Is This Love? 10 Ways To Tell
Updated February 11, 2020
Reviewer Kristen Hardin
Experiences like infatuation, attachment, friendship, and lust can feel like love and sometimes we imagine that we're in love…only to find out that it is something different. This mistake can lead to disappointment, sadness, and sometimes heartbreak. That is why it is good to stop and assess when you think you are feeling the start of lasting love, or something else.
How do you know for sure that what you are feeling is love? How do you tell the difference between love and other more fleeting emotions? Gaining a better understanding of real love vs other emotions can help you make better decisions on commitment and how you spend your time.
Here are 10 signs that what you're feeling could be lasting love:
1. You Like Each Other A Lot
Before you can love each other…you, have to like each other.
That means you admire each other's personalities and that you enjoy spending time together. You probably share many of the same convictions and a similar value system. You may already enjoy several of the same hobbies.
Not everyone who likes each other ends up loving each other, but mutual like can often pave the way.
So if his personality just seems to be a match for yours and you enjoy hanging out together, you could be well on the way to true love.
2. You're Addicted to the Thought of Her
When a song comes on the radio, it reminds you of her. If you see a car that looks like hers, you do a double take, hoping it might be hers. And then there are those times, when you can't sleep or when a meeting is dragging on far too long when she pops into your head for no reason at all.
She is on your mind 24/7…and there is a scientific explanation for that. It turns out that whenever you think about someone you love, your brain releases the feel-good chemical phenylethylamine, the same that is released if you eat a piece of chocolate. Also, there is stimulation on the part of your brain connected with pleasure and rewards. This happens most in the early stages of a relationship but continues as the relationship becomes more long-term.
3. At Times You Feel Like You've Lost Your Mind
Do you find yourself spacing out? Forgetting important deadlines? Having trouble concentrating?
It's because your brain is releasing higher levels of dopamine as you focus on your partner and it feels good therefore making it hard to concentrate on the more mundane tasks of life. Don't worry, this stables over time.
4. You're Eager to Introduce Him to Friends and Family.
There is some research showing that gaining social support for a new love interest is an important part of ensuring the relationship's success. That might explain the urge you feel to invite your new beau to Friday Game Night at your best friend's house or to Mom's place for dinner.
Not only that, but you find yourself eagerly awaiting their opinion on him as a potential partner. That's because you know that their support will make a big difference in whether or not the two of you have to stay power as a couple.
Seeking out the approval of your social circle shows how invested you already are in the relationship, and that it means a lot to you to include him in all aspects of your life. It also means you're eager to spend more time with him, which is much easier if he is included in social and family events.
5. You've Taken on New Habits or Hobbies
You find yourself stretching, growing, taking on new interests and developing a new sense of self. You may never have thought you'd enjoy skiing, but now you're hitting the slopes and loving it. You've never considered yourself much of a dancer, but with your new partner, you suddenly find that dance lessons are the best part of your week.
Studies have found it's common for people in love to develop a more varied set of interests as a result of their relationships.
And it's not only your hobbies that change. Your values, opinions, priorities, and the things you care about most deeply may get rearranged a bit. Your personality traits may even change to be more in sync with your partner. You may find yourself growing and changing, in a positive way.
6. You Are Genuinely Happy When He Succeeds
In a healthy love, you feel personally invested in your partner's accomplishments. When he's happy, you're happy. If he's good at something, you share in his pride, even if you can't accomplish the same achievement. You don't feel jealous or like you are being left behind.
You're also willing to make sacrifices for his happiness. Perhaps you take extra time out of your day to cook his favorite meal or to bring him chicken soup if he's not feeling well. These are signs of the compassionate love which forms the basis of a healthy relationship.
7. You Make Each Other Better
When you spend time together, you want to be the best version of yourself. You and she are supportive of each other. You encourage one another to pursue goals and dreams. You don't hold each other back from these goals and dreams, even if the attainment of a goal or dream could change the relationship, such as one partner having to move to a new city due to a promotion.
8. You Treat Her in A Loving Way Even When You Don't Want To
In fact, most of the real love is not an emotion, but actions. Love is an intentional act, rather than merely a state of being.
If you love her, you continue to do so even when it's difficult. That means you still love her when she is inherently "unlovable." You love her when you're arguing, or when she's in a bad mood, or when you have to sacrifice things you want to give her what she needs in the relationship.
The emotions that we have described earlier might lead to love…but it takes intention to keep it going during hard times.
9. You Put Effort into The Relationship
Again, this falls under the category of an action, rather than a transient emotion.
Real love means occasionally putting aside your hopes and dreams to focus on those of your partner. It means choosing not to complain about petty annoyances. And it means creating time in your busy schedule to spend with the person that you love.
So, while you may have the addictive feeling of being in love, these feelings do not last without some sustained effort on your part…and his.
10. You Decide to Love Each Other
This is the most important sign of all, the one that renders all others meaningless.
While that rush of chemicals in your brain does give you a starting place, it's up to you to make love to the place where it will last.
Ultimately, love comes down to a decision. And it is a decision which you must make again, every day.
After a while, the initial addictive feelings will start to fade; but a solid, committed partnership can replace it.
With that decision comes a few sacrifices. But you also get to experience those feel-good chemicals in your brain with someone who is present in your life every day. Worthwhile? We think so.
There are many ways to describe the heady and exciting way that love makes you feel. But in the end, you and your partner are the ones who decide if this is really loving.