Many people develop their ideologies about love from what they watch at the cinema or on TV, but as much as we want these notions to be realistic, sadly, most are not. Understanding real love and how it evolves takes navigating the entire process to unravel its mysteries to the eventual success or bitter end. How do you know whether what you're experiencing is true love?
It’s difficult to differentiate between lust, infatuation, and feelings of authentic love. While the emotion is one so ingrained in each person’s individual life, it’s the least understood emotion.
Science has its own interpretations of the emotions people experience when they indicate they’re in love, but these aren’t definitive expectations someone can anticipate when following their own path. There is no guideline or set of rules or regulations that determine what it should feel like when you fall in love, what signs to pay attention to, or how those feelings will evolve.
As a person attracted to someone in a way you haven’t had with someone before, it’s important to try to differentiate whether these emotions are purely a physical attraction or lust, an infatuation that can often be short-lived, or a more meaningful connection that can be built on as you spend more time together and become more familiar with each other.
In most cases, you’ll know what you’re feeling is love when you have great empathy towards the individual, a sense that your emotions, dreams, and life are interconnected, there’s an understanding between you that you haven’t had and don’t share with another person, a feeling that you know this person better than anyone you’ve known before.
When you’re emotionally connected with another person, the two of you are aligned in every way instead of having a mere physical attraction, having a good time, or enjoying surface-level discussions.
There’s more of a security, a deep inner connection, a soul alignment. With this individual, you’re not opposed to offering a second chance because this person is worth that risk. The feelings you share are far above superficiality, a depth that you often can’t comprehend.
While love is complex and confusing, not at all something that can be definitively explained, there are some signs that can let you know it is what you’re beginning to experience. Here are things to pay attention to.
With someone you’re falling in love with, the connection is deep instead of being on a surface level. The conversations that you share are less about chit-chat or small talk and take on a more meaningful context. There’s a focus on what the other person cares about, their hopes, dreams, goals, and here and now.
You have an understanding of who the other person is even at the beginning of the relationship, almost as though you’ve known them despite just meeting. It’s an attraction that goes far deeper than physical, intellectual, or just being able to enjoy each other’s company.
When in love, you have a care, compassion, or empathy that’s different from what you share with others. It can be confusing and uncertain when you open yourself up and allow vulnerability but as you grow, the love proves itself worthy.
The comfort felt with someone you fall in love with is like being at home no matter where you are. Home doesn’t have to be a physical location; it’s a blend of feelings when you’re with a person that you genuinely love. Some of these include being secure in the partnership, comfortable with the person being around, safe, relaxed, and content.
Home is where everyone feels their most protected and safe; a happy home includes all these “ingredients.” It’s a place everyone looks forward to coming back to, and that’s the same with someone you’re in love with. You look forward to being in their company. You can’t wait for the next time you get to be around them.
The more you’re with them, the more you want to be. As you grow more attached, this is someone you’ll start to look to for reassurance and support.
For men in love, there’s a distinct instinct to protect the person they love not only from physically being harmed but also to defend against all negativity. As a rule, it’s suggested that men in partnerships want to take on the role of the hero protecting their partner, a concept that traces back far in ancient history and is a deep-seated component of male biology.
When you, as a mate in a heterosexual relationship, bring a sense of heroship to your male partner, it will naturally make him feel a sense of protectiveness and release his masculine instincts, leading to a deeper attraction. It connects him as a person his partner needs to have in their life, not just a friend or companion.
While this might seem like an antiquated mindset for women who aren’t in need of “saving,” men haven’t lost that desire to feel needed, and many women still have an underlying desire to be cared for.
While the consensus is that falling in love is something that leaves you in a constant state of euphoria, extreme joy, and overwhelming happiness, there are many more emotions, including uncertainty, a strong sense of vulnerability and fear, and confusion over what you’re experiencing, particularly if this is something new for you.
Falling in love often leaves people with the idea that they don’t have control over their emotions, like something bigger is overriding the boundaries they keep. At the same time, it can make a person feel like they can do anything like everything is right in the world.
You realize your life would probably be negatively affected if this person were no longer a part of it, and you know you’re not prepared to find that out.
With life’s pace, it can be difficult to make anything or anyone a priority. However, when you find someone that you want to make time for or push other things to the side in favor of seeing this person, it’s obvious that you’re developing more profound feelings.
You might have been forced to prioritize time for others you dated or had semi-serious relationships with, but when strong emotions develop for someone, you prefer their company over doing anything else. When you set someone else as an important part of your life, that can mean that:
Romantic love is comparable to that of a parent; it’s unconditional, with each partner always making the other a priority. You always want the best for the person you love.
When you’re falling in love with someone, it’s easy to start considering a future. In the beginning, short-term plans are more the norm, like whether you’ll include them in work events, with your weekend plans, or if you’ll decide to take a holiday together.
You’ll also start to think about introducing them to close friends and family in case you want to take the relationship to the next step, which will likely mean exclusivity. When the other person becomes more involved in your life, your mind will logically start to think about more of a long-term future.
You’ll know you’re falling in love when you can see yourself moving forward into a more committed relationship like an engagement or getting married. You’ll know the feelings you’re experiencing are mutual when you can have a conversation about the future, and the other person isn’t scared away.
When in the honeymoon phase of a relationship or when you’re infatuated with someone, the things that might normally be construed as flaws or annoyances are overlooked in favor of the positive qualities.
