How To Know If You’re In Love

Medically reviewed by Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC
Updated October 14, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

You may be wondering what love feels like. What intense feelings will arise? What thoughts will you have? Is it possible this is all in your head? Different people may experience love differently, but there are some commonalities often shared by people in love that you may be able to look to for guidance.

A woman is outside, is looking up, and has her head leaning on a man; she has a smile on her face.

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5 Signs That You Might Be In Love

The term “love” can refer to many types of love: romantic love, familial love, love shared between friends, and self-love, to name a few. In this article, we will be referring to love shared in a romantic relationship. It’s the love you might feel toward your partner when you are dating and falling head over heels for each other. It’s also the long-term love you might feel when you are building a life together – for some, this means having a marriage and family.

But what does love feel like? Will you see if it’s true love in time? Or will you know it the moment you begin to fall in love? Even people who are in love might struggle to define love, and if they did, each person might have a different answer.

If you’ve never been in love before, you might wonder what love feels like. Or, if you were in a relationship in the past that ended badly, you may be wary of rushing to label your feelings for a new partner as love, especially if you are worried they don’t feel the same way. This may be particularly true if you believe that you and your partner don’t match up in certain ways, like you have different goals in life or different levels of sex drive and sexual attraction. 

Of course, not everyone in love will identify with every sign on this list. You may also believe only the positive ones apply to your relationship. Still, you may be in love if some or all of the following signs resonate with you.

1. You Think About Them Often

One of the eight critical elements of romantic attraction outlined in a study about mating choices is “focused attention” on the one you love. You might find your thoughts wandering to them at all hours of the day, causing you to forget what you were doing or to lose focus on work or school. In addition, you may worry about them when you’re apart or miss them constantly when they are away.

2. You Retain Details They Say About Themselves

If you find yourself able to quickly rattle off your partner’s interests, middle name, favorite ice cream flavor, or the breed of dog they had when they were a kid, it could be a good sign you are in love.

The same study above also lists an improved memory as another of the eight elements of romantic attraction. It explains that you might “tend to remember tiny details” about this person and the time you’ve spent together, and there’s a scientific reason to back this up.

The elevated levels of central norepinephrine that people in love often experience are associated with “increased memory for new stimuli.” So, if you remember every little thing this person has told you, there most likely isn’t anything wrong with you. Instead, it may indicate that you are in love with them.

A couple are sitting together, and the woman has her head on the man’s shoulder; he is smiling, and she has a thoughtful expression.

3. You Make A Lot Of Eye Contact With Them

A study by a Harvard psychologist found that people in love tend to make eye contact for about 75% of their interactions. 

For comparison, people tend to make eye contact with someone they’re not in love with for only about 30-60% of the conversation. You may have noticed this tendency in yourself when talking to your love interest, or a friend or family may have pointed it out to you. This habit could be an indication of your high level of affection for this person, and a sign that you may be in love with them.

4. You Imagine Your Future Together

If you frequently daydream about what a future might look like with this person, it could be a sign that you’re in love with them. You might consider it a pretty good idea (rightfully, in some cases) to introduce them to your friends and family, take a trip, or live together. All of these actions may be done in an effort to create a deep connection with this person. 

Whatever your thoughts may consist of, wanting to share the things that matter to you with this person and remain together over a more extended period could indicate that you love them.

5. Your Eating Or Sleeping Patterns Have Changed

You can thank the hormone norepinephrine again if you’re experiencing trouble sleeping or losing appetite from being in love. It’s associated with giddy and euphoric feelings, but it's also normal for this hormone to cause decreased appetite and insomnia.

Insomnia and decreased appetite can be caused due to the increase in energy the chemical provides. You’ve likely seen this trope play out in everything from movies to love songs. Being in love is sometimes associated with a “can’t eat, can’t sleep” experience. However, this may be temporary. 

How Feelings Of Love Might Change Over Time

There’s a lack of consensus on how many stages of love there are. However, many agree that how a person experiences being in love can change over time. Many individuals have highlighted the “honeymoon phase” that often characterizes the early stages of getting to know and falling in love with someone. 

The signs of love outlined above may be more related to the infatuation or beginning stages of a relationship. However, love can feel different later on, and it doesn’t mean it’s no longer love. 

If a new relationship lasts through an immediate infatuation stage, it may then enter one of building trust and commitment. The Gottman Institute posits that most disagreements in a long-term relationship will happen in the first two years for this reason—because the individuals are learning about each other, whether they can trust one another, and how to handle conflict together. 

After that, the couple may begin to feel calm or settle into a more comfortable dynamic over the long term. How your relationship makes you feel may change the longer you spend time together, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve fallen out of love, nor is it necessarily a reason to feel sadness. If you’re unsure what a change in your feelings for your partner means, consider reaching out for support.

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Getting Advice On Your Love Life

Being in love with someone can feel exciting, but it may also seem overwhelming to accept at times. You may also be confused on what love means to you or what it means to your partner. Some people choose to turn to a trained counselor to help them sort out what they’re feeling. For example, a therapist could help you learn how to identify healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics, set boundaries to avoid getting hurt emotionally, or build other skills that may help you sustain a fulfilling romantic relationship.

If you don’t have the time to drive to weekly appointments with an in-person therapist, or if one isn’t available in your area, you might try online counseling. Online counseling is available for individuals and couples, and research suggests it’s as effective as traditional, in-person therapy. 

With a platform like BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples, you can get matched with a therapist who you can speak with virtually.

Takeaway

Figuring out whether you’re in love may feel confusing. It may be beneficial to note that love can change over time and may cause physical sensations or changes. If you’re struggling with love or another aspect of romantic relationships or sexual activity, consider reaching out to a counselor to gain further professional insight.

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