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LOVE, HEARTBREAK & CLOSURE? INTERVIEWS.


Welcome back to the interviews!! All I have to say is wow. I think I wanted to do these interviews for a lot of different reasons. The main one being that I don't have all the answers, I don't think any of us really do. But for some reason, collectively, these questions begin to make more sense, love and heartbreak and closure begin to make more sense. Talking about sex is easy for me, it's like talking about food. Talking about raw emotion and love and relationships and what that all means is another story. So I asked other people, and they did a beautiful job of being open, and sharing their thoughts. These interviews kind of healed me as I read them, and I hope they can maybe do the same for you, along with maybe inspiring you in some way shape or form. Enjoy! & maybe grab some tissues.

Sara, living in Paris, France.

Have you been in love?

About two times.

How do you know when you’re in love?

Love is weird. I guess the short answer is that you can feel it. I've always been my own person, even when I've been in relationships. I think love is thinking about someone throughout the day, being like "oh I have to tell them about this"-- whether it's embarrassing, funny, sad, it doesn't matter. You always care what they're up to.

What does love feel like to you?

Love feels comfortable. It’s so nice to trust someone unconditionally. I have a really hard time opening up about personal things and I internalize a lot. There have only been 2-3 people that I could open up to. It’s so nice to have mutual trust and it takes so much weight off of both of your shoulders.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Always having someone to talk to. Also, always having someone to fuck.

What is the hardest part?

I feel like a lot of the people I've been with are from different worlds than me. I like it, but the hardest part is seeing situations in the same light. If you really love someone you are able to see from their perspective. You might not agree, but you more or less understand. To me, that's true love, and it’s really hard to get there.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Absolutely. I've only slept with 5 men and only loved 2 of them. One I didn't love until 2 years after we slept together. I fell in love with him when I wasn't sleeping with him.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

Not necessarily, just different. Being in a relationship allows you to have sex throughout the roller coaster of your life. The best sex I've had was when I was in a heated fight with my ex, and that was the first time I came. I've also had decent sex when not in a relationship, to pleasure myself and blow off steam, which is nice.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Absolutely. I am myself first. I don't think you can truly be in love if you can't remain yourself in a relationship. A lot of times couples will change who they are for their partner and then they're not themselves. I loved my first boyfriend because we had the same friend group but separate lives. At first, he wanted me to be less confrontational and opinionated. I didn't change and he still loved me.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

None of that. If you're in a healthy relationship you have a mutual understanding. You can discuss it, but I don't think a title or even a verbal commitment defines your relationship. It’s about what you’re feeling and your actions with your partner. I've been seeing the same guy since sophomore year of high school (so for four years). He's been one of my best friends, but we've never talked about what we are. We have sex when I'm home. We catch up on life all the time. It’s awkward when people ask me what we are though, especially if they didn't know us in high school. We’re just us.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

It’s so important to communicate. NEVER OVER TEXT. Healthy communication needs to be done over the phone, in person, or in the bed. Tone and body language can make a huge difference in understanding each other.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Absolutely. Love is so different in real life. I love the new emergence of realistic love stories in Hollywood. There's this new movement of successful movies with unhappy endings. My favorite love movie of all time is The Way We Were. It’s Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford and it’s absolutely beautiful. That's a real love movie.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

My best relationship has been with my best friend. No boyfriend so far has been able to top her. I’m completely straight but I really value my friends. It was the best because no matter what shit we were going through we were always able to help each other. I don’t think anyone’s ever been there for me like her and it’s really amazing to have a best friend that gets you. We’re completely opposite in how we live and act but our core is the same. I learned from her how important that is in any healthy relationship.

Have you gone through a break-up?

Yes

What happened to cause the break-up and how did the break up happen?

I cheated on my boyfriend.

Did you get closure?

Yes. We broke up close to four years ago, but it wasn't until last year that I got real closure. I had a dream about him so I wrote him a long note on the flight back from Morocco. I sent it the second I landed at Orly. I had changed so much since the last time we talked. I was ready to apologize for the way I treated him and hoped that he might reciprocate. He did. It felt so good to catch up and end on okay terms. Out of every guy I’ve been with, he loved me the most.

Do you think we need closure?

I think it depends. I usually do not but I knew that I treated him poorly and I wanted to apologize. It depends on the person and what they might consider ”closure” to be. I think if you love someone, you don't just stop when you break up.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

Again, I think it depends. I’ve done both. I think if it’s a tough break-up you need to create closure together. It’s always important to know how your actions affected your partner and to be open about how theirs affected you. Oftentimes in breakups, it’s never one person’s fault.

How long did it take you to move on?

I moved on really fast, so maybe a weekend. We broke up officially on Valentine’s Day. I ate a box of chocolates in bed and read my favorite book and then I felt good. However, four years later I still found myself regretting my actions and stuff until I talked to him.

What did you do to move on?

I realized the reason we broke up was because of me and my flaws. For the final two years of high school, I focused on me. I only saw one other guy in those two years. I think before I was insecure and needed a guy for the wrong reasons. I had to get to a point where men were no longer for validation, but for pleasure. I was basically celibate for 2 years during that time, which was weird. I didn’t use a rebound because my ex was a rebound.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

Not at all. I mean, I regret hurting him and I hope he regrets hurting me. I learned a lot— I was so young and just figuring life out. I am really glad we started dating so young and then I learned about myself after we broke up. Now, in university, I know who I am (haha, I think).

