Do You Know If You Love Somebody?

Updated December 2, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Love can be complicated. It’s something many of us want, but have great difficulty in defining. If we say we love somebody, we often describe feelings and emotions without really pinning much down. Because we all love differently, the list of “symptoms” can be confused with other feelings, like lust or obsession. Especially when we are young, knowing what love is can be a game of trial and error. If you’re wondering how you love somebody, continue reading below.

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Start With The Facts

  • How Long Have You Known Them

Love often takes time to grow with a partner. When we meet someone and instantly feel a connection, that is not love but rather is lust, or, put less severely, a crush. Lust is part of love, but love cannot be part of lust. When we lust after a person, we don’t know them well but have a strong physical and/or emotional craving for them. This intense relationship floods our system with a variety of different chemicals much like addiction and lights up similar areas in the brain. If you haven’t know that person long, then it’s more likely that you’re in lust with them rather than in love.

One of the reasons you might be wondering if you’re in love with your partner is if the relationship has been going on for a long time. Time, while a strong indicator of love, may not indicate love if the feelings are not “sure.” Most people realize they are in love suddenly with their partner, it simply “happens” one moment. If you have to debate whether you’re in love with your partner or not, then there’s a good chance you’re not, but you may be on the way there.

  • How Do You Feel Around Them

When you love somebody, being with them is like being with your best friend or a life partner. It feels natural and normal to be with this partner; there’s no pressure and no need to “perform” or act a certain way. Both you and your partner can 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. When you truly love someone, you likely want them to be your partner in every aspect of your life.

If this person isn’t someone you actually spend time with like you would a romantic partner and you 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. When you have a partner and you are both in love, you may feel safe 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 your partner does 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.

Those dealing with unrequited love go through the same stages of grief that a person who has a break up with a partner goes through. They will experience the same emotions, same thought processes, and experience almost the same feelings as someone who was in a real relationship that has ended.

If you love somebody, you’ll miss them terribly when they’re gone. You think about your partner all the time; you talk about them a lot, it can sound like a bit of a broken record. When you’re in love with your partner, 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 and your partner are 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 your partner 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 partner’s 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

According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 “languages” that you can spot when you’re in love. People in love spend a lot of quality time together, they touch each other a lot, they want to do things for their partner just to make them happy, they give each other little gifts, and they may also tell them a lot of compliments. Some partners may do all of these things, while most of use tend to have one or two primary love languages. For example, when you’re in love, you may show your love to your partner by being physically close, while your partner may show their love by doing things for you like cooking you dinner. When you’re in lust, some of these things may be done but likely not all of them, and not consistently as you would with a partner you 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 and they may not actually be your partner, 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

If you’re not very close to them and can’t tell what their feelings are, then it’s much more likely you’re not in love. Love is a mutual feeling, and if it’s only one-way then it will never work and neither of you will be fulfilled or happy, no matter how badly you’d like things to work.

When you start a relationship with a partner, you might feel many physical symptoms like a fluttering in your stomach, you might feel full of energy or antsy, and you might even feel nauseous. Asides from that, you may want to talk to everyone about your newfound love.

It can be scary talking to someone who you’re not sure about, but if you’re in love doing so should feel very natural, especially as they likely feel the same. Honesty is the best choice in this situation, because without knowing you’ll continue in an awkward limbo. Tell them how you feel

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So What’s The Problem?

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 your partner 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 like it does in stories or fairy tales, and even when you love somebody with all your heart, they just don’t feel the same.

Unrequited love can be a mess, 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 with a partner.

Unrequited love can also bring up questions about sexuality. While many cultures accept same-sex relationships, some do not, and it can lead to feelings of confusion and even a loss of identity or depression. While you may believe your love with your partner isn’t acceptable, talking these feelings through with a therapist may help you accept your sexuality beyond the confines of your culture or community.

If you’ve decided you’re in lust but you just can’t seem to let go of them, it might be time to talk to a therapist. Lust can lead to other problems like sex addiction if you feel you can’t control your emotions. In cases like this, therapists often try and help you talk through what it is that is causing you to hold on to that person while forsaking anyone else. If you’re obsessing over them, it’s just as unhealthy as an addiction because of the way your brain chemicals work. Obsession and infatuation can bloom into stalking and other harmful behaviors. Seek help as soon as possible if you’re in this situation.


Even if you know you love someone, if those feelings aren’t mutual then a relationship can never work out. If you’re struggling with your feelings or having issues with your partner talking to someone can help you move on. Sites like BetterHelp allow you to look over different counselors and therapists so that you can find someone who is not only experienced with your problem but whom you feel can best help you. They may be able to help you and your partner work through issues in your relationship and develop healthy communication strategies. While love can be a wonderful thing, it can also be one of the most painful if it isn’t meant to be.

In regards to relationships, online therapy can be particularly useful as it’s able to reach a broader variety of people, including those who live rurally and minorities who otherwise may have great difficulty in finding mental healthcare and therapy, as well as those who have very busy or non-traditional schedules. 

Additionally, BetterHelp tends to be more affordable than in-person therapy options, as you don’t have to safe transportation to and from sessions, and our therapists don’t have to rent out office space, which means they don’t have to increase rates to accommodate that cost (or, rather, the lack thereof!). Sessions can also be held anytime, anywhere – you’ll just need an internet connection to get started. From there, sessions can be held via video chat, phone call, live voice recordings sent back and forth, texting/instant messaging, or any combination thereof – whatever works best for you!

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