What are the signs of being in love?
How do we know if it’s real?
How do you know if you truly love someone? It can be tough to differentiate between lust, like, and true (or mature) love. Here are a few key tips:
- With mature love, you feel that you respect someone for who they are as a person.
- Mature love also brings with it a sense of deep friendship—a strong connection that goes far beyond lust or “I like you.”
- True love also puts the other person first—or at least on par—with you. However, this does not mean that one sacrifices one’s own morals or values. In essence, it means that you care about the other person enough to put their interests on the same level as yours.
- Mature love also listens to another person—true interest and deep listening are signs of deep love.
Related: 20 Best Relationship Books
Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC
Certified Life Coach | Relationship Expert | Professional Matchmaker |
Founder and Owner, Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC
You’re on Team Relationship
One sure sign that you are in love is when you care more about the relationship winning than you win. In times of conflict, do you work towards the greater good of the relationship rather than simply your own agenda? A willingness to compromise, apologize and admit when you are wrong are good indicators that you are truly in love.
Their Presence Is Everything
Do you value time spent with your partner over almost anything else? Do you notice yourself enjoying experiences, but thinking you would enjoy them even more if your partner was present? Do you feel that your partner adds a special element to your life and things just aren’t the same when they aren’t there? If you answered yes to these questions, chances are you are truly in love.
You Tolerate Things
Do you tolerate spending time with your partner’s friends or family even if they aren’t your cup of tea? Do you participate in activities that your partner finds highly enjoyable, but you don’t. Tolerating people or experiences in order to spend more time with your partner or just to see them happy and content is a sign of true love.
They’re Always on Your Mind
Do you do what you can to make your partner’s life easier without being asked? Are they on your mind so often that you automatically factor their happiness into your decisions and daily activities? A person who is truly in love will go out of their way to support their partner in both large and small ways that may make life just a little bit easier. Little gestures of thoughtfulness and caring (even subconsciously) are a good indication of true love!
Hayden M. Lindsey, M.S., LPC-I
Couples Therapist, Austin Intimacy Solutions
In my line of work, I often hear people tell me they love someone when in reality they “really like” them. If you really like someone, you’ll want to be around them all the time because they make you feel good. Really liking someone is often confused with love because it is quite intoxicating.
There’s nothing wrong with “really liking someone,” or even “really, really liking someone.” Until our partner’s well-being is at odds with our pleasure. Partners who really like each other but do not progress to mature love will spend lots of time trying to “get” things from one another at each other’s expense. These partners ask “what have you done for me lately?” and focus less on sharing experiences or building a life together.
But to truly love someone means you’ll want them to be happy, even if that means choosing to not be with you.
When we commit to someone we love, we are essentially telling them “I want you to be with the person that makes you the happiest, and I believe that person is me.” What a statement to make! This view of love keeps each partner focused on their own personal development.
True love is about needing, but it is not about neediness. Neediness is based on our own incompleteness, the desire to “get” something from our partners that we didn’t get as children. It is anxiety-driven and keeps us entangled in old dramas. Needing, on the other hand, is based on an understanding of the unique bond we share with our partners, and how great our loss will be when they exit our lives. Healthy partners say “I need you because I love you,” while unhealthy partners say “I love you because I need you.”
At its core, what we call “love” is a unique emotional bond between two people that deepens over time. Partners who truly love each other deliberately nurture this bond through emotional responsiveness.
Being emotionally responsive is mostly about tuning in when your partner is no longer feeling safe to share themselves with you and taking steps to re-establish emotional safety. When a partner calls and we respond, the bond is strengthened. Partners who truly love each other answer this call time and again.
We cannot truly love someone without being true to ourselves. If you truly love your partner, you will feel at home with them. You can relax and play with them. That doesn’t mean there’s never tension, just that in general you are free to be yourself without judgment or ridicule.
Finally, if you truly love your partner, you will feel as though you have a compelling future with them. If you’re unsure, take a few moments to close your eyes and feel what happens in your body when you imagine this person next to you in your final moments. (Let’s be real here, this is what we’re after!)
Do you feel your chest tightening? That may be your body telling you something. Or do you feel warmth and expansion? That expansive feeling is a good sign you’re on the right track. Often we’ll try to process the question “is this the right person” through the mind, but the body is a much more reliable source of information.
