What Is True Love?

Updated October 6, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

We all have a different idea of what true love entails. For some of us, our impression was formed from the examples we saw growing up. For others, it's the six types of love that we saw on TV or in movies. Some of us don't know where our idea of what true love is came from. But, unless you really know and understand what true love is, you may have a hard time knowing how to find it and then you may even question is love enough?

Most everyone would prefer the idea of true love meaning you have a happily ever after. That once you find the right person, everything is just going to be perfect. But this is real life, and those endings are for fairy tales.

Love Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

What Is True Love And How Can I Find It?

There's a quote by J.S. Park that says, "Real love doesn't meet you at your best. It meets you in your mess."

This quote does a great job of summing up what true love is all about. True love is not having a perfect relationship. It's not having a perfect person or being a perfect person either. True love is not about always getting along, always having the best circumstances, or always having things easy with your partner.

But don't get discouraged; true love is still an amazing thing. But, it's not what it looks like in the media.

In Movies

In the movies, true love looks like a person finding their perfect match. They may have a complicated time getting to the right person. But, when they do, everything is wonderful. It's usually at the end of the movie when things wrap up so nicely and you just know it's going to be smooth sailing from then on.

True love doesn't look like this. When you are constantly comparing true love in real life to how its depicted on TV or in the movies, you’re often setting your relationships up for failure. If you're always waiting for someone to sweep you off your feet and never let you down, you're likely to be disappointed. While there might be someone out there that's a better fit for you than others, there is no perfect person, and there is no perfect relationship.

In Real Life

In real life, true love is two people who are willing to put aside their personal desires for the other person. It means loving someone enough that you're willing to look past their imperfections. This doesn't mean that you don't see your partner’s flaws, but that you choose them anyway.

True love involves forgiving each other because no one is perfect. It means letting go of unrealistic expectations and knowing that there will be times when your partner fails you or lets you down. And you're going to do the same thing to them. There will be times when you'll need to apologize. True love is willing not to keep count and working to move past the difficulties.

People truly in love stick it out even when things get tough. When you truly love someone, you celebrate their successes, comfort them in their losses, laugh with them, cry with them, and experience life with them. If you listen to the words of typical marriage vows, they do a good job depicting what is required of true love: "For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part."

These are not easy words to live by. But this is what people truly in love do. They choose to be there and stick with it through it all.

True love is an acceptance of who you are as a person. Even when your partner doesn't agree with you, they don't try to change you. When you found true love, you often feel you can talk about anything with your partner. You can trust them with your deepest dreams, your hardest memories, and your biggest fears.

When two people are genuinely in love, they are a team. They're two people that have come together and have decided to stand in unison. They don't just look after their individual goals. Instead, they work together to better their lives together. It's not only about one person; it's about them together as a unit.

What Does True Love Feel Like?

Many people think that the feelings that they experience at the beginning of a relationship signal true love. It's exciting when things are brand new: butterflies in your stomach, blushing, flirting. It’s an exciting time in a relationship and while these are great feelings, they don’t necessarily indicate true love.

True love is felt over time as two people get to know each other. It isn't something that you can feel instantaneously for someone because you don't understand who they are or their character yet.

But, true love can feel even better than those beginning phases of love. While electricity and chemistry might not always there, the relationship has the potential to grow into something that is so much deeper. It offers the comfort of being able to be completely you with no fear of judgment.

Overall, true love can bring up many emotions. There are days when you may feel like everything is right with the world, and then there will be days that challenge you more than you thought possible. But you love your partner, and you're willing to stick it out with them even during the difficult times.

True love might not feel the same for everyone, and that's all right. Each person is different, and each relationship is different. But, true love should never make you feel bad about yourself. If guilt, shame, and embarrassment are a constant part of your relationship, then it's something that should be addressed. This is a sign of an unhealthy relationship and not one of true love.

How To Know That It's Not True Love

Some people confuse true love with behaviors that are more related to codependency, low self-esteem, and people-pleasing. True love is not going to try to control you. Someone who loves you will want you to be your unique self. They're not going to make unjust demands or expect you to always give in when a compromise needs to be made.

True love is not going to require unrealistic expectations from you. A partner who truly loves you will not threaten you or push you into doing things that make you uncomfortable.

If someone truly loves you, they will be committed to you. They're not going to have another person on the side or do anything else that would break your trust. A people who truly loves you will not constantly compare you to others because they allow you to be yourself.

Love Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

True love does not include physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse. Instead, it should provide you with feelings of comfort and safety. This is not what true love looks like or how someone truly in love acts.

If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or Text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.

True love is also not a feeling; it's a choice. It's something that you have to decide to actively do . When you truly love someone, you cannot let your feelings and emotions control your behavior toward them.

When You Need A Little Help With Love

What is love? Love is a complicated thing. There is no one-size-fits-all explanation of what love looks like or how to love someone properly. This can make it tricky to figure out on your own.

You may have questions about why you can't seem to find true love or why you seem to sabotage your relationships. If you are struggling in this area, counseling can help you make the progress that you need. You may consider speaking with a counselor alone or with your partner.

Research shows that online counseling can be just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy, and when it comes to couples, one study found that video-based counseling allowed many couples to feel a greater sense of control and comfort through the use of technology. 

If you are interested in having the support of a therapist, consider working with a BetterHelp counselor. An experienced BetterHelp therapist can help you work through things by asking the right questions to help you move forward. Counselors can offer an unbiased perspective in a setting that is safe and convenient. You can find comfort knowing that every BetterHelp provider is in good standing and has gone through an intensive review process conducted by another licensed clinician. Read these reviews of BetterHelp therapists who have helped people like you

“As someone who had sought counseling/therapy for the first time, I had serious doubts about the effectiveness of online therapy, but my first meeting with Susan erased those doubts immediately. Over the last six months, Susan has not only given me tools to help me establish boundaries but has given me a new perspective on relationships and life in general. After a few sessions, I was able to turn a corner and have a new outlook on my interactions with others. I wholeheartedly recommend Susan and hope to work with her again in the future.”

“I am so happy I got paired with Ruthie Brooks. My sessions with her have been a positive and insightful experience.  As a result, I can see my relationships improving and I have a better understanding of myself. She is very professional, kind, and great at what she does.”


True love is complicated, but it's something that can be found and truly enjoyed. So, if you are struggling, reach out for help today.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the real meaning of true love?
How do you know it is true love?
What true love feels like?
What is the difference between love and true love?
What is the purest form of love?
How do you know a man is your true love?
What are the key elements to true love?
What are the 4 types of love?
What is the highest form of love?
What makes a man feel connected to a woman?

What True Love means?

How do you know True Love?

Does True Love exist?

What are the 3 main qualities of love?

How long does true love last?

Can true love fade away?

How do you feel when in love?

Does true love have jealousy?

Why do we feel pain in love?

Is love from the heart or brain?

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