My boyfriend has said he loves me, and in so doing ruined our entire relationship. Well, in the interest of fairness, perhaps I should say that he told me he loved me, and I ruined our entire relationship.

Matt and I have dated four months and I have never found myself happier with anything else in my entire life. A hug from no other has felt as safe, a kiss as sweet, a grip as passionate, or a word, properly spoken, so enlightening amid the darkness of life. I admit that these phrases are far too poetic for my tastes, but I tolerate them only to demonstrate that I do, in fact, have feelings for my boyfriend. Strong ones, in fact. But are they love? Are they more than just an attraction, sex, and a very close friendship? I can not say, for I have never felt love before, and now it threatens to destroy everything.

Yes, he has assured me with all his rhetorical power that there is in fact "no pressure" and that I can have all the time I need. I do not know if he actually believes this, but I can say with great certainty that it is not true. Now every time I see him instead of feeling tranquility and a calmness the rest of my life lacks, I feel only stress. It is not that his love bothers me, I actually find it flattering, but I know I have no more than a month to return the favour before he begins to feel the strain. It is as if he has planted a time bomb on our relationship, except its countdown is as unknown to me as my own feelings, and it can only be deactivated by a simple word I dare not say in error.

After speaking with friends and colleagues and explaining my feelings for Matt they have all come to the conclusion that I am, in fact, in love. However, when asked on separate occasions what love is, their answer has clearly contradicted their supposedly obvious original conclusion. They have said "you just know," which I don't, and therefore, by extension, implies that I am not. Of course, this is assuming that these "expert opinions" have any merit whatsoever.

Here is what can be said for certain: I am either in love, or not in love, and I do not feel that I am in love. Therefore, if I am in love, then the rest of the world must be wrong about the intuitive nature of love. But then what is it that they are all feeling that I am not? One person has told me "love is magical," which seems a completely irrelevant romanticism and proved more frustrating than helpful. Magic, after all, is not real, and as such its comparison to love simply makes the entire situation more confusing.

Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe just as a cell phone may seem magic to the prehistoric man, perhaps too is love to the extrospective. Matt's eyes make me calm because his body language conveys trust, his hug imparts comfort because heat inspires safety, his kiss fills with joy because his passion is symbolised by the movements of his tongue, and the sex... well, the biological implications of that should be sufficiently self-evident. Needless to say I understand exactly why Matt makes me feel the way I feel, and perhaps that is enough to escape love. After all, there is always magic in mystery as there is excitement in discovery.

But despite all my pondering and digressions I am still stuck with an unsolvable dilemma. I do not know if I am in love because I have never been in love. It is within this circular trap of reasoning that my choices are as limited as the information I have to make them. I can stay with Matt, hoping one day to fall in love, or leave, and hope that the next one will fare better. People being as they are, though, the new one, like the old, will likely also fall in love (necessarily wanting it back) and I'll once again be in the exact same place, one heartbreak down the road. Since I have no way of predicting if any particular candidate will evoke love, every man left behind will be a could have been, and every one in the future could be a never will. I could go on forever, jumping from man to man and eventually die never experiencing it once. I suppose the dilemma begs the question: how many broken hearts is love worth?

I was perfectly happy with what we had, but I suppose there is no use in clinging to something that can never be returned. I may have to accept that I shall never feel or desire love, but will be forever trapped waiting for it.