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

Not at all. We met at a dance in middle school and slow danced to Back to December by Taylor Swift. We stayed together until Junior year of high school. I waited 2.5 years until I lost my virginity to him. The timing was all kind of perfect.

Does love scare you?

Not really. I’m a cautious person so I don’t love easily. My dad left when I was in high school and I think after that it’s hard to be hurt any worse. I’m not afraid to take risks if I feel in my gut that it’s right, but I also don’t feel the need to constantly be in love.

Is it worth it?

It absolutely is, just be aware that love can change you. I think there's this awkward stage where you're balancing yourself and your partner, but when you get past that and understand who you are and who they are, you reach a euphoric stage of self-actualization where your purpose is more than just for yourself.

Basia, from Senegal. (Who chose to do her interview in story format, and I love it).

I fell in love for the first time when I was 16. He was a skinny, pale Swedish boy and I was struck by his mysterious and strange aura from the moment I saw him. We struck up a conversation and that was the start of our friendship. He didn’t live in the same country, and it was months of back and forth messages before we saw each other again. That summer we met up in Boston and spent three blissful days together, still the best of my life today.

We fell madly in love and decided to try a relationship, knowing nothing would be easy about it. We were doing long distance, him at a university just outside of Paris, and me finishing up my senior year of high school a continent away. But we made it work, counting down days till one of us flew to the other to spend a blissful week together before going back to our separate lives. Looking back, I don’t know how the fuck I managed to do that, but like they say, love blinds you. When the time came to decide where I would go for uni, I chose Paris. It wasn’t just for him, but it was a big part of my decision.

Being the child of divorced parents whose marriage fell into shambles early on, I never had much faith in love, viewing marriage as a ridiculous contract with the government that had nothing to do with love or commitment. I doubted whether true love could exist, or whether humans could even be monogamous. But when you fall in love, you fall hard. He understood me in a way that no-one had or even tried to before, wanting to understand my mind and my thoughts while loving all the parts of me I had grown to resent. And the sex?

I’d had sex with guys before, but not like this. This was something else, the kind of sex that words fail to do justice.

I don’t believe that love and sex are separate things. Sure, you can have sex without loving someone and vice versa, but sex when you’re in love is a whole different ball game. I never enjoyed sex before him, believing that all the movies and porn depicting women agonizing with pleasure as they climaxed during sex were a joke and that all these women were simply lying. Until I had my first orgasm. He was the first guy to really want to wholeheartedly please me, my pleasure was a priority for him and I loved it. There is something so divine and sacred about sex with someone you love, and even more so when you’re in a relationship with them. You can go from having sex to fucking to making love and it’s all amazing. You let go of any selfishness you have and the other person becomes your priority, nothing else matters in that moment.

We broke up almost a year ago, and yet somehow I haven’t quite grasped the art of closure. And that’s okay. It all happened so fast, at the most inconvenient and yet somehow I suppose the most fitting of times. I was preparing to move to Paris, picturing my life going to classes and sipping wine from my balcony during the week, then taking the train to Reims to spend the weekends with the love of my life. I was with my soulmate and about to begin a whole new chapter of my life in the most romantic and beautiful of cities, everything felt almost too good to be true. My world fell apart on a humid evening late July. I had just finished watching the sun dip behind the ocean from my friends beach side house that I was living in during the summer. A friend of ours called me, she was hesitant and awkward over the phone and I knew something was wrong. She told me he was dating another girl, and that she had proof. I laughed and asked her what drugs she was on. She had a friend of a friend that went to his university and was the roommate of the girl he was supposedly dating and has apparently recognized me from social media and made the connection.

Later that night I called him and asked him straight up. He tried to lie, but eventually gave in and admitted he had been fucking another girl for 9 months out of our one year relationship. The next few weeks were the hardest I had ever struggled to keep my shit together. Little reminders of things like songs, memes, jokes we had shared would send me into a flurry of panicky tears. I knew it was over, that I could never take him back, but it was hard to shake loose from the picture of our future together I had painted for myself. I could see the pity and I-told-you-so-long-distance-never-works looks in my friends eyes, and I hated it. But when you love someone and they love you, you convince yourself that its you two against the world, that you can overcome anything together. I felt naive and stupid for believing him every time he said he loved me, that I was the one he wanted to be with forever, and that we would have lots of little babies and spend our time traveling the world.

Fast forward a couple weeks into my new life in Paris. We hadn’t spoken in over 2 months when I receive a letter from him. I had been struggling to reconcile my new and absolutely amazing life in Paris with the idealistic version of the past I still desperately held on to. I figured this was a chance to have closure, once and for all. We met at a little Italian restaurant just off Champs-Elysee. The food was terrible and he was incredibly nervous. We were both fighting back tears, him apologizing repeatedly for fucking up so miserably and me finally letting myself be vulnerable in front of him and letting him see just how much he had hurt me. He told me he’d done some soul searching, realizing how careless he’d been, that I was the love of his life and he was prepared to do anything just to see me and he with me. He said he would fight for me as long he needed to, that he would prove to me that he had changed. I didn’t believe him nor did I care, it was too late. I knew going into it there was a possibility that this wouldn’t end in closure, that emotions and pheromones would run loose and we would end up sleeping together, and I was right. But I don't regret it because it was part of my closure. Sometimes learning to forgive and see the good in someone again is a part of learning to heal yourself and to let go. I needed to also take time to fill the gap that the breakup left in my self esteem with other outlets, like dancing again, reading more, meeting new people, and going on solo adventures to discover all the quirks and beauty this city has to offer. I've learnt the importance of self-care and investing in myself before anyone else.

