actually compare your non-relationship with Emily to your real relationship with Julie and somehow make Julie come out as less.


It's really a bad, unwise habit that you have.

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Start fresh. Join some groups, clubs, volunteer, and get on some quality dating apps. Stop ruminating about the past. Older, wiser, in a better place so experiences from the past would not fit you now.

I’m a self-conscious, insecure 30 year old.But I got a new job several months back. My hours are better, my pay is better, my quality of life (aside from everything you just read) is better. Life-wise, I am in a much better spot to be in a relationship than I ever was.
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How would you have felt if Emily said that maybe , just maybe she could love you (yet doesn’t) !?


Unfortunately for Julie she did like and love you but was unwittingly your first gf.

Which seemingly gave you a false confidence that you could have anyone you want.


You need to be realistic here which you are not being.


And you need to let Julie go to be with someone who won’t have to think if they could learn to love her but actually will .


If you have even the tiniest bit of respect for Julie , you will cut her off completely.


The only reason you miss her is because when she is not giving you attention , you are getting none.


She deserves better , surely you agree with that?

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I might be a hopeless romantic, but I think when you are actually in love, you just know. If you spent a year with Julie and "I love you" just can't come out of your mouth, then you probably don't. You won't love every single person you try to date. The idea though if you're not falling for them is to end it faster than after a year. Also it's now been a year since Julie broke up with you and you've been for drinks and all that, and you never tried to get her back. If you keep asking yourself the last two years if you love her, you probably don't.

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Did I miss my chance at love with Julie? Is there still a chance that I can fall in love with her if I let my guard down and open up? Did I love Julie but was not actually “in love” with her, and therefore we need to stay broken up? Am I in love with Julie, but just can’t figure out how to let her know or how to let myself love her? These are the questions that eat at me. Sorry if this is jumbled and there are random thoughts everywhere. I have wanted to get this off of my chest for a while. Any advice is extremely appreciated, and I thank you for taking the time to read this.


Yes, you love Julie. If you didn't, you wouldn't be this torn up about her. I'm going to disagree that you didn't love her just because your head was turned by "hotter girls". Even when you're in love, you are still going to be attracted to other people. There's a difference between people you'd just like to have a tryst in the sheets with and someone you'd like to marry. The two can intersect, but they don't always. I think this can make young people VERY confused about love and desire. I'll be honest, my current husband is not the man I've ever been the most sexually attracted to in my entire life. But I'm madly in love and because of that, he has grown sexier to me. And while my head might occasionally be turned, my heart never will. My husband and I are honest with each other. I know that I'M NOT the woman HE'S ever been the most sexually attracted to either. But he loves me, and therefore his heart will never be turned, even if he sometimes wonders " I wonder what she's like in bed". IMVHO, that reaction is HONEST and HUMAN and I truthfully believe that everyone, married or not, does that at LEAST occasionally, whether they verbalize it or not. So, whether you get back with Julie or not- PLEASE do not equate "If I was in love I would NEVER find anyone else sexually attractive" because that's hogwash! Besides, we all know that you can THINK someone will be great in bed and they might NOT be and vice versa.


It's normal to wonder WHAT IF with certain people. Most of us had a "one that got away" or a "what if" person. I know I do. What's important to recognize is less about Julie and more about YOU. Based on everything you said, I think you need to see what happens. (As long as Julie is single and you are not not committed) I see nothing wrong with telling Julie how you feel/felt. Sometimes I think we need to just get emotions out or have some sort of resolution. Maybe once you do that, her reaction will be less important than the act of you freeing yourself. It's up to her how she responds and then how that response makes you feel. You will never know unless you do it.


Something I think you need to realize. Even when you love someone TRULY MADLY and DEEPLY- you are not ALWAYS going to feel "in love" with them. Ask anyone who has been married for more than a decade. I am MADLY in love with my husband but TRUST ME_ they are MANY days that I do not FEEL "in love" with him. This is normal, because no one and no relationship is perfect.


I think you need to reach out to Julie. Trust what's in your heart and stop over-analyzing in your head. There will always be reasons NOT to do something. But if you are feeling this strongly deeply in your heart, then I see no reason not to go for it. At least tell her how you feel. Maybe she has always wondered too, and if nothing else- this could a nice and freeing resolution. Maybe nothing happens and you're no worse off.

But imagine the good that could happen. And if you're smiling right now- THAT'S REAL LOVE- whether you end up in a romantic relationship with her or not.


Best of luck to you.

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