How to know if there is love in my relationship?

Many women are in romantic relationships where there is no love. There might be a lot of romance, but no love. The trap we fall into, thanks to this collective illusion called the myth of romantic love, is precisely that we endure relationships that seem to be about love, but they are not.

For heterosexual women, it's difficult to distinguish between love and violence because the patriarchal culture of love in which we have been raised makes us believe that those who love you well will make you cry, that those who fight the most are the ones who desire each other the most, and that there's only a step from love to hate.

It's a sadomasochistic culture where we are cast as the ones who suffer, and it makes us believe that when a man watches over us, controls us, limits our freedom, and infringes upon our right to privacy, it's "out of love." That without a man's love, we are nothing. That jealousy is a sign of love, that violence is passionate, that mistreatment is "normal" between two beings who love each other. And indeed, they're an everyday occurrence: we live in a very misogynistic and violent culture where we have normalized violence and suffering, and we have become accustomed to and even resigned to the idea that it's impossible to be in a romantic relationship based on mutual respect, pleasure, and companionship.

However, women who no longer endure suffering for the sake of love are tired of enduring mistreatment in the name of love. We are fed up with relationships where we are not happy. We are tired of our role as sacrificing women who endure everything for the sake of love, and we no longer believe the story that there is any love in a patriarchal relationship where we are expected to obey, submit, give up our freedom, and work for free serving the master.

For us, love must be based on pleasure, enjoyment, companionship, solidarity, good treatment, freedom, equality, honesty, and sincerity. We believe that if it hurts, it's not love. We trust our ability to evaluate whether a relationship is making us happy or not, whether it's worthwhile or not, whether it can work or not, and our ability to make decisions if the answer is no. Because we prioritize self-care above any romantic relationship: our health, well-being, and happiness come first.

The best tool for analyzing the relationships we are in is to ask ourselves questions. I invite you to put on the violet glasses with the filters of love and to ask ourselves all the questions that come to mind to try to find out if we are in a relationship where there is love, or if, on the contrary, we are in a relationship based on dependence and need, domination and submission, comfort or self-interest.

We all need to ask these questions together. Here are a few to start with:

