The Skinny on Skinny Love – Are You Experiencing It?

No, we’re not talking about liking someone who’s skinny. We’re talking about how skinny love can be and why that is.

skinny love

If you know the term “skinny love,” then you’re probably a millennial. The surprising thing about this is that skinny love has probably been around since the beginning of time.

How do I know this? Because it’s in good company. Unrequited love, platonic love, doomed love – those are all skinny love’s good friends. But what exactly is it, and why is it as depressing as its most popular counterparts? [Read: The 20 kinds of lovers that exist in this world]

The meaning of skinny love

Bon Iver, and a popular rendition from Birdy, defines Skinny Love as something quite vague with lots of words pertaining to waiting for a chance to be with the person you love.

If you want a more substantial definition, you can take a look at Urban Dictionary and see the various definitions that all lead up to this idea: When two people fall in love, but are either too shy to admit it or are reluctant to show their affection.

Why would anyone be too shy to admit that they’re in love, especially if the other person feels the same? The signs are obvious that the two people involved are at the point of admitting this to each other, yet their personalities or some outside source of constriction is preventing them from taking their feelings to the next level. [Read: Is it a crush or are you experiencing limerence?]

One of the biggest issues as well is that these two people are oblivious to how the other feels. How can one proceed when they are too shy and have no idea how the other will react?

In a relationship, skinny love prevents the couple from experiencing a deeper connection, either physically or emotionally. Again, this is a personality issue and sometimes, even an external issue.

8 signs you’re experiencing skinny love

So how can you know for sure whether or not your situation is a case of skinny love? Here are some of the signs:

#1 You feel an inexplicable connection to the person you love, but can’t pinpoint whether they’re experiencing the same level of affection towards you. It’s usually because they’re too shy to admit how they really feel and your own emotions are keeping you from seeing that your partner feels the same way. [Read: How can you tell he likes you if he won’t even talk to you?]

#2 You end up spending time together, but the romance factor is either non-existent or just barely palpable. Skinny love equals skinny romance. You need to fatten it up or risk it getting completely pulled away from you.

#3 Sex is the farthest thing from your mind. It’s true. You’re more concerned about your relationship in terms of emotional intimacy. [Read: How to have a perfectly platonic relationship]

#4 Everyone keeps saying you’d be good together, but you’re too scared to see if it’s true or not. Fear is what’s keeping you from finding out if you’re meant to be together or not.

#5 You want to make each other happy, but don’t do it in the capacity that’s expected of people in relationships. Sometimes, you do things as friends, but when it borders on being lovers, you freeze!

#6 When you feel like admitting your true feelings, you shut down and wait to see if the other will do it instead. This game of chicken you’re playing with your hearts is quite dangerous, especially if you end up missing your chance at true love.

#7 When either one of you tries to express yourselves emotionally, the other one clams up. Love is a two-way street, but skinny love inevitably points it in one direction only.

#8 Showing affection by hugging, holding hands, or cuddling is possible, but acknowledging it or talking about it can make either of you pull back and shut down. Being in a skinny love relationship prevents you from going all out. You’re either verbally expressive or just physically expressive. A relationship requires both. [Read: 9 almost-relationships of the modern dating world]

How do you overcome skinny love?

Before you can get out of this tricky spot in your love life, you must find out what made it happen in the first place. If you can’t get any insight from the person you love, you can look to yourself and see why you can’t push yourself to bring your feelings to the surface.

There are many reasons why you end up in a situation like this one. The main reason being that either of you are too shy to admit your true feelings, which is probably borne out of an underlying fear or insecurity that your friend will not reciprocate or that your sentiment might ruin what you already have.

Instead of focusing on the what ifs, maybe you should focus on the present. What you have with your friend is just waiting to bloom into something more meaningful. You just have to know how to make that happen:

#1 Conquer your fear. Once you find out what’s keeping you from being more open towards your partner, you can start to take the steps to overcome that fear. You can either face it or admit that it’s not as important as being with the person that you love. [Read: How to tell a special someone you’re in love with them without making things awkward]

#2 Respect your partner’s boundaries. Two people are involved in this skinny love situation. Your partner may not be ready for a big change like this, but you are. Explain your side, but don’t force them to make any lasting decisions immediately.

#3 Don’t jump right in. The very reason why it’s called skinny love is because two people can’t build enough momentum in their relationship to express themselves fully. You are used to taking it slow, so there’s no point in shocking your system. Just ease into the conversation, and be sure to cover all the points of your relationship that you want to focus on.

#4 Be completely honest. You are making a big change in your relationship. You don’t want to mess things up. The only way you’ll ruin things is by not being the person that your partner fell in love with. Don’t lie about what you want because you’re too scared to tell the truth. [Read: The complete guide to telling a girl you like her without getting rejected]

#5 Don’t hold anything back – not even afterthoughts. The fear and doubt is what kept you in this stalemate. Be transparent. Don’t tiptoe around the issue. You won’t get further from where you are now if you do. The worst part is that you might even take a few steps back if your partner misunderstood your sentiment because you were too scared to admit everything.

#6 Don’t mind what anyone else says. You’ve probably gotten the best advice from your closest friends and family, but that’s as far as it gets. You hold the cards and are responsible for making the big decisions. If you feel that taking things further with the person you love will make you happy, then go for it. [Read: 19 sure signs of falling in love to watch out for]

#7 Remember that you always get a second chance. If the first attempt fails, don’t worry about it. You have more going for you than those who are still trying to find the love of their life. It’s up to you to keep on trying because you know in your heart that it’s worth it.

#8 Never regret your decision. If your fears did give way to reality, don’t mope and think, “I knew this would happen!” It’s a good thing that something did happen! You would be far more miserable in a stagnant situation with your loved one. It’s better to know where you stand and see if the person you love is willing to fight for your future.

[Read: 10 types of love you’ll experience in your life]

They say that “almost” is one of the saddest words in the English language, and nothing fits the description of skinny love better than “almost.” Either get out there and express your feelings, or live your whole life wondering about the what ifs.

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Danielle Anne
Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...
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