Do I Love My Boyfriend? Help Me Decide

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson
Updated February 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

You may feel that your boyfriend treats you right, all the time and that he’s a perfect match for you. Perhaps your boyfriend has quickly become your best friend because you love spending time with him, and you get along so well. However, despite this, you may be questioning if you truly love him or struggling to imagine spending your life with him.

Telling a romantic partner you love them for the first time can be scary. Love can imply a deeper commitment than casually dating. If you're going to take the risk and express your true love for your boyfriend, it’s generally important to sort out your own thoughts and know for certain that it's true. This post can provide you with some tips to determine if you love your boyfriend, or if you might be experiencing strong (but potentially fleeting) emotions.

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How do I know if I’m really in love with my boyfriend?

Love, lust, attraction, and physical intimacy

According to experts, there are generally thought to be three types of romantic love: lust, attraction, and attachment—and each is associated with its own set of hormones. Estrogen and testosterone can be responsible for feelings of lust, while attraction can be associated with the release of dopamine in the hypothalamus as a response to (or “reward” for) the good feelings that can be associated with spending time together. These can spring forward from a range of possibly positive experiences, such as engaging in physical intimacy, sexual activity, or developing a relationship. 

Attachment isn’t necessarily limited to romantic relationships, either. It can also be present in relationships between a parent and child, close platonic friends, and other types of bonds. For example: The hormones oxytocin and vasopressin can be released as a result of the bonding experiences we have with others, possibly resulting in long-term relationships. 

Love vs. being in love: What’s the difference?

If you are unsure if you are in love with your partner or if you love them on a deeper level, you may be in the midst of transitioning from attraction to attachment.  Right now, you might already feel a rush when you think about them or spend time together, and it may resemble that feeling that you see depicted in romantic movies, novels, and ads. 

However,  the joyous feeling of being in love may not be the same as loving someone. When you love someone, for example, you will typically see them as a whole person, someone you want to build a stronger bond with. That's what love is to many—building a safe and honest bond with someone that makes both parties feel like they matter.

Can you have both in romantic relationships?

Can an individual be in love and love at the same time? Many will answer both “yes” and “no.” Different couples can experience the euphoria of being in love for different lengths of time. For some, the feeling of being in love can begin in the dating period through the engagement time, and then the marriage to the honeymoon period. Then the feeling might fade, and more realistic love can replace those feelings. Even though those original feelings may feel diminished, real love can be a much stronger bond to many. 

However, the universal nature of this experience doesn’t necessarily mean we cannot be in love with a partner we love. Feelings of butterflies may always be there when you see your partner, for example, however, they may be from the strong experiences that have tied you together rather than a whirlwind courtship. 

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How do you know if you love your boyfriend?

You may want to consider the following points in clarifying whether or not you love your boyfriend.

You feel as if he’s a best friend

Some tell-tale signs that you feel that your boyfriend is like a best friend to you can include:

  • Enjoying spending time with him, even if it’s just watching TV
  • Experiencing eagerness to tell him about the funny things you run into throughout the day, even if they seem minor
  • Your ability to laugh openly about something that would be otherwise embarrassing to you, possibly allowing you to engage in a close form of intimacy despite the nature of the situation
  • You believing that his opinion is meaningful and relevant to you when you make an important decision
  • Your willingness to try a different type of activity for a date, like a sporting event, just because it would bring him happiness—regardless of how it would make you feel

When a relationship develops into love, your boyfriend might seem to shift from someone you date to a best friend. This doesn't mean you have to push your other friends or those you have platonic love for aside, however, if you think of him as more than just a friend or a casual date, you may be ready to tell him that you love him. 

You accept each other as individuals

To determine if you love your boyfriend, you might consider seriously whether you can accept him for who he is and vice versa. Do you love his personality and way of life? The good qualities and the bad? 

If you can see yourself putting in the effort to show love to this person, despite his flaws, then it can be a good indication that you love him. Conversely, if either of you feels you want to “fix” the other, are overly critical or are constantly annoyed with each other, then you may want to consider carefully whether you love him. 

You respect each other

Respect can be very important in all relationships—especially romantic ones. You and your boyfriend should consider being respectful of each other's boundaries, decisions, family, and friends. By doing this, you can make each other feel safe—never pushing the other to do something that may harm their well-being or make them uncomfortable. 

The foundational tone of these actions is respect, which can lay the foundation of a successful, long, and loving relationship. 

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How do I know if I’m really in love with my boyfriend?

Still not sure if you love your boyfriend?

If you are trying to avoid saying, "I love you," but do want your boyfriend to know how you feel, you can tell him what you love about him. You can consider being generous with your compliments. While complimenting his looks can be nice to do, you can also try to touch on things other than physical attraction. For example: You can let him know how much you love his sense of humor or his kindness towards others. 

How can online therapy support people in having healthy relationships?

With the increasing popularity of online therapy, platforms like BetterHelp can make it easier for many to reach a licensed, accredited therapist with experience using CBT to help people with self-esteem challenges, trust issues, and difficulties communicating in relationships. 

Online therapy is considered by many to be convenient, personal, and often more affordable than traditional therapy without insurance coverage, possibly reducing barriers to treatment for many.  

Is online therapy effective?

Online therapy is also regarded by many to be as effective as in-person therapy for using CBT to treat a wide range of mental health concerns.

A literature review of several studies published in the National Library of Medicine has found details that suggest that “ICBT (internet cognitive behavioral therapy) is effective in the treatment and management of various psychiatric disorders such as depression, GAD and social anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, addiction and substance use disorders, adjustment disorder, bipolar disorder, and OCD”.”

You can speak to a BetterHelp therapist via phone, text, online messaging and video chat on your schedule from home or anywhere with a reliable internet connection. If you’re ready to try therapy, BetterHelp can match you with a counselor tailored to your needs.

Takeaway

Determining whether you love your boyfriend may take time—so it can be okay to hold off on telling him you love him directly until you’re sure. You may choose to consider your experiences with him, how comfortable you feel with him, and how ready you feel to enter a more serious relationship. In the meantime, you might consider talking to a trusted friend, relative, or counselor about your feelings. They may have a perspective on the situation that can help you to find happiness or the best possible solution.   If you’re considering online therapy, BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.

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