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What is True Love? 58 Signs & Ways to Tell If What You’re Feeling Is Real

What is the meaning of true love really? Have you felt the signs of real true love, or are you still looking for it? Learn the definition of love and you’ll know for sure!

What is True Love Signs

So what is true love really? Can you recognize the signs of true love the minute you see it? Understanding love is like understanding the air we breathe. We know it’s all around us, and yet we can’t see it.

Is true love even real? If you’ve ever been through heartbreak or you feel as if you can’t find love anywhere, you might find yourself questioning whether love is indeed all that great. Yet, in the end, love really does conquer all. [Read: Unrealistic expectations that can ruin your love life]

Is love at first sight real?

This is something most people misunderstand, and we need to dispel this myth right away.

True love isn’t felt in a heartbeat or at a second glance. True love takes time to take shape. And contrary to popular belief, love at first sight isn’t really love at all. In fact, love at first sight is nothing but an infatuation – a strong surge of romantic and sexual emotions that overwhelm you.

Before you wonder what true love is all about and what the signs of true love really are, you need to be open to understanding that it’s very important to take things slow in a relationship if you want to ensure its success. [Read: The stages of love all couples have to go through]

The definition of true love

What does true love mean?

If true love isn’t about falling head over heels in love with someone, what is it then?

True love, ironically, can’t be defined. It’s the kind of love many of us chase after, but few truly find or realize it until it’s too late. So what really is true love?

1. You can’t control it

If you think love is something you choose, you’re wrong. Love is actually an uncontrollable feeling.

Neuroscientist Gabija Toleikyte believes these feelings reach deep into our subconscious. If you think this feeling is created in the moment, your brain has been processing this already in advance. [Read: Ways to know if you’ve experienced unconditional love]

2. It’s linked to biology

Well, here is where the whole idea of love becomes unromantic. Biologically, the feeling of love allows human beings to focus on one person for mating purposes. Essentially, this gives humans enough time to bond, make a baby, and nurture the child.

We know you probably think it’s about finding love. But actually, it’s about keeping the species alive. [Read: What are you feeling? Is it love or lust?]

3. Love is a different experience for everyone

Here’s the thing, the feeling of love isn’t uniform. You will experience love differently than anyone else will. Your perspective on relationships and life in general are different, too. Remember, we’re all different.

How we were raised and the way we think about love plays a factor. If your family was very affectionate, you’ll probably associate love with giving and receiving affection. Though, if someone isn’t as affectionate, that doesn’t mean they aren’t loving people.

4. True love is about accepting the bad and good

True love is willing to accept their bad qualities. We all have bad qualities, it’s a part of being human. However, to genuinely love someone is to know their bad qualities, yet, still wanting to be with them and share happiness with them.

Sure, they always burp at the table and it pisses you off, but at the end of the day, you accept it without even blinking. That is love. [Read: Why oxytocin can be toxic to flawed relationships]

5. It’s intense

Understanding what love is can be a little tricky, especially when trying to divide love and lust. However, there are some feelings that differentiate the two. Love is intense. You’re moody, your energy is bouncing off the walls, and you feel drunk.

Lust is when you physically want that person. But love, while physical, is also highly emotional and mental. You don’t necessarily need to have sex with them, you just want your partner to be with you all the time. [Read: The typical signs of lust and how to turn it into love]

6. Your brain is highly active

When you’re in love, your brain is put to work. Dopamine and serotonin levels are at their highest. These hormones activate the reward system in your brain. Your focus, energy, craving, and motivation are all activated.

This is why when you’re in love, you feel like you can do anything and you actually do things that you normally wouldn’t do. You’re on a love high.

7. Love isn’t abusive

Of course, love will make you angry and cry—this is a part of it. However, love isn’t supposed to mentally, emotionally, or physically degrade or suppress you. That isn’t love. Your partner should stand beside you and make you feel free.

If that’s not the case, then you know that it isn’t true love. That can be hard to hear, but it’s the truth. Do yourself a favor and don’t let them do this to you. [Read: Am I in an abusive relationship?]

8. Love doesn’t have to be sexual at first

There are many people who fall in love with people that they never thought they would want to sleep with. Love doesn’t have to start with sexual attraction. It’s not something that should be a huge part of genuine love. It can start with an emotional or mental connection and develop into physical attraction.

