7 Things “I Love You” Doesn’t Mean

7 Things “I Love You” Doesn’t Mean

Love is a word that is thrown around a lot. It’s a beautiful feeling and essentially, love makes the world go round. It takes time to develop a true and sustainable love but it’s worth it when you have it in your life.

In romantic love, there can be confusion about this feeling. The three fundamental components of love are trust, honesty, and respect. When those components are constantly stomped on by your significant other, this leads to a lot of doubt that love is real. When someone pledges their love to you, there are seven things they should never do. Even if they still tell you they love you, it may just be a weapon they know to use in order to keep you. You can call them deal-breakers, or whatever you want, but when they occur, you have to ask yourself if their love is worth the pain.

1. Cheating Behind Your Back

Cheating is a complex web that can have many reasons attached to it. Maybe it comes from boredom in the relationship, or maybe your partner just can’t commit to one person. Cheating is bad enough, but when it’s done for long periods of time behind your back, there’s also dishonesty. Communication has been lost and they’re living a life that you have no idea about. If you find out and they beg you to stay and tell you they still love you, this is questionable.


2. Lying About Nearly Everything

When you’re constantly told lies, something will eventually give. It may take some time to realize that you’re being lied to by the person who says they love you. Just like cheating, they are disrespecting you. They don’t trust that you can handle who they really are.

One of the things they’ll say in defense when you approach them is that they love you. Being that a chronic liar doesn’t feel good enough about themselves to be real about who they are, they need you. So yes, they are dependent on you, but only until you call them out. They will beg you for a while, and give you false promises, but in the end they’ll ghost you out of embarrassment.

3. Physical Abuse

People that choose physical abuse may in fact truly love you. The issue is that this love is extremely painful, stressful, and destructive. You will have to contort yourself to try to please your abuser, and may even start to crave the aftermath of a violent bout. Once your partner has calmed down after abusing you, you will be showered with more love than you can imagine.


Love may be there in moments, but there is also a lot of anger and intent to harm. This is not what a long, healthy, and loving relationship should ever be based on. They don’t really love you because they don’t love themselves.

4. Mental Abuse

When your partner insults you in public or behind closed doors, this is often even more painful and confusing than physical abuse. The pain you feel in your heart when your partner puts you down is real. They are breaking you down until you can’t feel anything, and they do this for the purpose of keeping you with them. Your self esteem gets so low, you separate yourself from those who really love you, and feel that you’re not good enough for something better.

This is not the image you had of love when you dreamed about it as a child. That’s because it really isn’t. Even if they really love you some of the time, they tend to use the word love more to keep you than anything else.


5. Guilt Trips

When your partner makes you feel guilty about making them feel badly, they aren’t taking responsibility for their own actions. If they are jealous, they may work hard to make you feel badly because you talked to someone else. They may make their depression, anger, or any other negative emotion your fault. Anyone who goes out of their way to manipulate you into feeling guilty is full of cruel intentions. They will destroy your days when they’re having bad days. If something good happens, they probably won’t be thanking you either. If you do get angry, they will likely fall back and tell you that they just love you so much, they worry about losing you. It’s their easy out when things aren’t going their way.

6. Withholding Intimacy

As a way of punishing you for making them feel badly, your partner may withhold intimacy as a way to hurt you. It’s understandable if they’re not in the mood after a fight. However, when you’ve made up, everything seems fine and they still won’t kiss you, hug you, or be intimate, they’re probably still angry. Instead of dealing with the issue and communicating, they will withhold loving gestures in order to continue punishing you.

They are manipulating you so that you never hurt them that way again. They will likely withhold any kind words as well. You may have to beg or suck up for a long time in order to hear the words, “I love you” again.


7. Silent Treatment for Weeks

When someone that says they love you won’t make eye contact or talk to you for weeks at a time, it’s extremely hurtful. They know that they’re hurting you. Part of their personality has made this such an ingrained habit, that even if they wanted to break the silence, they wouldn’t know how to. You are left completely helpless. If you try to get them to talk, this will make the period of silence even longer.

It is suggested that you just ignore them back, but this makes life very tense, and now you’re learning how to keep silence, a weapon you hadn’t used before. Maybe there is love in the relationship, but is it worth getting the silent treatment every time there’s a disagreement between you?

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Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]


Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.


In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]



Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.


Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.


In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.


With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via


[1] US National Library of Medicine: Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain
[2] Daily Mail: Nursing a broken heart? How taking a paracetamol could dull the pain of rejection
[3] Mother For Life: Oxytocin’s Role
[4] Psychology Today: Facebook and Your Brain
[5] Alex Korb: The Upward Spiral

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