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Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
― Joan Crawford

It’s something that I have noticed previously but not given much thought to. I realise now how it works. Funny to put something so ineffable into a logical pattern of mathematics. After all, emotions aren’t logical. They just are.

The butterflies start to fade. The little idiosyncrasies you once thought of as cute little quirks become annoying. The physicality starts to show flaws. You notice the odd dents and bumps. Your heart doesn’t flutter at the cute texts. You feel no qualms about looking at other men. You notice that you have nothing more to talk about or heck, maybe you never did. Congratulations, you’ve hit your 3 month mark and it’s time to pull the plug. He may be interested, but you no longer are.

It’s been going great. The butterflies lasted the 3 month mark and you think it might last. He’s met your friends. Some of them like him and think you two make a cute couple, some of them think he’s not good enough. The romantic little comments you once found so cute have lost their charm. You feel tied down, a little suffocated. The jealousy that you once felt translated into care is now stifling. You need more and more space; and the more you step back, the tighter he begins to cling. He sings to you and though you should think it’s romantic, you feel embarrassed. You feel guilt. What is that guilt about? It’s because while he seems to be falling more into you, you seem to be falling out of him. That’s right, you’re not in love. If you let this go on, he will fall in love with you and you would have led the poor guy on for nothing. Your own feelings are fading. So you do the mature thing, you break it off. Let him be with someone who’ll love him and you open yourself up to someone who you can love.

You got past the 6 months. He said “I love you” and though you weren’t sure, you thought what you felt was love, so you said it back. Little things are now annoyances. You think it’s love so you tell yourself that you’re just being cranky. You fight more often than not. The fights are silly and though they can be avoided, the only way to keep the relationship interesting is to create this tension. It’s the only way you feel anything anymore. He says he loves you, you say you love him. You’re confused about how your love is so weak. Then comes another guy, it’s just a crush. You realise that if you were in love, you wouldn’t want another. You start to question your relationship, you start to question what you want. You’re guilty. Is he attracted to other women the way you are to other men? This can’t be love. You drive yourself crazy; displacing your own guilt and putting the fault on him. Till one day, you realise that you don’t love him. Maybe you never did, maybe you never knew what love really was. It’s not him, it’s you. It’s over, goodbye.

You’re in love. You finally know what it is to be in love. Your every waking moment is about him and his world is you. He tells you that you’re the love of his life. The passion is intense. The fights though not trivial, are like little wars. Each one trying to win the battle. You punch holes in the relationship and you don’t even realise it. You tell yourself you two are meant to be; that fights are normal and healthy in every relationship. He does something stupid, you fight, you walk out, he begs forgiveness, you melt and let it all go. It’s a vicious cycle of drama. Your friends see his faults. Though they get along, he can’t hide his flaws from them anymore. Your parents think you’ll get married. You think you two will get married. He tells you you’re the love of his life; you believe he is the love of yours. You forget – you two are incompatible. You fight like crazy, it’s unhealthy. You don’t agree on the important questions. Yet, you say it’s love so you try. You break up and you get back together. Eventually, either he has fallen out of love with you or you have fallen out of love with him.

Past the 12 month mark is supposedly when the “honeymoon period” is over and you really get to know each other. If you survive that, it’s possible to go on.

Like I said, multiples of 3. You still have 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36 and so on.

I should hope that maybe after that 36 month mark is when you are completely sure. Both of you are completely in love, it is meant to be, your relationship is healthy.

I guess it’s around then that you are either in love and married. If not, you’ve stretched, what should’ve ended at 12 months, the doomed relationship as far as it can go, and it’s time to break free. Of course, nobody ever said you’d come out completely in tact.

Regardless, it’s all in multiples of 3.

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