  • Do you feel fully reciprocated in your relationship? Do you believe both of you are equally excited and have the same enthusiasm and intensity in your feelings?
  • Do you feel loved? How does your partner show their love to you?
  • If they don't show it, why do you think they don't?
  • Do both of you have the same or similar concept of love and the type of partner you would like to have? If the answer is no, are there conditions for loving each other if your preferences don't align?
  • Do you feel accepted as you are? Has your partner asked you to change your personality or make changes in your life?
  • Do you feel good, happy, and comfortable in your relationship? What percentage of happiness would you assign?
  • Do you feel well-treated?
  • Do you feel well-treated all the time, most of the time, or only sometimes?
  • Do you feel well-treated during conflicts and disagreements?
  • How do you treat your partner? Do you notice a significant difference between how they treat you and how you treat them?
  • How does he speak about his ex-girlfriends?
  • How does he talk about women in general?
  • How does he treat the waitress serving you food at the bar?
  • Do you believe your partner is a good person?
  • Do you think your partner is a good person all the time, with everyone?
  • How does he behave with animals?
  • Is he sexist? Is he racist, classist, homophobic, lesbophobic, xenophobic? Does he express hate speech?
  • Do his actions and words correspond? Is what he says consistent with what he does?
  • How many passions and hobbies do you have in common? Is there compatibility between them?
  • Does he care about your pleasure, or does he only think about his own?
  • Do you believe your partner is eager to enjoy love and sex, or is there any obstacle preventing him from experiencing his relationships with freedom and joy, such as fear?
  • Can he listen with love? Does he listen to you with love?
  • What are his relationships like with his friends, family, and acquaintances?
  • Do you feel that the relationship is easy or difficult? Does love flow, or are you always fighting?
  • Has he ever lied to someone in front of you?
  • How do you think he sees you? What do his eyes say when he looks at you? What things does he like about you?
  • How does he talk about you to others? How does he talk about you to his best friend? Do you like what you're hearing when you imagine it?
  • How does he talk to you about yourself? How does he talk about you to others when you are present?
  • Has he emotionally opened up in front of you? Has he let you see his inner self? Has he talked about himself and his feelings?
  • Who feels happier in the relationship? Who is better off between the two of you, or are you both equally well?
  • Do you feel cared for?
  • Do you feel cared for all the time, or only sometimes? When you're sick, does he take care of you? Does he help you when you have problems? Does he show concern for you?
  • Do you feel you have intimacy and privacy? Do you respect his?
  • How does he act when he's stressed or nervous?
  • Do you both see yourselves together in the future, or does one of you see themselves outside of the relationship?
  • Do you feel free to be yourself, to express yourself, to talk about how you feel, to discuss your desires?
  • Do you feel free in the relationship to have your own spaces, your own time?
  • How does your people accept your partner? What does he think of your people?
  • If your people don't like him, do you think he tries to isolate you or respects your network of affection?
  • If his people don't like you, do you think he feels free to interact with his network of affection?
  • How does he communicate with you? Who initiates contact first? How long does he take to respond to your messages?
  • Does he respect the agreements you've made to be together, or does he often break them?
  • Do you believe your partner fully trusts you?
  • And you, do you fully trust your partner?
  • Do you laugh a lot together? Are you having fun?
  • Are you giving up something or sacrificing something?
  • If he's a feminist, if he says he's working on patriarchy, is there coherence between his speeches and his actions?
  • Is there companionship, equality, and teamwork in your relationship?
  • How do you divide the tasks at home, parenting, and caregiving?
  • Do both of you enjoy an equal amount of free time?
  • How do you organize yourselves financially? Are you supportive of each other? Do you depend on each other for your subsistence? How is the relationship when there's income inequality?
  • Does the relationship make up for it? Do you feel that the good things really outweigh the bad?
  • Would you like any changes in the relationship? Do you think it's possible for a change to happen?
  • Is the relationship better now than at the beginning, or worse?
  • Did you imagine your relationship to be like this? How did you dream it?
  • Has your relationship turned into a constant exchange of mutual reproaches? Is there fatigue or weariness on both sides?
  • What things could improve in the relationship?
  • What things would you like to work on in yourself to become a better person and enjoy love?
  • And your partner, what could he work on to improve as well? Do you think he has the tools and the willingness to do so?
  • How does he talk about himself? How do you perceive his Ego and self-esteem?
  • Does he always agree with you, or always contradict you? Does he laugh at all your jokes? Does he position himself below you, above you, or at the same level as you?
  • And you, do you position yourself above or below, alternate between positions of domination and submission, or strive for horizontal and egalitarian relationships? What is the percentage of sincerity and honesty in your partner?
  • How would your life be if you weren't with your current partner? What would you be doing?
  • What would his life be like without you, what would he be doing?
  • Does your partner fear being alone?
  • And you, do you fear being alone?
  • Do you feel bound to your partner by the feelings you have towards them, or by some other economic, contractual, etc., bond?
  • Do you believe your partner feels free in this relationship with you?
  • Do you trust yourself to know when it's time to end the relationship, if that time comes?
  • How do you think he would behave in a breakup? Would he treat you with love, or would he wage war?

Coral Herrera Gómez

What Are Women For?

What Are Women For?

For providing sexual services.

For reproductive service: gestating sons and daughters, descendants and heirs of men.

For raising, educating, and caring for the new generations of workers and servants.

For taking care of the home and family: cleaning, organizing, feeding, managing and administering domestic logistics.

For taking care of dependent family members: elderly or disabled individuals, those who suffer accidents or illnesses.

For taking care of animals, plants, trees, and family gardens.

For tending to the homes, family members, and animals of privileged classes.

For serving as vessels and containers, for serving as commodities in men's businesses, and for enriching them using our bodies and our babies.

For entertaining, decorating, and brightening up men's gatherings and parties.

For pleasing their eyes, providing them pleasure, and making them feel powerful.

For enhancing the prestige of males, which increases according to the number of women they manage to seduce, enamor, and subdue.

For working for the husband for free, and also working for others for a meager wage.