The problem is when the euphoria of new love begins to settle into more realism, the eccentricities and quirks could become a dealbreaker if they’re genuinely bothersome. These can also be something that draws you that much closer to the other person. They make the person unique, unlike anyone else.
Instead of ignoring what might have at one time been viewed as negative to search for more positive traits, these become favorite qualities, ones that you look forward to, that make your mate stand out; without these, things wouldn’t be the same. You would miss the eccentricities.
Certain people make others feel more safe and secure, less judged like they can be vulnerable and open without fear of consequences. Usually, these are close friends, family, loved ones. Building relationships like these takes time. It will come when trust is established, a level of comfortability, and a feeling of stability in the relationship.
Men, in particular, have difficulty opening up and being vulnerable. When they relax and start to feel comfortable, they’ll typically start slowly and gradually to see how it’s accepted and build from that point. Women are more open and let their guard down sooner, allowing their partners to see authentic feelings with the hope that they’ll be emotionally protected with their vulnerability.
When falling in love, it can be overwhelming, and you can feel consumed by the emotions, almost like you’re losing control because these are strong emotions with expectations to try to contend with. You don’t want to become obsessed but might feel as though you are somewhat because your thoughts are focused entirely on that person and what’s developing between you.
This is completely normal for each person who finds themself falling in love. It’s supposed to deplete your energy, absorb your time, and consume your focus and attention to the point that anything else attempting to intrude on this aspect of your life will feel like an uninvited interruption.
As you adjust to these new feelings and settle into your loving bond, your partner’s role will remain vital to your emotional wellness but you’ll learn to cope with the love in your life as one important part of your well-being among many and not the only all-consuming single component you once considered it.
Everyone has a different way of describing falling in love. No two people experience falling in love the same nor do they express those feelings and emotions in the same terminology. Some find falling in love very passionate, intense, and overwhelming. Others find stability in these feelings, expressing more comfort, safety, and a sense of peace and security.
In other people, it can be a combination of all these things. There’s no right or wrong way to go through the experience. The important thing is that it goes beyond the honeymoon phase or the infatuation stage to be considered true love.
This phase can be short-lived. It isn’t necessarily authentic love but more of a crush that fades when you become more familiar with the other person and the reality of the relationship; not always, but sometimes.
You’ll know you’re falling in love when there’s less euphoria and trying to please the other person or make an impression, but instead, each person is authentic, and the connection is more meaningful.
When you’re falling in love, happy hormones like dopamine are released in the brain. This particular chemical speaks to you that your needs are being met. Often, when you hear the person you love call your name, this chemical is released.
It’s also activated when you have the first kiss. Your brain is inundated with the substance when someone believes they’ve found the right one for their life. This chemical is usually the substance that gives people the euphoric sensation, head-over-heel response when falling in love.
Dopamine, according to the University Health News, gives those who fall in love the feeling of bliss, focus, elation, and joy. It makes you feel exceptional happiness and joy to just be with that person. You’re encouraged to put forth the effort to maintain the connection, deepen the bond, and work toward a thriving, healthy, and successful partnership.
This is not the only chemical released. In addition, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins also are activated when falling in love. Oxytocin is stimulated by having trust in the other person and through touch. It’s touted as the “cuddle” hormone.
Serotonin is activated when you feel stable and positive about the person you’re falling in love with but it also has the potential for adding a layer of anxiety and obsessiveness to a partnership.
With endorphins, the idea is that you feel a sense of calm when the one you’re falling or have fallen in love with is near. Endorphins help to soothe anxiety, release stress, and calm pain. Along with serotonin and oxytocin, endorphins are associated with comfort and attachment. Each of these are released from the brain and is crucial for helping people stay connected.
When you fall in love, your expectation is that everything will be good all the time, but that’s not reality. Unfortunately, there will be rough patches. How you manage those rough patches will speak to how your love will progress.
These are difficult and painful, especially when you love someone. Anything negative that the person you care most about has to say will have a great effect on you. Any hurt that they inflict will seem like something you’ll never get over. This is all part of being in love. It’s not supposed to be roses and sunshine all the time. There will be ups and downs.
Even the most perfect love requires time, effort, and work to prevent it from becoming complacent, allow it to remain fresh, exciting, and timeless, and strive for optimum partnership health and wellness. The priority is avoiding the pitfalls that come with love, including jealousy, possessiveness, becoming emotionally dependent on the partnership, and so on.
Ideally, in the best partnership where each person has fallen deeply in love, you can enjoy moments of being together doing different activities in complete silence but entirely content in the companionship. Signs that indicate you’re in love are that you can endure the bad times, the silent moments, and the good and always come out content.
Falling in love is something everyone does and sometimes more than once but how do you know which of those times is authentic love, what does it feel like? The concept of falling in love is one that not many people understand or can decipher, even though many try.
Most people take cues from watching romantic movies or TV programs to see if that’s how it’s playing out in their own lives. But the writers for these screenplays for TV scripts don’t really have a clue either. It’s challenging to know what love feels like or understand when that magic moment happens.
Often it occurs, and you’re totally caught off guard; it’s sudden, sporadic, almost like a sucker punch that’s passionate and explosive and stays that way throughout the couple’s entire life together. With others, it’s gradual, slow, comfortable, and peaceful. It grows and evolves quietly and blissfully into a deep, meaningful bond.
The giveaway to let you know this is the one for life, your true love, is you won’t want anyone else in that role, plainly. Your search will be complete; it will be something you just know. Sometimes, this is an immediate realization upon meeting the person, and sometimes, it happens as the relationship grows, but it becomes apparent.