It Took Me 3 Painful Break-Ups to Finally Realize Love’s True Meaning

Love isn’t (just) a hormonal cocktail, deep connection, or lock-and-key compatibility

Neeramitra Reddy
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readFeb 15, 2024


Photo collage of the author with his 3 ex-girlfriends (Who form the base of this article)
All photos in this article courtesy of the author (Faces blurred for privacy reasons)

Hiding the hot tears streaking my face, I stormed away. The soccer court that used to blush at our starlit kisses mocked me. Her taunting half-smile threatened to haunt me.

We’d both known from the start it couldn’t last. She was going abroad for her master’s, and I was only a sophomore. But my naive teenage self was drunk on hope — and “We’ll see when the time comes” arrogance.

Her absence drained my face and world of color. Life became a loop of Lana Del Rey, heartache, and nostalgia…

The serendipity that cast her as the photographer of my bodybuilding debut. The stirring eye contact that made me hunt for her — offline and online. Our world-melting first kiss. Time-dissolving strolls under starlit skies. The silent library hours of singing hormones.

“It was true love. How cruel of the world to separate us.” I drowned in self-pity.

The author’s bodybuilding meet where he first saw his then-girlfriend and the only photo with her he’d ever taken
The fateful meet she’d photographed and the only photo of ours I’d taken.

As time marched, memories and heartache faded. Color and zest returned. Healing and wisdom arose.

But only two years later would I realize how wrong I’d been.

“I hate fireworks,” her eyes grew distant, “They fizzle out fast.”

As I twirled her dandelion curls, “Too bad we’re fireworks, darl.” my mind whispered.

Smelling of jasmine and dark fantasies, she was intoxicating. From Bumble to bed in 2 days, our chemistry had defied the pandemic. The ‘love signs’ were stronger than last time. But my scar-healed heart knew to be wary. It was also learning the unsexy necessity of relatability.

Her need for weed and rum warred with my self-improvement life. While my simplest ideas flew over her head, her whims puzzled mine.

Our last date was sour, but tension lingered — and we made out as hungrily as ever. As she stormed out beet-faced, I admired those dandelion curls for the last time.



Neeramitra Reddy
Human Parts

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