For supporting their husbands in their projects, remaining unconditionally by their side, facilitating their social advancement, tending to their social and emotional networks, and devoting themselves entirely to the mission of making them happy.

For allowing the accumulation of resources by men and sustaining capitalism as an organizational form based on men's hoarding of wealth and power.

The root of patriarchy is the servitude of women, and from the verb "to serve" derive the words services, servers, and servants.

We are used in households, brothels, churches, fields, factories, reproductive clinics, and baby farms. We are used for their businesses, all of which are controlled by men.

This is why women have been fighting against enslavement and labor, domestic, emotional, sexual, and reproductive exploitation for centuries. Both inside and outside the home.

Women, forced to satisfy the needs and desires of men, are fighting to no longer be treated as maids and to build an egalitarian society without hierarchies, domination, or submission. Not from men to women, nor among women.

Do you now understand why feminism is the movement for women's liberation?

The primary goal of the feminist struggle is to free girls and women worldwide from the abuse and oppression we suffer from husbands and employers.

None of us came into this world to serve, neither to offer services to men nor to wealthy women. Neither for free nor in exchange for coins.

In this struggle for liberation, women have a lot at stake. Every day.

Men who do not recognize us as free beings use us, punish us, rape us, rent us, buy us, and sell us.

Some kill us when we disobey and when we attempt to escape male exploitation and violence.

137 defiant women are killed every day on this planet by their partners.

Society looks the other way, and the media blames us for the violence we suffer.

They silence us when we protest against injustices and demand equality.

The two key words to position ourselves in the present and understand the world we live in are WOMAN and TO SERVE.

And the key word to change this unjust and violent world is LIBERATION.

Coral Herrera Gómez

When should you end your relationship?

All love stories come to an end, but it's difficult for us to put a definitive stop to them. Some couples take months, others take years, and some never dare to separate, even though they know they would be better off on their own.

The best way to suffer as little as possible is to end the story at the right moment, before you start to suffer or make the other person suffer. It's very hard to separate, but when there is no love, no respect, no equality, no care, no sincerity, no commitment, it's better to part ways than to continue.

It doesn't matter if you've been together for two weeks, two months, or twenty years: relationships where you can't enjoy love are better to be ended. Being in love is not an excuse: millions of people around the world break up even when they're in love. What matters isn't the love story you want to experience, but your well-being and happiness. What matters is saving yourself from suffering, especially in relationships where there is no reciprocity: unrequited loves are the most painful.

And how do you identify when it's the right time? How do you know if that moment has arrived when the love has run its course? Your body and your heart tell you that moment: when you realize you're not having fun, when you're not enjoying yourself, and when you don't feel cared for. In addition to the signals that the actions and body of the other person send us, there are also signals that our body, mind, and heart emit: you have to learn to listen to yourself and take yourself into account, and one of the main demonstrations of self-love is not being in relationships where we suffer.

Here are some tips to know when it's time to put an end to your love story:

When you cry: this is one of the main signs that something is not right. If you're having a tough time, if you're suffering, feeling anguish or anxiety, experiencing fear or disappointment, feeling pain or anger, if you're angry all the time or feeling very sad, it's because the relationship isn't working. It's the first and most important warning sign: your body is telling you that you're not doing well, and you're the one who needs to take care of yourself and take responsibility for your happiness.

When you're starting out and you have completely different ideas about what love, partnership, emotional commitment are, and you also have different paces when it comes to deepening the relationship. When each of you has desires and goals that aren't compatible: you can't force your partner to match your pace, nor can they force you to accept the other person's pace. Women tend to adapt to what's there, to what's offered to us, but resigning ourselves generates pain and resentment that isn't good for us.

When everything is very difficult and your partner puts up many walls and obstacles: when your partner doesn't want to be in a partnership, when there's emotional mutilation, when they impose a frequency and schedule on you without asking what you feel like. When they put another person in the middle of the relationship, when they try to keep you at a distance, when you don't feel free to communicate whenever you want, when you feel you can't act spontaneously, then it's worth considering whether it's worthwhile to be with someone who has so many issues with enjoying love.