I won't lie, i'm scared to fall in love again, scared to let someone have all of me, every insecurity, every fear, every secret, every vulnerability, every shortcoming and all the wonderfulness that I am and can be. But I trust in the universe, and when she decides, love will find me.

Susanne, living in Paris.

Have you been in love?

I think I have fallen in love, which I believe is different to loving someone.

How do you know when you’re in love?

I think it's when being with them feels like you're the only two people in the world and nothing else (other than you two) exists or matters.

What does love feel like to you?

It feels all-consuming.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

The easiest thing is feeling like you always have someone to do stuff with or be around or depend on.

What is the hardest part?

In most relationships, a certain amount of sacrifice is necessary so its hard when you feel like you might be sacrificing a big part of yourself for someone.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

I think there is a common misconception that you have to be in love with someone to have good sex with them. Being in love with someone can certainly make the sex much better because you feel more emotionally connected which will translate through your bodies but at the end of the day sex is a physical act that can be enjoyed without love.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

Yes because you spend more time getting to know each other's bodies better so the likelihood is that you'll know how to pleasure each other better.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Yes but I like when they can cross over (if my boyfriend is friends with my friends)

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

I've always said that as soon as you start seeing someone you're basically in a relationship because by definition a relationship is two people being connected in one way or another. But I think nowadays people really mean they're in a relationship when they're exclusive and they call each other boyfriend/girlfriend. So I would say I was in a relationship with someone if we both agreed that's what we were calling it and we were only seeing each other.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

Usually bitch about it to my friends or my mum and hope I can get over it on my own but if that doesn't work, just confront them and talk it through.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Movies and TV quite often give us the impression that we're meant to be swept off our feet and that love at first sight is real love when really some relationships just grow without you even knowing or realising it's happening.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

I couldn't say which one was the best, they were all good in different ways and all bad in different ways. Perhaps the best relationship I had was with this guy I was the most comfortable with, he made me feel so normal even though we were so goofy together.

Have you gone through a break up?

Many break ups but one really sticks out as the most heartbreaking...

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

His mother passed away and he broke up with me over whatsapp.

Did you get closure?

I created my own closure but it took a really long time. After a couple of years I found closure with him as well actually.

Do you think we need closure?

I think we always feel like we need closure, like we won't be able to get over it if we don't get closure but some things just end and you have to move on.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

Certainly, you don't need an apology or an explanation from the person to get over it. You can find closure within yourself.

How long did it take you to move on?

Easily 2 years and we were only together for 3 months. Sometimes I think I'm still not over it hahaha.

What did you do to move on?

A lot of confidence building for myself, I learnt to depend only on myself and no one else to make me feel good.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

I regretted it when it ended a bit but not anymore. I was very happy with him and I still care for him deeply until this day.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

I met him years before we dated but if I could change something about us dating I would say I would have kept my guard up a bit more and not become so invested in him because looking back I feel like I put so much of myself into him and he didn't really reciprocate it.

Does love scare you?

Yeah scares the shit out of me.

Is it worth it?

I'd like to believe it is. Sometimes heartbreak feels like it was all a waste of time and energy but the feeling of loving someone or being loved is somewhat overpowering and really all we can hope for in this life.

Genna, from Orange County, living in Washington D.C.

Have you been in love?

Yes!

How do you know when you’re in love?

I don’t have one for sure feeling that makes me know I’m in love, it changes each time.

What does love feel like to you?

Like a rollercoaster that takes breaks in a field of wildflowers. It’s exhilarating, exciting, anxiety-inducing but calming and reassuring all at the same time.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Giving someone my time and energy, I am a people pleaser so giving my time and energy comes naturally!

What is the hardest part?

Staying true to myself, as a people pleaser it is often difficult to stay myself when I want to be what the other person wants, especially if I’m in love with that person.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Love and sex are very different, separate things! I think they are confused because of the social pressure to only have sex with people you love, but sex is a physical act and love is a state of being.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

I’ve only ever had sex while in a relationship.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

I’ve only had one significant relationship where we lived on the same floor, had the same friends and class schedule so we were basically inseparable. I absolutely struggled maintaining a separate life while in that relationship, which was mostly due to his intent to isolate me from any outside friends.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

Verbal agreement to be together with set rules and boundaries about commitment to other people, whether that’s deciding to be exclusive and monogamous or being emotionally committed to one person but psychically open.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

I am a big fan of the sandwich tactic, where you sandwich something that is bothering you with two compliments to the other person. It can soften a blow or seemingly random negative comment. I try to avoid making a comment about something unless it occurs repeatedly and is not something I can compromise.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Absolutely. Love is messy and subjective, textbook romcom story lines have changed our expectations.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

Again, I’ve only had one romantic relationship but at the beginning it was supportive, loving, funny, silly and caring. By the end, it was a completely different relationship which was abusive and selfish.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

I would not agree to an open relationship while we each studied abroad. At this time I also received a concussion, by complete accident in my sleep lol, which isolated me from many social interactions leading to a depressive state of mind. At the time I did not know, but my ex had told my friends to stay away from me and only let me spend time with him or his best friend so he could “take care of me” so his controlling, cheating and abusive behaviors also lead to the break up. It happened the day after our first huge fight where he said we either would have an open relationship or nothing while abroad.

Did you get closure?

No, he contacted me and said we would get back together three different times for 8 months after the initial breakup (we never officially got back together at any point).

Do you think we need closure?

I think it’s nice and can accelerate the healing process but it’s not necessary.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

I think so, I’m in the process of creating my own closure so I will update when I know if it works.

