Is This Love? 10 Ways To Tell

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many wonder whether the feelings they’re experiencing for their partner could be love. If you’re finding yourself wondering how you feel about your significant other, you might ask yourself whether the two of you have a strong emotional connection and a desire for each other to be happy. Other indicators of healthy romantic love can include trust, vulnerability, emotional support, mutual values and goals, physical attraction, and a willingness to compromise. Personal growth, mutual respect, time, and effort can also be signs of love. If you’re still unsure about your feelings for your partner, it may be helpful to discuss the situation with an online therapist.

Below are 10 ways to know whether it's really love. 

1. Strong emotional connection

A strong emotional connection can be a fundamental aspect of romantic love and is often characterized by an intense bond between two individuals. One key component of this connection may be empathy, which is typically defined as the ability to comprehend and express the feelings and emotions of another person. Empathy can be an essential foundation for a deep and meaningful relationship, potentially fostering a sense of understanding, support, and unity between partners.

Not sure if it’s really love?

2. Desire for their happiness

An essential aspect of love may be a genuine desire for your partner's happiness and well-being. This desire can transcend self-interest and emphasize the importance of mutual care and support within a romantic relationship.

Demonstrating a commitment to a partner's happiness often manifests in acts of kindness, both big and small. These actions can express love, appreciation, and support, and they often strengthen the emotional connection between partners.

A partner's favorite meal can be made, or an encouraging note can be left as a small gesture, which can profoundly affect the emotional bond within a relationship. These minor actions can demonstrate thoughtfulness and consideration, potentially leading to the feeling of being cherished and appreciated by one's partner.

3. Trust and vulnerability

A strong sense of trust and vulnerability frequently characterizes loving relationships. Open communication can be vital in cultivating trust and fostering vulnerability within a romantic relationship. 

When both partners feel comfortable expressing their deepest thoughts and feelings, they may demonstrate mutual trust and create a safe space for emotional expression. This open dialogue often allows for deeper understanding and empathy, ultimately strengthening the emotional connection between partners. 

4. Emotional support

Emotional support can be a crucial aspect of a loving relationship, with both partners providing encouragement and understanding to one another.

Active listening frequently plays a significant role in offering emotional support within a romantic relationship. When partners actively listen to one another, they can demonstrate their care and commitment to understanding each other's feelings and experiences.

In the context of love, this supportive behavior can be vital during a relationship's highs and lows. By being present and empathetic, partners can support and uplift each other during challenging times, further solidifying their emotional connection and the strength of their relationship.

5. Common values and goals

In romantic relationships, love is often characterized by common values and goals. These commonalities normally create a strong foundation for the partnership, as they typically contribute to a sense of unity and foster open communication.

Values are usually defined as the core beliefs and principles that guide an individual's behavior and decision-making process. When partners in a romantic relationship possess similar values, they may be more likely to experience a strong sense of compatibility. 

This compatibility can foster a harmonious environment, as the couple can better understand and empathize with each other's perspectives and choices.

For example, if both partners prioritize family, they will likely have a mutual understanding of the importance of maintaining strong relationships with their respective families. This may lead to collaborative decision-making in childcare, career choices, and living arrangements.

Conversely, when partners hold divergent values, disagreements, and misunderstandings, it can strain the relationship. This lack of alignment can create tension and may require significant compromise from one or both partners to maintain the relationship.

6. Physical attraction

Physical attraction, while not the sole determinant of love, can play a vital role in forming and maintaining romantic relationships. It often serves as an initial catalyst for attraction and can contribute to a deeper emotional connection between partners. 

7. Willingness to compromise

A willingness to compromise can be an essential component of love, as it generally reflects an individual's ability to prioritize the well-being of their romantic relationship over their desires. In addition, this mindset often fosters a sense of unity and cooperation between partners, which may allow them to navigate conflicts and disagreements effectively.