When your partner makes your existence invisible or denies the existence of the relationship: "we're just friends," "we don't have anything," "you're nobody in my life," "I'm not going to talk about you to anyone," "I don't want us to be seen in public," "we're just about sex," "we're just having fun"... this type of person keeps saying the same things four years later, so generally, if they deny or make you invisible, it's because they don't love you. And it's very painful to be with someone who is ashamed of you or asks you to stay in a closet, waiting quietly so that others don't find out about your existence.

When you feel there's an imbalance in the relationship, that one of you is giving much more than the other, that one of you is holding the relationship with love and care, while the other person just lets themselves be loved and cared for. When there's no balance in the distribution of tasks, desires, intensity, or finances... the person putting in more energy and resources is the one who suffers the most. It's then time to leave the relationship, whether you're the one who can't give your best or the other person who isn't contributing equally: imbalanced relationships are generally very difficult and only work when one member yields, accepts, resigns, and submits to what the other person offers.

When things go wrong and your partner doesn't want to engage in self-critique, when they simply blame you for everything that happens without recognizing their share of responsibility, you need to run away. Problems will never be resolved if the entire weight of the relationship falls on you, if the other person can't apologize, if the other person doesn't work on their part to improve the relationship. The partnership is always a work in progress and always involves two people: both of you need to nurture and care for the relationship and work on what needs to be improved to enhance coexistence and become better individuals.

When you're the one who realizes that you no longer want to be in a relationship because the love has faded or because you've fallen in love with someone else, you need to be honest with yourself and with your partner. You should do everything in your power to prevent them from suffering because of you. The sooner you take action, the better: it's preferable to endure the pain of a breakup than to be in a relationship without feeling loved.

When your partner doesn't treat you well, when they mistreat you: they stand you up, they act ugly towards you, they don't respond to messages or calls, they refuse to use protection, they disappear for days without explanation and return, they become violent when angry or stressed, they monitor you to control you... When they try to involve another woman in the relationship (an ex, a new friend), when they restrict your freedom, attempt to isolate you from your loved ones, constantly criticize you, humiliate you, mock you in public, speak disrespectfully about you, give orders and get angry if you disobey, emotionally manipulate you, threaten you, ridicule you, feel embarrassed by you, or punish you with indifference. When your partner tries to make you jealous to make you feel more insecure and dependent, and even when your partner enjoys seeing you suffer because they feel powerful, then it's best to end the relationship.

When your partner tells you they love you but you don't feel loved, you should first listen to your heart, trust yourself, and what you're feeling. When your partner says one thing and does another, when there's a lack of consistency between their words and actions, it's important to stand up for yourself and understand that it's dangerous to stay in a relationship where words don't match the other person's behavior. The reasons why someone is with you even if they don't love you don't matter: what's important is not staying there if you don't feel reciprocated.

When one of you (or both) crosses the red line of respect, it's highly likely that there's no way to guarantee it won't happen again. When there are verbal or physical aggressions, it's necessary to separate and work on therapy to prevent repeating such behavior in future relationships, to understand how you reached that point or how the other person did, and to ensure that mutual respect remains at the core of your future relationships.

When you feel something inside you shatter, or when something breaks: trust, communication, camaraderie... sometimes it's possible to continue even after infidelity, but if trust is broken, if you're with someone who lies to you multiple times and constantly deceives you, the relationship can become a genuine ordeal.

When your loved people don't like your partner, and they don't like how your partner treats you or them: this is one of the most significant indicators. People who genuinely care about you want you to be happy, and if they don't feel comfortable around your partner, there's a reason for it. Some people won't openly say it but will try to see you alone to avoid your partner's presence, or they'll avoid spending time with you together. Some will express their concerns, and it's important to listen to the reasons why they believe your partner isn't a good match for you. You often deceive yourself into thinking that they don't understand how wonderful your significant other is, but when you end the relationship, you realize why your loved ones didn't like your partner. So, listen to those who care about you and want the best for you: they can save you months or even years of suffering.