How long did it take you to move on?

It’s been almost exactly a year since the original break up but only 4 months since I told him to stop contacting me after he grabbed me and verbally attacked me at a party. I’m still handling that encounter so I haven’t entirely moved on.

What did you do to move on?

I lean on my friends a lot. They all hate him and let me be sad while they are angry. It’s a nice balance.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

I regret my actions immediately before, during and since the breakup. I have not handled it well and have strained a lot of friendships because of it.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

I wouldn’t change anything about our first few interactions, but I would change how fast we moved in our relationship.

Does love scare you?

Absolutely, my only relationship ended up being emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive.

Is it worth it?

I’m not sure right now, check back with me in a few months.

Nailah, currently in India. Have you been in love?

Yes, I think so. Is one ever sure? Because it means so many things for many different people...even the one you may think you are in love with.

How do you know when you’re in love?

I have no clue honestly. I over analyze a lot and as a writer I am naturally in love with everything and even aspects of people I meet. I am still waiting to find someone who shows me what that looks like. In the meantime, I can only define what that means for myself. I am not in love with myself most days but I want to be. I want to be in love with myself entirely and share that with someone I intimately care about.

What does love feel like to you?

Love feels full and empty at the same time. But I also like what Rumi says about love in his collection Birdsong~ “Love is that that never sleeps, nor even rests, nor stays for long with those that do.

Love is language that cannot be said, or even heard.”

What is the easiest part about being in love?

Getting to know the other person and kissing! Lots of kissing and just being flirty.

What is the hardest part?

Being vulnerable and vocal about needing them and or feeling needed by them. It’s also hard when you feel more than they do but I am learning to be kind to myself and trust that I am worthy of feeling love. I just have to come to a place of knowing that someone will feel about me the way I feel about them or myself..the me I long to become.

Are love and sex separate things? If so, do you think people confuse the two? Yes absolutely. Making love is an intention made by both partners and sometimes only one one partner may feel that way. I think the difference is the tone of the act and the amount of passion. That’s where people get them confused but then again what it means to me may mean something completely different to someone else. The magic is when two individuals feel the same way about both and can contribute equal amounts of energy or passion when engaging in either acts.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

Not always but I hope to experience that one day soon. That’s what we all want in a way right? To be with someone who just gets it and everything we do with them is better than alone or with someone else. That’s called a perfect match, right?

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Absolutely but I think that you establish or share apart of that private/sacred space with someone you care about. That makes it even better. Life would feel fulfilling then and that’s so special.

What defines a relationship to you?

A verbal and emotional commitment between partners. It must be mutual and respected otherwise stop wasting each other’s time. A relationship is a way of saying “Yes I am committed to the sentiments shared between us, I want to become a better human being because of it and I want to share that growth with you in the best way that I possibly can."

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

It’s best to talk it out or fuck it out lol. No but seriously, I think that if partners are truly friends with each other then they can work out any kinks in their relationship.

Do you think movies/tv have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

No, I think that those things are great because they give you hope. Love should be lighthearted and fantastic. I think that love comes from the Soul of the World and so such a thing would never be heavy and tragic. Love is something to be handled with care but it should be fun and silly. It’s the union of two souls, of course it is dramatic and a cocktail of other emotions. It is good to remember that Hollywood and Cinema have just as much knowledge about love as we do personally. Films and Tv are only someone’s perspective of love. C’est tout.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

Wow. Well I met a guy about a week before leaving Paris to move back to the US. We didn’t have sex and I think that’s why I treasured that experience so much. But this guy taught me to embrace my flaws and in that act I am loving myself completely. He taught me to breathe. I needed to be reminded what that felt like...I had forgotten. He didn’t question me when I shared parts of myself and I loved that. His receptiveness allowed me to accept myself and see the areas where I wanted to grow. He taught me to trust myself and to seek whatever will purify my soul but also to appreciate the darkness too. I’m in India now, writing this while sitting beneath the gaze of the Himalayas. This lovely guy talked about seeing mountains and I had never seen them before so I spent a year off of college to save money for this trip to India. Now I am looking at mountains and thinking about the journey it took to get here. We were lovers in the short time we had together because we didn’t bullshit each other. We were frank and honest about whatever we felt was worthy of sharing. We taught each other a lot about love based on our experiences and what we would like to have in life. We both knew that what we longed for in a relationship was really something we wanted to feel within ourselves first.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes, a couple times.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

He was an emotionally abusive alcoholic. He lied and did everything to make me feel as badly about life as he did. But I had ended things before they could get any worse. It helped that he had moved to a different country too.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from that partner?

I think that closure is most needed by ourselves first. We need to acknowledge that pain within us and take responsibility for it.

How long did it take you to move on?

I don’t think I was ever really there; I was in this relationship because I was avoiding the me I have become since. I am thankful now. I feel free and safe to live life the way I intend to. Everyone should feel that way or at least something similar.

Does love scare you?

Yes because love, to me, means surrendering. What I treasure most about myself is that I never know when to surrender so I’m constantly having to gather myself and then unfurl time and time again. It’s a process. Instead of hating this aspect of myself, I am learning to value it. It has taught me how to open myself up to others and let them in. I have learned that even when we open ourselves to others, they may not want to come in. That’s ok too. The important thing is trusting the experience and hoping for the chance that we may find someone who wants to stay (even if just for a little bit).

Is it worth it?

