If you want to get an idea of what real relationships and love stories look like, the Modern Love section of the New York Times isn't a bad place to start. It's a series of personal essays, mostly submitted by readers, that celebrate and examine everything surrounding modern relationships. The section just had its 13th birthday and — in fitting celebration — they asked readers to tweet their love stories. The catch? They had to be limited to 13 words — which feels short, even for Twitter.
And I have to say, they're pretty moving. I guess the New York Times readers have a special way with words because whether they're serious or a bit more frivolous, most of these pack a punch. If I had to do it I'd probably immediately start working out how to fit a joke about a bagel into 13 words, but these tweeters weren't afraid to be a whole lot more genuine as they shared their loves stories. Though there are definitely some funny ones, too.
There are so many that are worth looking at, but if you want to get a taste of what people have to say, here are some of my favorites. From the serious to the less than serious, they all show just how unique everyone's love story is.
1This Modern Truth
I mean, to be honest, at this point I feel like almost everyone I know has a story that starts this way. Soon we'll be telling people about couples who didn't mean online or through a dating app.
2A Bold Look
Never underestimate the power of a strong set of brows. Also, I have to take a minute to acknowledge that "MagnoPapaya Salsa" is now my favorite name that I've ever seen on Twitter.
Now, that's a fast turnaround. But they sound pretty happy about it — so it looks like life does come at you fast. And sometimes true love does, too.
3Whatever This Means
I'm not 100 percent sure what this means or what dinosaur erotica actually entails. But I do know that the next time I'm sad that this is what I'm going to try to make cheer me up.
4This Romantic Tune
I told you — some of them really have a way with words. And if Shakespeare thought that music was the food of love, then they just might be on to something here.
I've always thought that a strong foundation of friendship was a great basis for a relationship — and it seems to have worked for them. Different languages don't matter so much if you have friendship and laughter.
6Tea Is Love
This is too true. It's not the big gestures, it's all the little things that fill our day to day. Someone making you soup every time your sick or bringing you a surprise coffee in bed. It means a lot more than the big stuff sometimes.
I have to say, sometimes I feel that. If you've ever looked at your partner and just thought, "How do they put up with me!?" then you know what I'm talking about.
8This Important Truth
The first step toward any great love story is learning how to love yourself. And for some people, that's the whole story — and that's totally fine.
You want to talk about commitment? That's a love story that shows just how strong a couple can be. If they can get through that, they can get through anything.
It's not about being a perfect person, because nobody is. But a strong relationship comes from when you can accept those imperfections— and they're compatible with yours. That's what you really need.
11Learning To Love Again
Many of us have had that "trampled heart feeling" once — or more than once— in our lives. But sometimes people help us put it back together and make a relationship that's stronger than any that came before.
Sometimes one person can make everything totally different.
13This Charming Introduction
This is something straight out of The Notebook. Sometimes, the cheesy lines really do do the trick.
14This Harsh Truth
Yikes. Not all love stories have a happy ending. You can look back at them and still see how significant they are — even when they break your heart.
15Acceptance Of The Situation
... and not all great loves love you back. Sometimes, you just learn to live with the current situation. Sometimes that's enough.
16A Personal Story
Some people are still working on the relationship they have with themselves. And that's totally OK too.
That is a punch in the gut. Some love stories keep going, no matter what.
Everybody's love story is a little different. Some are tales of epic devotion, some are more playful, and some are just getting started. But these tweets show you the range of emotions and experience that can lead to a life-changing relationship. And all in 13 words or less.