Compromise may be an inevitable aspect of any relationship, romantic or otherwise. When two individuals come together with their unique perspectives, preferences, and experiences, disagreements may be bound to arise. 

However, a willingness to compromise usually demonstrates a commitment to the relationship, as it generally involves finding a middle ground that benefits both partners, even if it requires personal sacrifice.

8. Personal growth

A loving relationship often catalyzes personal growth and self-improvement as partners inspire and support each other in their individual and group development.

A healthy, loving relationship frequently encourages partners to become the best versions of themselves. This mutual inspiration can manifest in various ways, such as pursuing individual goals, developing new skills, or cultivating a more profound understanding of one's values and beliefs.

Partners often support each other's growth and development when in love by offering encouragement, understanding, and constructive feedback. This support can take many forms, such as providing a listening ear during a struggle, celebrating successes, or gently challenging one another to confront personal limitations.

9. Mutual respect

Mutual respect can be a crucial aspect of any healthy relationship, whether it's romantic, platonic, or professional. It normally involves valuing and acknowledging the worth of another person, including their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and opinions. When both partners show mutual respect, they can create a safe and supportive environment where they can grow and develop together.

In a romantic relationship, mutual respect usually involves listening to each other's needs and desires while also being understanding and compassionate. When both partners respect each other, they tend to be more likely to engage in healthy communication and problem-solving, potentially leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship. 

For example, if one partner expresses concern about an issue, the other partner may take the time to listen and try to understand their perspective rather than dismiss or ignore their feelings.

Not sure if it’s really love?

10. Time and effort

When partners invest time in their relationship, they tend to create opportunities to learn more about each other, deepen their emotional connection, and build a solid foundation of trust and understanding.

Effort generally refers to the conscious actions and decisions made by partners to prioritize and maintain the well-being of their relationship. This can include open communication, conflict resolution, and active participation in each other's lives.

Benefits of online therapy for relationships

Navigating the complexities of love can be challenging, and online therapy can play a crucial role in fostering healthy relationships and enhancing emotional well-being.

Nurturing emotional intelligence

A key benefit of therapy may be its capacity to nurture emotional intelligence – recognizing, understanding, and managing our emotions and those of others. By exploring feelings of love in a therapeutic setting, individuals can develop a deeper awareness of their emotional landscape and learn strategies to control their reactions effectively. This heightened emotional intelligence can lead to better communication, increased empathy, and healthier relationships, ultimately fostering more satisfying connections with loved ones.

Strengthening communication skills

Therapy can significantly enhance communication skills essential for fostering healthy and loving relationships. Through active listening, open dialogue, and non-judgmental feedback, therapy can provide a safe space for individuals to express their feelings, needs, and desires. Clients can acquire the tools to address conflicts constructively, resolve misunderstandings, and strengthen emotional bonds with their partners by engaging in these conversations.

Enhancing self-awareness and personal growth

As individuals delve into the complexities of love, therapy can facilitate a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. By examining past experiences and evaluating patterns in romantic relationships, clients can gain insight into their behaviors, beliefs, and emotional triggers. This increased self-awareness may empower individuals to break free from unhelpful patterns, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and make more informed decisions in their romantic lives.

Effectiveness of therapy for relationships

The effectiveness of therapy for relationships has generally been well-studied and backed by considerable research. Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) can effectively treat individuals struggling with relationship issues that are causing distress or negatively impacting their daily lives.

Studies have shown that therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing unrequited love, romantic attachment difficulties, or feelings of love addiction. In addition, both individual and couples online therapy can be just as effective as their in-person counterparts.


Wondering if it’s true love? If you can check off many of the following signs, the answer may be yes:

  • Strong emotional connection
  • Desire for each other to be happy
  • Trust and vulnerability
  • Emotional support
  • Common values and goals
  • Physical attraction
  • Willingness to compromise
  • Personal growth
  • Mutual respect
  • Time and effort

If you’re having trouble navigating relationship challenges, you might consider scheduling an individual or couples therapy session online for professional guidance.

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