I wouldn’t want to experience a life without love. Love is necessary. Love is power. Love is the majestic Himalayas looking down at me. Love is the birds and the wolves howling at night. Love is the moon and the sun. All of life is love.

Anonymous, from the United States.

Have you been in love?

Yes

How do you know when you’re in love?

Knowing that I wanted to spend time with this person, doing mundane things (grocery shopping etc.), feeling understood and like I understood them, feeling comfortable exploring my body with them with no reluctancy or insecurity.

What does love feel like to you?

A judgement free zone. Butterflies in the stomach, unconscious smiling. Wanting to know everything about the person, and their past experiences.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Knowing that I always have someone to go explore/go to events/hang out with - having someone to share intricate details of my day and life with. Comfort.

What is the hardest part?

The end! Feeling responsible for someone's feelings. I think that people forget that a relationship is WORK and you don't just turn around and leave someone, even if they're having a hard time (obviously within limits - if a relationship is becoming co-dependant or abusive, you have the right to leave. Always.)

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

This is a GREAT question. I hadn't thought of it so logically before you presented this question! I think that there is a thin line...but I'm curious to see what others reply to this because I think it's different person to person / relationship to relationship. I think that people do confuse the two though. I think things get sticky when people aren't sure of their "intimacy language". A friend of mine recently recommended the "Erotic Blueprint" quiz to me - it's basically like the "5 Love Languages" I'm sure most of us have heard of, but 5 different sexual styles essentially. It was created and adapted by Miss Jaiya, a somatic sexologist. Taking the quiz (you can find it online through a simple Google search) and listening to Miss Jaiya talk about sex and communication, and how interrelated they truly are, allowed me to understand that sex means something different to everyone on an individual basis! I also have had experiences with men who definitely express their passion or love through sex. I recently was seeing someone who would call our sex "passionate", but we weren't in a committed relationship and he was a total commitment-phobe (I believe this was out of fear of being vulnerable or responsible for anyone else's emotions because he is so unsure of who he is and his own identity, but I digress). I realized that that was his way of telling me he cared about me and had deep feelings for me, even though he couldn't articulate these things with his words. This changed my opinion on what sex means person to person and how different people communicate their feelings.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

I think so. There is an element of trust that makes things more fun. You also get to know someone's body - what they like, don't like, etc. It isn't just a "penetrate and cum" situation.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Totally. I need my space (in a healthy way) - and if you are spending all of your time together, what do you talk about?!

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

I was recently talking to a friend about this. I've started asking people how you know you're in a relationship in your early twenties. In middle/high school, there was definitely a "Will you be my boyfriend / girlfriend" conversation. But I think as we get older, a conversation of exclusivity marks the beginning of an official relationship.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

To be honest, I bitch to my mom. Haha! But eventually I reach the point that I realize a conversation with my partner is necessary.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

I think so! I think that unfortunately there is a lot of borderline co-dependant behavior in "love" in the media. Maybe I just overanalyze everything because I've been in unhealthy relationships and am hyperaware of how toxic relationships can become. I also think that beyond TV and movies, there is a situation with our generation of wanting things "instantly". People forget that relationships take a lot of WORK. But apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, etc. have given us this perception that if things aren't going perfectly in our current relationship, we can find another person within literal seconds. I think that has done us a disservice. Aziz Ansari's book Modern Romance discusses this epidemic a lot, I recommend.

Do you think we need closure?

YES! Absolutely. I think that this a human need. It helps us understand how we can improve as people and how our actions affect others.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

Nope! I think that there is unfair pressure on women to be "perfect". With magazine articles like "the 10 things you're doing that scare him off / push him away" etc, I think that women are made to believe that it's us that need to change. If you find a good man, he will love you for who you are, end of story. I think it's important to take the pressure off of women to be "perfect" or "not clingy". Obviously, within reason. Because some women are codependent, rude, have unrealistic expectations of men, etc. But come on people! It's 2018. Let's stop writing magazine articles that make women like we are doing something wrong. Men need to be accountable for their actions and their emotional growth.

Sarah, from Orange County, CA.

Have you been in love?

Three times.

How do you know when you’re in love?

It's an indescribable feeling like nothing you've felt before. When you know, you know.

What does love feel like to you?

When you put your whole heart and soul into something/someone and it is reciprocated back 100%.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Being able to be with your best friend every day and have the best time no matter what we do.

What is the hardest part?

Trusting in each other fully. Takes time. It's never necessarily about a current relationship, just trusting in general can be difficult if you've had bad experiences in the past.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Oh yes, definitely. There's a huge difference. Love is it's own thing but sex can happen without any emotions at all tied into it.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

In my opinion, yes.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Yes. We both respect each other's lives outside of our relationship life. It's a balance.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

Communication is big for us. We have no issue talking it out and figuring out a solution right then and there.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Sorta. It just seems a little fabricated. It doesn't show what relationships actually are in the real world. Only the good and easy parts about it.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

Currently now. I'm married and I couldn't be more lucky. I just love who I am with him. He truly makes me a better me.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

Basically, he couldn't decide who he wanted to be with. He was sneaking around with his ex for god knows how long and I eventually found out. It really had me questioning my self worth for a while because I felt like she had something I didn't or that I wasn't good enough.

Did you get closure?

Nope. We haven't spoke ever again since that day. This was about 6 1/2 years ago now.

Do you think we need closure?

Sometimes. But in my case, I didn't care at the time. I just wanted to move on with my life and not see him again.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

I think so.

How long did it take you to move on?

At least two years.

What did you do to move on?