Love is weird, what can we say. [Read: What is real love, and 15 special ways it sets itself apart]

9. Love can last a lifetime

This is always a question people ask – can love last forever? We think it can. Though, we believe it takes on different forms with time. When you’re in love during the honeymoon period, it’s a different love than being with that person for ten years.

The connection grows, it deepens, and life experiences change you and your partner. Though it may not be that intense feeling, it doesn’t mean it’s not love, but true love means loving someone even if the butterflies in your stomach already flew away. [Read: What type of attraction is most vital for true love?]

Finding true love in your life

Is knowing about true love a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Not really. You can experience it many times over, and with many people at the same time. You can experience true love with your spouse or your lover, your children, and any other person you’re attached to in your life.

But true love too, can fade with time. For most of us, our first love is the first time we would have experienced the purest form of true love.

We aren’t afraid to let this special someone deep into our hearts and minds, and we aren’t afraid to experience heartbreak because we still don’t know what heartbreak feels like. We’re fearless in love and we love passionately with all our hearts.

But when the first romance dies, the true love we had for our first partner too eventually fades, even if it takes years and several new relationships to overcome. [Read: How your first love affects all your future relationships]

You can’t force true love

True love has to be experienced naturally and wholeheartedly. You can’t fake true love no matter how hard you try. If a couple fails to pass the test of compatibility in their infatuation stage, it’s pretty hard for both of them to ever experience true love.

On the other hand, if both partners can understand each other and relate to each other, they’ll start to love each other’s company and start to become inseparable. And eventually, this bond will turn into a pure and selfless love that we call true love. [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your real compatibility instantly]

The biggest signs of true love in a perfect romance

True love may be hard to define, but the signs to read true love can be clearly seen in every loving relationship. If you’re in a relationship and want to know if you’re experiencing the purest form of love, use these simple characteristics of real love that many couples should know about.

1. Give and take in love

You give to the relationship wholeheartedly, without any desire or expectations of getting something back in return from your partner to justify your actions. You don’t give your partner something, in the hope that you get something back in return.

Just the thought of doing something nice for this person fills your heart with happiness. [Read: 15 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or a taker?]

2. They fill you with pure happiness

Just watching this special person smile or laugh out loud fills you with intense happiness, even if you’re suffering or having a hard day.

This may sound pretty hard to imagine for someone who’s not experienced true, blissful love. But when you truly love someone deeply, the empathy you feel towards them makes you experience the same feelings of joy or pain they’re experiencing.

3. Pain and anger

You get terribly hurt when your lover upsets you, but their actions never anger you. You may get annoyed or frustrated now and then momentarily, but you just can’t stay mad at them for long. Staying mad or giving them the silent treatment hurts you more. [Read: The effective way to give someone the silent treatment in a relationship]

4. Support them through thick and thin

Your partner will have dreams and hobbies. If you’re truly in love with them, you’ll support their desires, so long as they’re not harmful to you or anyone else. Even if you don’t fully understand their dreams, you still cheer them on and support them to achieve their goals.

5. You care for them

It’s unconditional love. You care for them no matter what happens. Through injury, illness, or even just hard emotional times, you’re by their side.

This isn’t something that’s easy to do, even when you unconditionally love someone. Your partner may go through really hard times that’ll be difficult for you to stick through.

But if your love for each other holds strong through it all and you stick together even when things get tough, that’s true love. [Read: 21 heartfelt ways to show someone you care and make them feel loved]

6. It’s putting away your pride to make things right

You’re going to have disagreements now and then. Any couple that doesn’t have disagreements at some point is either lying or not truly in love. When you love a person, you don’t argue with them to win, but to understand their point of view.

And if you truly do love them, and you realize you’re wrong, you’ll bite the bullet, swallow your pride, apologize to them, and learn from the disagreement. [Read: 23 do’s and don’ts to remember when arguing in a relationship]

7. You make secret sacrifices for them

You are willing to sacrifice for their happiness or well-being, even if they may never realize it. A relationship based on true love is a partnership of two people who are givers.

You may be a taker with most people, but when you love someone truly, you’ll find yourself turning into a giver who takes pleasure in pleasing your partner in little ways.

8. The right effort

You go out of your way and make an effort to improve the relationship, and play a conscious part in trying to please your partner and make them feel loved and special.