When you're dreaming of a romantic miracle to change your partner or your relationship, it's because something isn't right: women spend their lives dreaming of magical transformations, but we weren't born to resign or wait. Life is short, and we can't waste our time waiting for changes that usually only happen in romantic movies, not in reality. The only possible change is the one you make by making decisions and taking actions to take care of yourself and strive for a better life.

When there are no conditions for love, when something separates you or prevents you from enjoying love: your partner confesses they're married, or suddenly falls in love with someone else, or decides to move to another continent for their career or to live out their dream. When your partner's problems affect you, you need to consider ending the relationship. Also, if your partner joins a cult, falls into depression and doesn't want to see you, or succumbs to an addiction that will lead to their demise. It can also happen that your partner decides to radically change their life, or you may need a radical change yourself... there are couples that love each other deeply but can't be together due to lack of conditions or compatibility, or because both are evolving in opposite directions, or because significant changes prevent the relationship from being viable... it's always better to free yourself and free the other person.

When you sense that your partner is bored with you and you know they're with you out of convenience, when their apathy and lack of enthusiasm hurt you, when their indifference undermines your self-esteem, when you feel used, or when you realize that love no longer has room to grow, don't wait to see if it miraculously flourishes on its own.

When the relationship is stagnant, when you feel trapped: there are relationships that neither progress nor regress, and there are relationships where one of the members loses their freedom because one imposes restrictive conditions and asks the other person to sacrifice and give up their plans, dreams, social life, and network of relationships.

When there's incompatibility regarding parenting: if you don't want to have children, but your partner does, or vice versa, be very clear that you can't impose your wishes and needs on anyone, but you also can't give in because it's very tough not to have children when you want them, and it's agonizing to have children when you didn't desire them. Creating a family with children is only possible when both individuals are eager and fully committed from the heart: parenting is challenging, and you need to form a strong team to raise the children.

When you sense discomfort and can't put a name to it or discuss it. It doesn't quite reach the level of pain; rather, it's a feeling that something isn't right, something doesn't fit, but you can't articulate it well. Sometimes it's related to the fear of being deceived. For example, if you start a fantastic relationship and believe you've found a partner, but you suspect they have other relationships and are lying to you. Or when one day you find yourself burdened with problems that aren't yours, or you find yourself in a household resembling a monarchy where the other person behaves like a king and you've been cast in the role of a servant. When you alone assume the domestic and caregiving burdens, something isn't functioning well: someone is abusing you, your energy, and your time to have a better life. Keep in mind that this isn't an isolated experience; it's not a personal issue but a collective one: many women live as servants to their husbands and take years to identify that nameless discomfort that Betty Friedan discussed in her book "The Feminine Mystique."

When there are more fights and arguments than good moments, when there's too much accumulated resentment over time, and when you notice that every time you sit down to talk, you're exchanging accusations and more accusations. It's time to consider whether it's worth living in a perpetual state of anger and whether you might be better off separated. If your goal is to live peacefully and well, then don't hesitate: being in a relationship that's constantly fighting is hell and completely ruins our lives. Don't waste your energy fighting against your partner, trying to change them, or attempting to dominate them: if the relationship isn't working, if you're not getting along, it's best to end it with love, ideally without starting a war.

When you're constantly compromising to avoid conflict, when you're the understanding and patient one, when you're giving up your passions or dreams, when you're always in a submissive and accommodating position due to your fear of being without a partner, when you're the one carrying the burden all the time, it's time to consider whether it's worth being in a relationship where you're not yourself, and where the other person always benefits.

When there are people who meddle in your relationship to harm you or your partner, you need to know when to end the relationship when your partner doesn't care for or protect you through inaction or omission, or when they directly side with the other person.

When you notice that your partner is making real efforts to get you to end the relationship. Some people, when they no longer love you, start behaving poorly; many are desperately asking you to leave: do it. Don't hesitate for a second: if they're making you suffer, it's because they're longing to break free but are too cowardly to tell you.

When you're tired of enduring, when you feel you can't take it anymore, when you feel apathetic and disheartened, when you finally realize there's nothing you haven't tried to salvage the relationship, when you feel like spreading your wings, when you dare to imagine a life without your partner, when you envision yourself happy in a future without your partner.

Coral Herrera Gómez