Be around people who actually valued me and motivated me.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

I don't regret it at all. We were really good friends for years before we ever got into a relationship. We had a lot of good times and memories. And I honestly don't hold a grudge. I wish him the best in life.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

No. I believe every encounter and person you meet in life or get involved with is a lesson. It only gets you to where you are now.

Does love scare you?

It used to. It's a powerful thing but a truly wonderful and beautiful thing.

Is it worth it?

It is 100% worth it.

Anonymous, living in Los Angeles, CA.

Have you been in love?

Yes!

How do you know when you’re in love?

You just kind of know. It's that feeling of comfort and happiness and being so excited to experience life with someone.

What does love feel like to you?

For me, love has always been scary. All of my past relationships have been abusive, which made me extremely confused about love and what it should feel like for so long. I'm finally in a healthy and happy relationship with someone that I trust and it feels so warm and safe being with this person. I feel like the luckiest person in the whole world.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

For me, I find it easy to completely shut myself off to other people. They become the only person that I see in a romantic or sexual way.

What is the hardest part?

Because of my past, it's extremely hard for me to trust somebody else. I'm so terrified of getting cheated on or losing the person I love that I become possessive and insecure easily. I wish that I didn't have to feel this way.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Yes and yes, definitely.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

YES! When you feel safe, connected, and intimate with only that one person, it's like magic. I have out-of-body and spiritual experiences and I love that I can look into my partners eyes and we can both start crying because of the sacredness that we feel when we're making love.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

I try to but it's hard. Especially when you live with that person because they end up being your go-to for everything. I rarely want to do things alone anymore.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

Commitment and love.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

Although I can be passive, my partner has been teaching me the importance of communication, especially in the moment. I've been trying to voice exactly what I'm feeling without having any anger or accusations about the situations.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Yeah, definitely.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

The one I'm in now because it is so pure. It's just always been about us loving each other and wanting to spend the rest of our lives together.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

I had been cheated on for a year and a half and lied to about my partner's drug, sex, and porn addictions. After I was already in deep with this person, I started to find out who he really was. I ended up losing 30 pounds because I was so depressed and scared. I felt trapped and had nowhere to go. I didn't want to eat or sleep ever. Once I found out that he had slept with someone else and didn't use any protection (and also lied about that), I knew it was time to give up. It was one of the worst experiences of my life but it taught me how to trust my intuition and not settle for anything less than I deserve.

Did you get closure?

Not really.

Do you think we need closure?

Yes.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

Yes. I think it's actually more effective that way. Because when you create your own closure, it allows you to really love yourself through that process.

How long did it take you to move on?

About 6 months.

What did you do to move on?

I tried focusing on myself and I started manifesting everything that I wanted in my next relationship. About a month later, I found the person that I'm with now. We both just got out of relationships which made it pretty scary to fall in love quickly. But we learned so much through our situation that it made us a lot stronger together.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

No because everything timed itself out perfectly. If the break up happened any sooner or later, then I wouldn't have found the person that I'm with now.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

I wish I wasn't in such a vulnerable place in my life. I wish that I was able to see the truth and not give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Does love scare you?

Yes, it's one of the scariest and most beautiful things I've ever experienced.

Is it worth it?

Hell yeah

(Finally, a boy!!)

Andrew, living in San Francisco.

Have you been in love?

Definitely, several times in my life.

How do you know when you’re in love?

When just doing something with them is better than doing anything with anyone else.

What does love feel like to you?

To me, love feels like a big coat that keeps you safe.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Being myself and loving the other person for being theirself.

What is the hardest part?

Remembering that both of us need time away from each other, as well as time with other people.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Completely separate. I don't know if people necessarily confuse the two, but I think way too many people think you can't have one without the other, and vice versa.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

I think the quality of sex depends more on how well I know the person, not whether we're committed to eachother in any particular way.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Absolutely. Part of what I love about being in a healthy relationship is the mutual support to explore our own goals.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

Every relationship I've ever had has been different, and I'm ok with that. I think that the only thing required is mutual trust - titles, traditions, etc. all come secondary, and only if both people want them.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

My partner is the best person I know, so if someone has a critique I take it seriously because they must be serious to bring it to me. If they're just complaining or insulting them, then they couldn't have picked a faster way to lose my respect. Luckily, my partner is amazing!

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Absolutely. Love doesn't have to be filled with big gestures, coy glances, and romantic meetups. Sometimes the times I feel most in love are quiet nights together watching dumb videos online or on a walk to the store to buy candy together.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

My current relationship, by a long shot. Approaching 9 years with the love of my life, and I've never been able to be so open, honest, and enthusiastic about a person in my entire life. We've tried new things, met new people, and traveled the world together. We both support eachother's academic goals as well (we both are pursuing doctorates) and even though we'll be thousands of miles apart for large portions of the next few years, we have zero concern because our relationship is based on such good communication and trust.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes, several times.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

The most official "breakup" I've been through happened because my ex held a sleepover party for her birthday where her friends convinced her I wasn't cute enough for her, so they called me and put me on speakerphone while she dumped me.

Did you get closure?

I certainly knew I didn't want to date her after she made that choice to make a private moment that public, so I suppose.

Do you think we need closure?

Closure can be beneficial, but sometimes I think it's better just to cut the cord and move on from a situation.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

Absolutely! Sometimes just recognizing that a relationship wasn't working for what both of you needed is closure enough. You can never truly know someone else's mind, only what they communicate to you. If they communicate that they want to break up, then all you really need to know is that they weren't happy in the relationship and they wanted to move on.

How long did it take you to move on?