I hope that helps you on your path to discovering true love! But I should add that true love is “necessary but not sufficient” to make a relationship work. We need a certain skill set. If you’re struggling in this area, do not hesitate to find a professional in your area. Our families are built and broken on love and there is no shame in getting support in this vitally important area.
Dating Expert, Dating Scout
You Choose to Love Them Even During the Hardest of Times
It is so easy to talk about love when everything is going great. However, you know you truly love someone if you choose to love them even if you don’t want to. Try to love even when you are pissed, angry, or feeling negative emotions—it isn’t so easy, is it? It isn’t going to be perfect skies and chirping birds all the time.
Couples fight but if you choose to reach an agreement instead of “winning,” that’s when you know. It is being in each other’s team. It is listening, compromising, apologizing, and forgiving despite those being the hardest things to do. But if you are with the right person, you’d find that all the hard work is worth it.
When You Have Seen the Worst in Them and You Still Chose to Stay
If you don’t think that your partner has flaws, you’re probably just in love with the idea of them. Only after you truly knew the imperfections of that person and you still chose to stay with them can you truly gauge how much affection you have for them.
It can be anything: their behavior, physical or emotional traits that you will find unappealing. Despite this, you are willing to be with them to support and grow together as people.
You Trust Them
You know that you truly love someone when you have learned to fully trust them. That means you can always take them for their word and that you don’t have to keep asking for signs to prove their love for you.
You See the Person as an Extension of Yourself
You want that person to succeed in all of their endeavors. You are not competitive because you see that person as an extension of yourself. You only want good things to happen to them because, for you, that’s the only thing they deserve. You want to be always there for that person so you can cry, laugh, and hurt with them.
You See Your Future Together
When you imagine your life in the future, you will see an image of them being a part of it. You feel like that person will make a better addition to your future. This doesn’t mean that your future will only be “complete” with them in it.
This merely tells how special you hold that person to be and how eager you are to grow together as individuals. Love, after all, is working together to improve your relationship by being better individuals.
Senior Manager, People Looker
Selfless. True love is selfless—it puts others first and doesn’t seek selfish themes. Your focus is on the happiness of another and you seek to give and consider other’s needs before your own. If you find you have a laundry list of things that you need, rather than things that you can give, it’s probably not the real thing.
Imperfection. Knowing that it’s not all moonlight and roses is a sign of true love. Acknowledging faults and imperfections and loving anyway is the real thing. When you acknowledge shortcomings and choose to stay in spite of them, it’s true love.
Be Real. Everything looks great in a love story, but life isn’t like that. Falling in love feels like butterflies and rainbows, but love should be realistic, not idealistic. There is no such thing as the perfect relationship. Even the healthiest ones have issues!
Commitment. Love should come with a certain amount of commitment. There are days where true love will be a choice. If it’s true love, the choice will be instinctive and not something to toil over.
The Best. True love seeks the best for others, even if sometimes that means not being together, or waiting for the other over time and space. When you are happy and content to see someone else happy, it’s love!
Love is one of the beautiful gifts of life. There’s so much chaos in the world, but love should be your safe shelter. Being in love is one of the most beautiful things that happen in life, so if you have the above, embrace it and be thankful!
Kathe Kline, ChFC, CRPS
How do you know if you truly love someone?
You’ll know when you truly love someone. When you first meet someone you are attracted to outer being. You may constantly crave being with them. You might want to know all about the past. Hours will seem like minutes when you are talking. Every ounce of you is burning when you are apart. You think that someone is funny or cool. You’ll catch yourself smiling. You’ll feel butterflies.
In the early stages of a relationship, it can be difficult to figure out if it’s love or lust. Is that desire to be together true love, or just a physical desire?
True Love vs Lust
Butterflies and smiles will eventually go away when life catches up with you. You’ll breathe again, you’ll relax. So how do you know if you truly love someone the smiles turn to frowns and butterflies fly away? How do you know if you are still in love?