This can also apply if you’re in a long-distance relationship and it’s hard to deal with problems and issues being apart. Even so, you still know that it is possible to find ways to stay in touch and find solutions to whatever problems you encounter.

[Read: How to be more romantic – 15 gestures that’ll make anyone melt]

9. You show your love through your gestures

You can’t expect love to last if you’re never putting in any effort. That fire won’t stay lit unless you stoke it and add something to help it burn. That something is your affection.

When you’re in true love, you make sure your partner knows how much you love them, through words and gestures. [Read: The 25 sweetest, romantic gestures for everyday life]

10. You can’t ever hurt them

When you’re truly in love with someone, you can’t even imagine hurting them, emotionally or physically. Payback and revenge are a strong human instincts, but true love always makes you completely selfless toward them.

11. You keep your promises

When you make a promise to them, you stick to your word even if this person will never find out if you broke that promise. When you experience true love, your moral conscience becomes very strong when it comes to this one special person.

You stick to your principles and do everything you possibly can to keep any promises you made to the one you love. [Read: 15 real relationship goals most couples have no idea about]

12. Lift them up when they’re down

You love your significant other and you want to make sure they’re happy because that also makes you happy. So, when they’re feeling down, you want to help cheer them up. This means you’ll try and try hard to make them feel better when they’re down.

13. You become selfless

True love is not selfish. When your significant other is having a hard time, you put your own needs aside to help them. Of course, your partner should do the same for you too.

It’s not easy to be selfless, especially when you have a hard day yourself. but just the thought of making your partner feel better, makes you feel better. [Read: Selfless love – 18 traits that set it apart from selfish love]

14. You see them in your future

In a perfect relationship, it’s good to have your own space to grow as individuals. But at the same time, if you truly love your partner, you’d see them as a very big part of your life.

When you think of your future, you can’t help but see them close by your side. [Read: How to give space in a relationship and come closer]

15. You share their burden

True love entails sharing their burden, and you do that even if you don’t really have to. You can’t bear to see this special someone suffering. If they’re dealing with some issue, you’re always willing to offer them a helping hand even when you have your own difficulties to look into.

16. You love them for their flaws

No one is perfect, that’s a fact. Your partner will definitely have flaws. True love isn’t about being blind to those things. Instead, it’s about loving those aspects of who they are, anyways.

If your significant other is always forgetful, you might get frustrated sometimes but overall, you’ll learn to love that about them. It’ll be a cute quirk instead of a hindrance and that’s what an example of true love is. [Read: How to not be annoying and be everyone’s best friend]

17. You remember the little things

There will be a lot of stuff you’ll learn about your significant other. True love is about remembering the small, but very important, details. It’s about knowing they hate pepper on their food and making sure the waiter takes down the order right.

It’s about knowing their dog’s birthday because that animal is one of the best things in their life. Making an effort to know the small things and show that you’ve been paying attention. That is what true love is about. [Read: Very powerful, yet small gestures that show how much you love someone]

18. Wanting the best for them even if it means less for you

Some people won’t be happy with you. It’s just the truth, as hard as that is to accept. If it’s true love you feel for them, you’ll want the best for them even if that means you’ll be unhappy.

We’re not saying you should give in to someone else’s will just because you love them. This means that you’re willing to give up on a few things if it’ll make your partner’s life happier or better in some way.

19. Pride and jealousy

You beam with pride when they achieve something, even if it’s the same thing you failed at. You may feel jealous of a friend who outdid you, but when you love someone, jealousy never enters the picture. [Read: How to stop being jealous of someone else’s success]

20. Suffering

You’ll be willing to suffer just to see them happy. Of course, while this is indeed a sign of true, unconditional love, you still have to make sure your partner doesn’t ever take these gestures for granted.

And if it’s true mutual love, you’d know deep in your bones that with your partner’s love, they would do the same for you too.

21. Their perspective matters

In everything you do, you keep your lover in mind and think from their perspective, be it about planning a surprise party or hanging out with your friends after work.

You don’t ever want to hurt your lover, so you always think from their point of view before making any decision that involves them in any way. [Read: 25 must-follow relationship rules to ensure you have the best romance]

22. You actively want to support them in their dreams

This is something a lot of people don’t realize because, yes, you should always support those you care deeply about. However, there’s a difference between doing so because you HAVE to and doing so because you WANT to.

If it’s real love, you’ll want to support them because you want to see them happy.