In some cases, weeks. In others, close to a year.

What did you do to move on?

Honestly, I just moved back into my own life. Forcing myself to pursue my interests again and just focus on what I wanted to do rather than what I was now missing was the biggest help.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

Not anymore, because it led me to my current one!

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

I'd probably be more confident, since at the time I felt like everything I did was make or break for our relationship. No relationship should be like that.

Does love scare you?

Not at all! Love is amazing! True love is low pressure, open-minded, supportive, and caring!

Is it worth it?

Without a doubt. Love is worth anything in the world.

Kama, living in Paris.

Have you been in love?

Yes

How do you know when you’re in love?

I know it when I openly accept the other for everything he is, qualities and defaults all in one and truly hope the best for him. He is all I think of and brings the happiness and reassurance in my day.

What does love feel like to you?

Love is being alive, joyful and centered.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

The ability to be yourself completely with him.

What is the hardest part?

Different values and morals.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

I do believe love and sex are two different things according to society. However, I believe sex is a 1000x more valuable, wholesome and powerful when being with the person in love. In other words, sex is the physical act of love.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

Yes.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

I personally can. However, I have a tendency in being very available to the person I am in a relationship with.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

Loyalty, trust, generosity, commitment and ambition for both.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

I usually reveal how I feel and never avoid discussions.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Absolutely. But people don't understand that film is film and reality is reality. I try my best to watch romantic films to "dream" in the moment but not let me have expectations for my real life relationships. Besides, camera angles, lighting and dialogue makes it all special.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

My best relationship was actually a 3 month relationship that continued with 3 more months of long distance. We respected each other in terms of responsibilities, timings and expectations. The best part of the relationship was our mutual respect for each other and the daily romantic messages that kept us looking forward to our day and especially seeing each other.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

The break up was due to his disloyalty. Because the sex was not particularly present (long distance), he searched for it in a woman living where he was living.

Did you get closure?

Yes.

Do you think we need closure?

Yes, it is a better option. But closure, really, is for your own self, which means you can find closure by yourself and not necessarily speak to him.

How long did it take you to move on?

A couple of months.

What did you do to move on?

First of all, I accepted the pain, disappointment and the end of it. Later on, I acknowledged the strength and wisdom it all gave me. This gave me enough strength to move into new resolutions, goals and ambitions.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

Not at all. Breaking up means ending a relationship, not denying all the great memories you have made with him, or even what you lived.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

I would not change anything for the world. I believe the imperfections and details when meeting someone makes it all more romantic and memorable.

Does love scare you?

Not at all.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely, when it is with the right person. Even the feeling of it.

Madeline, living in Montreal.

Have you been in love?

Yes

How do you know when you’re in love?

When you accept everything about that person and still love them no matter what.

What does love feel like to you?

Magic.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Having someone, not being alone.

What is the hardest part?

Trusting.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Yes, they are separate, however growing up I always associated sex with love so I would have a lot of sex because that was me receiving love. Now I understand that sex is a form of love but they are separate.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

If you have a good, special relationship with them. Doesn't necessarily have to be official.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

I've only ever been in one long-term relationship and it was hard but we were also on the same campus and saw one another 24/7.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

Trust and agreement on what it is that we decide to be. Communication is key.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

Talk about it and be honest.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

YES.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

It didn't last long but we were only in it for each other. There was so much love and lust and when we were together it was like no one else existed in the world.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

I wanted independence and I was falling out of love with him.

Did you get closure?

Yes.

Do you think we need closure?

Yes.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

Yes, it is just much harder.

How long did it take you to move on?

A couple months, but I'm also the one who ended things.

What did you do to move on?

Found my independence again and just did me.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

Not at all, it was a great learning experience.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

No.

Does love scare you?

NEVER.

Is it worth it?

ALWAYS.

Anonymous, living in Paris.

Have you been in love?

Yes.

How do you know when you’re in love?

You just know. You feel it inside you and it’s a feeling you couldn’t describe as anything else.

What does love feel like to you?

I can’t really describe it. I just feel my body internally and externally full of little waves of electricity and warmth. Sometimes it even hurts a little. It feels like you would be completely and utterly lost without the person you love.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Doing things for the other person. Little things, little details that show love and affection; showing them you care. Writing them a text, bringing them something you know they will like, making dinner.. Those things really don’t take a lot of effort and come to mean a lot.

What is the hardest part?

Fighting. Not talking. The silence. Feeling like nothing makes sense anymore and things just keep falling apart. Feeling like you’re going to lose the other person because of one stupid little argument. Feeling like they don’t care or aren’t fighting to keep things together.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

I definitely think so. I could feel a very strong love towards my family, my friends but a completely different one towards the person I am in love with and attracted to whom I would have sex with. I think the difference may be in loving someone and being in love with someone.

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

To be honest, I can’t really answer this as I have only slept with two guys: one I wasn’t in a relationship with and one with whom I was. I would probably need to explore a bit more to give the right answer.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

Of course. I don’t think a relationship should ever interfere with the way you live your life.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

To me, being in a relationship with someone means being with that person because you wouldn’t want to be with anybody else. It means committing to that one person and your relationship above everything. It means respecting the other person and respecting yourself.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

Most times I try to communicate with my partner because I think communication is really the solution to most problems. Sometimes I turn to silence and try to avoid conversation though because I am bothered and upset (not very recommended). I also ask for advice a lot of times from my best friend who really knows how to listen and gives wonderful suggestions that sometimes push me to make a better choice.

