Love can take many shapes and forms, and love can be defined in many different ways. So is there a clearcut way to determine if you love someone? Below we will discuss how you can interpret how you feel, some signs that you may feel love for someone, and how to feel confident about your feelings of love.
What Does Love Mean?
Psychologist Robert Sternberg suggested that various kinds of love — romantic, companionate, familial, and so on — all utilize three components: intimacy, or closeness; passion, or deep interest in the other person; and commitment, or a desire to maintain the relationship. Sternberg theorized that each form of love is composed of different intensities, or amounts, of each of these components.
But what is love itself? There is no single answer.
Some believe it to be an unparalleled emotional experience, akin to music, fairy tales, and romantic comedies that conclude with “happily ever after.” People who believe in this kind of love may trust in the concept of a soulmate – someone who succeeded in finding your perfect match in lifelong love.
Others place greater distinction on the commitment you make, suggesting that love is something that you make a promise to respect and work for. These people believe that love is messy, hard, and just downright frustrating at times. According to this interpretation, when you love a person, you may argue or have hard times, but love will bring you through it.
Though these are among the most common ideas about love, the only one that really matters is the one you believe in. Love is a concept, not a solidified item. It can be whatever you think it should be.
Does Time Really Actually Matter For Love?
This all depends on what your definition of love is. If you believe that love is fleeting, you may feel that love could spark in an instant, but it could also disappear without warning. On the other hand, if you believe that love is something that must be built over a more extended period, then you may feel that you must know someone deeply before you jump straight into saying, "I love you."
What Are Some Signs That It’s Actually Love?
Here are some common indicators that you may be “in love.”
You Feel Like You Both Bring Out The Best In Each Other
When you are in love, you should want the best for one another. This desire should also bring out the best qualities in each of you. You don't necessarily have to be happy all the time when you are together, but your partner should make you feel good about yourself. Many of us have an inner self and secret desires or passions that we only show to the people closest to us.
You should also bring out the best in your partner. You may notice their mood improves when they are with you, or they may make efforts to change problematic behaviors, like dealing with anger or communication issues, when you spend time together.
You Cannot Imagine Hurting One Another
Relationships can be difficult. Any person in a relationship has experienced times when it’s a little harder to be around their partner.
However, whether you and your partner experience a minor disagreement or a significant argument, neither of you should want to hurt the other. Even when you are in the most serious of arguments, your inner voice should remind you of your "I think I'm in love" feeling. This voice tells you that you don't want to hurt your partner.
Just about everyone has said something they didn’t mean when they were angry or upset – something they later regretted saying. If you or your partner say something in the heat of anger, it doesn’t mean that your relationship is irreparably damaged. Time, apologies, and forgiveness can heal an argument and restore your closeness. A sign that you are falling in love is that even when you and your partner are angry, neither of you will intentionally choose to say things that will wound or linger in one another’s minds because you don't want to cause each other pain.
Both Partners Feel Ready To Grow Together
Time changes relationships just as it changes people. When you say to yourself, "I think I'm in love," consider putting some thought into the future. Are you ready to grow with this person? It is of the utmost importance to be honest with yourself throughout the entire process. It can be very easy to get caught up in feeling smitten and ignore long-term incompatibilities that you and your partner may have.
It is also okay if you and your partner aren't on the same level when you first meet. You just must be sure that you communicate with your partner that you want to grow together before you jump straight into the "I think I'm in love" stage of your relationship.
There Is A Deep Foundation Of Trust
Trust is arguably one of the most important aspects of any close relationship. If you can't trust your partner, you likely don’t feel safe in the relationship on a foundational level, which makes feeling “in love” difficult, if not impossible.
When you love someone, and they love you, there should be no concerns of infidelity or dishonesty. This expectation goes along with not wanting to hurt each other, but expectations of honesty and faithfulness are important all on their own.
You're Not Afraid To Be Yourself
The person that is worthy of your love will make you comfortable with and appreciative of yourself. Being in love can give you the confidence and the support to love yourself just as fiercely as you love your partner. You should be able to display all the quirks in your personality with happiness and acceptance. Your partner should be able to do the same. You will know your love is real because you will learn new things about each other all the time. The longer you love one another, the deeper your trust with one another will be.
The person you are in love with will hopefully be your best friend and your life partner. As you grow in your love together, your personalities will flourish together, and you will be able to enjoy the person you are alongside the person you love.
You And Your Partner Make Each Other Feel Special
Loving a person often means wanting to make them feel special. Your love will likely overflow into almost everything you do, but you may also find yourself taking extra steps to treat your loved one.
Over the course of your relationship, you will learn how your partner wishes to give and receive affection, as well as celebrate milestones and holidays, and they will learn your preferences too. Each of you may find excitement and joy in learning new ways to surprise and show affection to each other.
You Won't Have Doubts
Some people search for love and go through several periods of saying to themselves "I think I'm in love" – just to have the feeling fade after the novelty of being with a new person wears off.
When you are truly in love, you won't have to search for it, but you will feel it on a deep level. You may visualize your future with your partner, compare your life with them favorably to life before you met, and feel that you want to remain with them always. Give yourself time and space to consider these important feelings.
You Can Make It Work
Love is perhaps one of the most intense and deepest feelings that a person can experience. Sometimes, though, life events and circumstances change and make maintaining a loving relationship difficult. Not every relationship can endure the long term. However, if you and your partner remain committed to each other and preserving what you have built, then you already have the most important tool for repairing and strengthening your relationship.
Online Therapy For Relationships
Every relationship, old or new, requires work in to grow and remain healthy. Oftentimes, seeking the support of a mental health professional, either solo or alongside your partner, can be a helpful boost to keep your relationship on the right path. This support can take the form of r counseling, such as marriage counseling, to strengthen or repair an intimate partnership.
Online therapy is not just for couples in the middle of a struggle; relationship maintenance is healthy and important, too. Couples therapy that incorporates emotionally-focused therapy (EFT) to help struggling relationships has shown a 75 percent success rate. A review of multiple studies found that EFT couples therapy improved marital satisfaction both during treatment as well as in maintaining satisfaction following treatment.
Online therapy is flexible, so you can arrange couples’ sessions according to you and your partner’s schedules or pursue individual therapy on your own time. It is also more affordable than in-person therapy, and you can choose how to connect with a mental health professional: via video chat, phone call, or text messaging. Working with an online therapist through BetterHelp may make your love stronger than ever. Consider these reviews from BetterHelp users who have used online therapy services to manage their relationships.
Alan has been a great help to me while I have been navigating some tumultuous and emotionally draining situations. He is helping me understand and process things I did not realize I was carrying. My partner and I also did a couples’ session with him. He gave us some tools to help smooth the way through some misunderstandings and irritations we were experiencing.
She’s awesome! Keeps the facts and really helped me understand bad behaviours done by other people and why it happens. I enjoyed talking to her and learning about effective relationship and it helps me to understand what I’m looking for in a partner, who I am as a partner, and where I want the relationship to go. Change and being open is key! Thanks Cecelia!
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