Most of us have grown up on a steady diet of romantic stories and media. And even though we say that we understand it’s all fiction, and that we get that real life isn’t a fairytale, these things still have a way of creeping into our consciousness and making us expect things we likely shouldn’t expect.

Love, like all of life’s worthwhile pursuits, is complicated. It’s messy.

And it has some harsh truths. Like the ones uncovered on this r/AskReddit thread:

What are some harsh truths about love and attraction?
byu/potatoknight15 inAskReddit

We don’t have time to go through all 3,000+ bits of advice and opinion, but here are some of the top ranked insights from Redditors.

1. Closure isn’t closed.

Closure doesn’t make feelings disappear.

– 01kaj10

2. Breaking up is ♫ hard tooo do ♫.

From my experience, breaking up is always harder than I thought it would be

– wfrb17

3. Agree to disagree.

Love doesn’t mean that you will always agree with each other and will never have an argument.

– FloSH_02

4. Perfection is an abstraction.

There is no perfect person for you.

There is only someone who you can handle the flaws they have.

– captrobert57

5. You can be dumb, too.

No matter how intelligent or rational you are usually, it all goes out the window once you are attracted enough to someone.

You will behave in irrational and downright STUPID ways. Do things you can’t explain.

And afterwards wonder what the h**l you were thinking.

– [user deleted]

6. Attraction isn’t everything.

Your partner is going to be attracted to other people but as long as he/she respects you, you don’t have to feel intimidated by this

– babyishAuri

7. “Meh” means “no.”

Hard pill for me to swallow tonight: If it’s not an enthusiastic h**l yes, then it’s a no.

And I don’t mean that just in a sexual way. Obviously if someone isn’t excited about sexy times, then you absolutely need to stop.

If someone says they want to hang out and blow you off for several hours then it’s a no.

– pancake-pretty

8. Break the routine.

1) you are usually attracted by someone different from you, that feels new and exotic, but it’s usually easier to respect (and thus love) someone who is more akin to you.

2) attraction comes and goes, but routine is the enemy #1. In long term relationships and in marriage you need to actively swim against the current of routine.

You will only bring yourself to do it if you love your partner and yourself, because it’s a constant struggle.

– Glum-Tie

9. Don’t chase ghosts.

You’ll probably not find that 10/10 significant other.

I could make a whole list for a perfect girl but realistically, she’s maybe not out there.

You don’t know if she wants to be with you for the rest of your life.

That’s the scariest thing to me about love.

– Juicemuse

10. Life isn’t scripted.

Two people falling in love like in the movies is possible but completely accidental and a lot of people will die never experiencing it.

– iamnowhere92

11. Is it equal?

There is always one partner that loves more

– rocker49107

12. You can fall out of love.

You can still love someone, but no longer be “in love” with that someone.

A backwards slide from lover to friend.

– likesturtles

13. Trust doesn’t mean certainty.

You will never be 100% sure that your partner won’t cheat on you, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it from happening.

– hyunn1e

14. Put in the work.

“Love is all you need,” is a crock of s**t.

Love is important in a relationship, but people can love each other very much and make each other absolutely miserable.

There’s more to relationships than a feeling.

– EasternShade

15. Don’t think too hard about this one…

Your parents have influenced who you find attractive.

– shaka_sulu

16. No refunds, no returns.

just because you love someone, there’s absolutely no guarantee they’ll ever love you back

– Senepicmar

17. Love is a verb.

Love is a choice you make every day. Don’t follow the butterflies, those will come and go.

Find someone who you think will make a dependable and honest partner.

Oh, and if you see crazy coming, CROSS THE STREET. I don’t care how hot they are or how good the s** is.

I am saving you heartache, listen to me and learn from my pain.

And I don’t care who you are: you KNOW when someone is not good for you. Listen to your gut.

– FudgySlippersv

18. You cannot be without a doubt.

You’ll always have doubts, it’s inevitable.

– ZeoDaiko

19. Hope for better, prepare for the worst.

“For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or in health” never happens how you planned life.

Love is a daily decision to make your relationship more important than all the things that suck about life.

– postedByDan

20. You’re not immutable.

Your partner isn’t obligated to find you “sexy” by default just because you are with them.

You could become a lazy fat slob,


Change your hairstyle


they could still love you, but be turned off physically by you.

– 9point9five

21. Being loved is not loving.

The saddest thing in a relationship (that isn’t outwardly awful/abusive) is when someone dates another person because that person likes them.

It’s like telling yourself that you aren’t good enough, so let’s settle for this person.

I’ve seen a lot of ruined friendships because one person mistook the attraction of being loved with actually being in love.

– hello_i_am_M

22. There’s more to life.

For a lot of people, love isn’t enough and attraction is necessary.

– Ms-Charlie

23. Don’t go chasing waterfalls.

Never never NEVER chase after someone. If they don’t actively like and show interest in you, you cannot make them.

No scheme, strategy or gesture will make them want you and you cannot change yourself to make them want you.

Fortunately you really, truly don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t like you just the way you are.

Unfortunately this truth is impossible to believe or fully understand until you have met someone who likes you just the way you are, and that’s how dating apps, expensive clothing brands, diet companies, and beauty supply stores stay in business.

– BeckyBraunstein

24. An extended metaphor:

Love may well be the port you’re trying to dock in, but attraction is more likely to be a siren’s song than a lighthouse.

And like most sailors, you’re probably too desperate and a little stupid to tell the difference.

– Zeruvi

25. If there’s only one person for you out there, you’re kinda screwed.

There will be inner doubts about your choice of partner.

Despite the fact that you love him/her. Sometimes you think…could I have done better?

Thing is… the answer is statistically “yes”. Yes you could have.

But there are 7 billion people out there, and time is limited, so you probably wouldn’t have.

And that’s okay too.

– AnneofDorne / Nervous_Service

26. Some folks are the ultimate pessimists.

Best case scenario, you both die at exactly the same time.

Normal scenario: one of you dies first, leaving the other alone and heatbroken.

Worst case scenario: you split, leaving one or both of you heartbroken.

It’s a classic lose lose lose situation.

– coordinatedflight

27. Love and attraction don’t always go together.

You might fall in love with a person that you are not attracted to.

You might forgive a thousand short-comings of a person you are attracted to.

Both suck and both are great for their own reasons.

Throw in age, or where you’re at in life, and both are going to suck eventually.

– Stabfacenotback

28. All things end.

Just because both partners love each other, it does not mean the relationship will last.

– Cheetodude625

29. Don’t rely on hotness.

Love and lust are two very different things.

Lust will always fizzle out eventually.

You better have something to fill the gap or your relationship is doomed.

– mrs__whatsit

30. And finally, the wisest words of all…

“Orgies are not too much fun if no one wants to do it with you.” – Dr. Steve Bruhl

– kernel-troutman

Not exactly fun and roses, but facing sobering truths like this once in a while helps us keep a good perspective, and a good perspective will lead to a better life. 🙂

What would you add to this list?

Tell us in the comments.