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

One million %. Before I even knew what sex or a relationship was like I had expectations flying across the roof and when it came to the real thing I thought things weren’t perfect because they “weren’t like the movies”.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

My best relationship is without a doubt the one I am in now because it has been the only long and stable relationship I have actually had. It has probably been the only relationship I have ever been in love in. I have learned so many new things about myself (emotions, feelings, actions I would normally never take..) I never even knew existed. And not to forget that the guy is basically all I have ever wanted in someone.

Have you gone through a break up?

Yes.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

My breakups have been after very short relationships because I had mentioned above I had never been in a long relationship before. It was me who cut things off and the reasons were that I didn’t really have any feelings for the guys and I just knew that they weren’t right for me.

Did you get closure?

Yes, in fact, I am have remained friends with the guys I have dated and I’ve never been through a bad breakup before.

Do you think we need closure?

I think so. I personally would hate to end things with a person on bad terms.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

I can’t really answer this as I don’t have experience with it but I think so. At the end of the day it’s you who decides.

How long did it take you to move on?

Not long.

What did you do to move on?

I just continued with my life really, it was never hard for me as I don’t really feel like I had to move on just simply keep going.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

No, I don’t regret any of my relationships to be honest.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

1. Kissing one of his best friends the night I met him. I had no idea I would even end up liking my ex when it happened and it never affected us, but I sort of wish it didn’t happen nevertheless.

Does love scare you?

Yes.

Is it worth it?

Yes, I guess it really is.

(Ooooh another boy!)

Henry, living in Irvine CA, going to school in Easton, PA.

Have you been in love?

Um, yeah. I mean, love isn’t really a concrete thing. A lot of people say it when they don’t mean it. But I like to think that when I am around someone I can’t stop thinking about and I feel like I’m gonna say something stupid and throw up, that’s love.

How do you know when you’re in love?

When its no longer about you’re needs, but instead, about their happiness.

What does love feel like to you?

It feels like an emotional investment between two parties that can result in positive or negative feelings, based on shifts in the market. Basic supply and demand. It feels different all the time.

What is the easiest part about being in a relationship?

Relationships are not easy. Jk, the sex.

What is the hardest part?

This dick! I’m sorry, I should take this more seriously.

Being completely honest all the time is hard for me. I think I cover up a lot, even to those who know me the most.

Are love and sex separate things? IF SO…Do you think people confuse the two?

Um, yeah, completely separate things. I shouldn’t have to explain that to you.

I think people confuse the two, because physical contact, physical intimacy, and physical warmth feel nice. So nice sometimes that it impacts emotions. And then lonely people just want that contact, or that intimacy, or that warmth to stay in their life, so they can continue to feel nice.

I don’t know. I guess I’ll stick with that though. God, I’m so unsure about this question, but I’m not gonna start hitting the backspace button now. Jesus, take the wheel!

Is the sex better when you’re in a relationship?

For me, yes. In a relationship, it feels like the person you’re with really likes you for who you are, possibly because they do. It doesn’t feel as cheap.

Are you able to maintain your individual life when in a relationship?

In a relationship, you should always be able to maintain some sort of private life. That being said, everybody you expose yourself to in your life will change who you are because of the time you spend with them, even if you only change a little. There is no avoiding it. Hold on to the traits that are important to you. It’s ok to change.

What defines a relationship to you? (Titles, verbal commitment…)

I guess, verbal commitment and spending time together/talking regularly.

When something is bothering you about your partner or the relationship how do you handle it?

Try to talk it out. How the fuck else do you solve your problems?

Do you think movies/TV (The Bachelor, The Notebook) have given us false expectations or distracted us from what love really is?

Yeah. The Bachelor, any dating show, most porn. False expectations are everywhere. My advice? Get comfortable with disappointment.

What was your best relationship and why was it the best?

I was in a year and half long relationship with a girl I met on Tinder, of all places. It started the summer before senior year of high school. There was a lot of driving to her dad’s house in Laguna when he was never home. Frankly, I think I caught her at a really tough time in her life, and I just wanted to help. I hope I helped, cuz it definitely fucked it all up when I went to college.

Have you gone through a break up?

Take a guess.

What happened to cause the break up and how did the break up happen?

Oh fuck, this is awfully personal. Well, I’ve dug this far down. I figure, in for a penny, in for a pound!

I was really distant when I moved out to PA. I never wrote any letters. She wrote me like 5 and mailed me stuff on my birthday. Then I cheated, cuz I’m a rotten son of a bitch. Next question.

Did you get closure?

No.

Do you think we need closure?

It’d be nice.

Can someone create closure for themselves if they don’t get it from their partner?

If you smoke enough pot, you can just closure yourself off from the rest of the world.

How long did it take you to move on?

HA!

What did you do to move on?

You’re funny.

Do you regret the relationship because you broke up?

No. It was nice, while it lasted.

If you could go back to when you first met that person would you change anything?

Absolutely not. If I could relive the last couple years, word for word, I would.

Does love scare you?

No doubt, love is scarier than any creature on God’s green earth. Like if I could choose between being mauled by a bear and falling in love right here and now, I’d choose the bear. But that’s just cuz I’m in PA. I go back to CA soon, and I’d fall in love over there. It’s just rather inconvenient over here.

Is it worth it?

Well, yeah. Love is like the dankest drug out there, man.

Hope you enjoyed these interviews as much as I did! Thank you again to everyone who participated; Your honesty and vulnerability are a gift. Until next time my little lovebirds xoxo.

#love #heartbreak #closure #breakups #makeups #sex #interviews

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