Do You Know If You Love Somebody?
By: Michael Arangua
Updated November 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers
- How Long Have You Known Them
- How Do You Feel Around Them
When you love somebody, being with them is like being with your best friend. It feels natural and normal; there’s no pressure and no need to “perform” or act a certain way. You can both just be yourselves, and feel comfortable and whole in doing so. When you love someone, you feel the same way about them whether they’re in sweatpants on the sofa or dressed up for a night out. Love isn’t about impressing anyone or being someone you’re not; it’s about sharing space and emotions together.
If this person isn’t someone you actually spend time with and only admire from afar, then there is no way you’re in love with them, and what you’re feeling is just strong lust.
When you love somebody, it can be very peaceful. You feel secure in your affections knowing that they feel the same way about you. The exception to this is unrequited love where you may feel everything, and they do not feel the same. Unrequited love can be very difficult because your feelings are strong and may even reflect those of a person in love, but because the object of your affections doesn’t feel the same the relationship can never work.
If you love somebody, you’ll miss them terribly when they’re gone. You think about them all the time; you talk about them a lot, it can sound like a bit of a broken record. When you’re in love, your connection with that person is very strong, and is mostly connected to the dopamine/oxytocin reactions in your brain when they’re around. Whenever you’re apart, those levels drop so your brain tries to create ways which will make you interact again and bring those levels back up. While it can feel like you “miss” someone you care about, actually being in love is much more powerful than that alone – it feels like a constant thought at the back of your mind.
- What Is It That You Love About Them
When you’re in love, you can come up with a million little things that person does that makes you love them. When you’re in lust because you don’t know them very well, most of those statements are either physical or superficial. For example, a person in lust might say the person they admire has a nice butt, and while a person in love might agree that their partner has a nice butt, they will also be able to say things like they love the way their partner cares for them, or that they like and accept their quirks even if they’re annoying at times.
People who love somebody spend a lot of quality time with that person, even if that’s over video chatting because of long distance. They can tell you details about their personal life because they’re interested in their life, and not just their image or how “fun” that person appears to be.
- Are You Behaving Like You’re In Love
It can also be hard to tell the difference between love and infatuation. While you may think about them all the time, people who are infatuated rarely know the person they are obsessing over. It’s likely that you may only have met them a handful of times, or even if you’re seeing them regularly, your relationship may not have progressed beyond casual conversation even if you’ve gotten physically intimate. More often than not, if you don’t know someone well but think you’re in love, you’re likely just in love with the idea of them that you’ve created in your mind.
- How Do They Feel About It
Love is a complicated thing; maybe you’re in love, but your partner isn’t, or vice-versa. If this is the situation, talking to a relationship counselor might help. While you can’t force someone to fall in love, they may simply be unsure of their feelings and need help expressing themselves. Perhaps it’s frustrating you that they don’t seem to be behaving like they’re in love but still say they love you. Sometimes, two people can just be on different timelines, with one falling in love before the other – that’s ok! Love is different for everyone, and doesn’t exist on a set timeline. Maintaining open communication about your and your partner’s feelings is paramount. If you have expressed that you’re in love with them and they don’t feel the same, but let you know they care about you and still want to be with you, don’t lose faith. Love can take time.
Sometimes love isn’t going to happen, and even when you love somebody with all your heart, they just don’t feel the same. Unrequited love sucks, and it can leave you feeling empty and despondent. Therapy can help you talk through these empty feelings and give you better coping strategies for your grief as you try and move towards healthier relationships.
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