She told me she hated children
“I’d been with Lily* for about several months and really enjoyed our relationship – it was fun and easy-going and we both has lots in common. Still, I couldn’t commit to her the way she wanted because I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about her.
That issue was put to rest when we passed a group of children while we were out one afternoon. She looked at them in disgust and said that she hated kids and hoped to never have any herself. That upset me a little because I want to be a dad someday.
In that instant, I felt an intense dislike towards her and told myself, ‘Nope, this woman isn’t for me’.” – Benjamin*, 34, teacher
I wanted to be with my friends more than with her
“I knew I wasn’t in love with my girlfriend of three months when I realised that I preferred hanging out with my buddies more than with her. I hadn’t even noticed it until my friends pointed it out. One night we were having drinks after playing football when they commented that I spent more time with them than with her.
Without thinking, I blurted out, ‘She’s not that fun to be around, anyway’, before it dawned on me what I’d just said. I knew right then that, not only was I not in love with her; I probably didn’t like her very much, either.” – Caleb*, 32, manager
I didn’t want to marry her
“My girlfriend had been dropping hints about wanting to get married. I loved her but I wasn’t sure if I loved her enough to want to spend the rest of my life with her. For months I pretended not to hear her whenever she said things like ‘We should get a place together’ and ‘We should get engaged soon’.
One day she gave me an ultimatum – ‘Marry me within the year or it’s over’. After some soul-searching I decided that she didn’t truly have my heart. And I knew myself – if I really were in love with her I probably would’ve married to her already. So I did the right thing and walked away.” – Jonah*, 34, engineer
I couldn’t open up to her
“Being in love means knowing that you can be emotionally vulnerable with the other person. It means knowing that you can trust them with your innermost secrets and fears, and it means not being afraid to be yourself around them.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do or be any of those things with my last girlfriend. We had been dating for several weeks and I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t know what.
When I experienced a personal problem I realised I couldn’t open up to her about it, and what’s when it hit me that, while I liked her a great deal, I just wasn’t in love with her.” – Eugene*, 40, designer
I didn’t want to meet her family
“I had been dating Marie* for four months, then one day she told me that she wanted to arrange a dinner so that I could meet her parents. When I asked her why, she replied that we were in a serious relationship so it was only right that my parents got to know me.
I was floored. As far as I was aware, there’d been no talk about anything long-term. I mean, I liked Marie but was quite satisfied with our relationship the way it was and didn’t see the need to move it forward. And when I thought about a future with her I felt horrible, like physically sick.
It occurred to me that I shouldn’t be feeling that way, and that if I were really in love with her I’d have no problem meeting her family.” Jonathan*, 35, sales executive
I chose my ex-girlfriend over her
“I was in a relationship with this amazing woman who was smart, well-liked and a lot of fun. I loved her a lot but I still felt like something was missing. I didn’t feel as emotionally connected to her as I would have liked. Nevertheless I stayed with her, thinking that one day the connection would come.
Then by chance, I bumped into my ex-girlfriend and my heart literally skipped a beat. We spent the next few days talking and I realised that I was still in love with her. And, just as luck would have it, she was single.
The choice was clear – I had to leave my girlfriend. Staying in the relationship wouldn’t have been fair to her because she deserved a man who was wholeheartedly in love with her, and unfortunately that man wasn’t me.” – Trey*, 36, lawyer
I didn’t want to know about her health problems
“I was dating a woman whom I thought I was in love with. I even thought I could make her my wife someday. When she started experiencing serious health problems and was worried that she might have cancer, I found myself pulling away from her.
I felt awkward visiting her in hospital after her surgery and didn’t want to hear about her medical condition. Then I learnt that she might need to spend the rest of her life getting medical treatment.
One night, as I watched her sleep while she was recovering at home, I asked myself to be honest about how I felt about her, and the answer was too important to ignore: ‘You don’t love her as much as she deserves’, said my conscience. ‘You’re not in love with her like that’. As painful as it was to break up with her I knew I had to.” – Ray*, 39, editor
*Names have been changed.