Truly Loving Someone Goes Beyond the Physical
You’ll be able to see past the flaws. You’ll truly want what’s best for that person, even if it’s not best for you. You’ll be realistic. You’ll see their flaws, their shortcomings, and their weaknesses, but you’ll choose to stay. You’ll embrace the flaws instead of trying to make your lover change them.
The flaws will be there, but you won’t dwell on them because you’ll accept them and focus on what drew you to your love in the first place.
Loving someone unconditionally means accepting both the good and the bad, including vices they may have. When you’re in love with someone, you might still hold out hope that your partner will change eventually. And while relationships can help both of you grow, expecting someone to change completely may not be realistic.
It’s When You Automatically Think of Their Needs Before Your Own
You’ll think of someone else’s needs before your own. You’ll start thinking of ways to give love back.
If you’ve never felt this kind of love before it may seem strange, not only to you but to the person you love.
You’ll celebrate when your love triumphs, even if you don’t triumph yourself. You’ll feel their joy, even when you have pain in your own heart. You’ll truly be happy with your lover. It won’t be fake happiness.
You will change and become interested in what your love is interested in. If you love hikes and you are a couch potato, you’ll find yourself getting off the couch occasionally so that you can share that interest.
If your love watches football, you’ll sometimes watch football too so you can have that shared experience. It doesn’t mean that you’ll lose yourself and stop doing what you love, it means that you’ll expand your horizons.
It’s When You Become a Better and Different Version of Yourself
You’ll take on the traits and characteristics of your love, and if you’ve chosen well, it will be the traits that make you a better person. You might become more adventuristic than you were before. You might do something you never dreamed of doing before the two of you met.
Your friends will also notice that you are better when you are with your true love. And speaking of friends, it matters to you what they think. You’ll want your friends and your lover to love each other too. If it’s a good match, likely they will.
You’ll Still Have Disagreements and Arguments, but You Won’t Hold Grudges
You won’t blame each other, and you’ll listen to what each other says. In the end, you’ll learn to forgive each other because your relationship is the most important thing, not how the toilet paper is placed on the holder.
There will be some hard times, there always are. But if you truly love someone, you’ll make your decisions based on your commitment, not based on what is happening right now. Just like the stock market, there will be peaks and lows. And just like the stock market, if you ride out the lows, the highs will come back, and over time your love will get stronger.
If You Don’t Stay Together, You’ll Still Love Your True Love
You’ll have a selfless fondness for the person, even if you don’t stay together. You won’t feel vengeance for a breakup. You’ll truly want them to be happy, even if their happiness doesn’t include you.
…and you’ll know when that someone loves you because they’ll do the same. You’ll grow better together.
Preconstruction Administrator, Phelan Construction LLC
A few weeks ago, I eloped to city hall in Manchester, NH with the love of my life. It cost us $200 (plus parking); took 40 minutes from entering the parking garage to leaving the parking garage, and our official wedding photo (taken on my phone) is of the two of us laughing.
Years before this nuptial giggle-fit, I nearly married a man whom I thought I truly loved. I believe that he thought that he truly loved me too. We were both wrong. Looking back on it, it’s odd…not so much painful, but I only allow myself a few moments of thinking how my life could have gone down a very different road, where I would never have experienced contentment and love in the way that I am living it.
To experience love – truly – you need to start from a place of self-respect. Because we first learn love from our families, for some people, learning love means unlearning toxic patterns. This is a process that we may not realize that we have to go through.
As someone who started therapy later in life, let me tell you, it’s a rough road. Looking inward, and exploring things that should be unlearned is also the most valuable thing I’ve done. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely leads to verbal diarrhea, as you find an elation and comfort in knowing that some things aren’t your fault. (Spoiler: It’s not your fault if you learned them; it’s your fault if – even unknowingly – you have employed those bad tactics.)
Because it is so difficult (and quite frankly: not always relevant) to translate feelings, here is what love is to me: love is constant; love includes brutal, sleep-on-the-couch honesty and fighting; love is built on self-respect, and respect of the other person.
Love includes disagreeing about important things, but finding a way to build a workaround…even if that disagreement is a zero-sum game, and your workaround is having the same discussion over and over again…but getting to the root of why you are each on one side of the argument, and respecting the other person for their stance.
Love is not intensity; it does not seek to control. Love asks; love listens; love accepts, and love builds together.