23. You do things to make them happy, despite how you feel about it

This doesn’t mean doing things that go against your morals or anything serious like that. We’re talking about waking up with them at 5 a.m. to make them breakfast even if you don’t have to be up until at least 7. [Read: How to set boundaries – crucial steps to feel more in control]

24. They’re the first person you want to tell about events in your life

This is an often overlooked characteristic whenever we try to understand what true love is. If you immediately think about someone whenever something significant happens to you, and all you want to do is run and tell them, it’s real love.

Wanting someone to be included in every aspect of your life is what real love is about. [Read: How to know when you’re in real love – 50 signs you just can’t ignore]

25. They feel like home

If you’re unfamiliar with how this feels, then you don’t know what real love is like just yet. Real love feels like home.

It feels like no matter what, going back to that person feels like you’re at home – no matter where you actually are.

26. They’re your family

Family doesn’t always mean someone you’re married to or blood-related to. You can make your own family with those around you who you really love.

If it’s real love, you’ll feel as though that person is a part of your life like they’re family. [Read: Family orientated – the meaning and what it means to be this person]

27. It’s a slow burning feeling

Maybe people confuse passion with love. The two are not interchangeable. Sure, you can have passion in real love, but passion is also something that is often there at the beginning of new relationships.

Real love is more of a slow-burning feeling. It feels warm and it’s always there, and sometimes it’ll heat up hotter than usual, and sometimes it’ll simmer down. But no matter what, the fire keeps burning. [Read: Real signs of true love in a relationship]

28. There are no boundaries

Real love has no boundaries. If you’re genuinely in love with them, you love them under any circumstances. Your love for them has no conditions.

No matter what happens to them or with them, you’re still in love.

29. Jealousy is nearly non-existent

Someone who loves you will never break your trust.

Real love has no room for jealousy. Sure, you’ll have the occasional bout of jealousy in certain situations, and that’s normal. But there is no consistent feeling of being jealous of someone else.

Why? Because if it’s real love, you feel secure in that relationship with that person. [Read: What a happily ever after? Look for these signs of love in your romance]

30. You never feel judged

This is the biggest thing that makes love real. If you can go to your partner and talk about anything and have no fear about being judged or how they feel about you, it’s real love.

31. Your life feels better with them in it, but you don’t NEED them

A lot of people mistake needing someone in their life for real love. The truth is, it’s not healthy or natural to NEED someone in your life. If it’s real love, you WANT them in your life because they make it better. [Read: How to love someone without smothering them]

32. Real love is an action

What is real love? Well, real love comes out naturally and isn’t just a feeling, but an action. It’s actively being in their life and showing that you love and care about them every single day.

If you just feel love for them but don’t do anything to actively show them this because you don’t have a desire to, it’s not real love.

33. Acceptance

Accepting your love and who you are together is what real love is. It’s knowing all of your faults together and still wanting to be with that person despite the hardships. [Read: Love is in the air – signs you’re starting to fall in love]

34. It’s comfortable

Real love is one of the most comfortable feelings there is. You just feel content in life and comfortable with where you are – even if you have difficulties going on.

It’s the feeling of just being who you are and living your life the way you want with someone who feels the same.

35. It’s feeling happy despite the hardships in your life

No matter what’s going on in your life, if you have real love, you have happiness. Even if you’re going through a really hard time and you’re miserable, there is still an underlying happiness that lingers. [Read: Real soulmates – 20 signs you’ve met the love of your life already]

36. You think of them when they aren’t around 

While this is definitely a power of true love, it can also be a sign of a lot of other things. A crush, an infatuation, or even jealousy can cause you to obsess over someone when they are not around.

Love is not you wishing they would text you back or notice you. It is when you’re at the grocery store and you’re thinking about what they would like. It’s when you see something funny and wish they were there to see it too. [Read: What is true love? The honest truth you didn’t really expect]

37. You feel safe with them

This is important. Feeling safe with someone isn’t just feeling like they wouldn’t put you in danger, but knowing that they would protect you from danger, whether physical or otherwise. It is an important tool for recognizing love.

Vulnerability and trust are cornerstones of any good relationship. Without them, you will crumble. Feeling safe is about knowing you can let go and be comfortable in your own skin without a fallout.

That kind of safety is more than just comforting. Love makes you feel safe, otherwise, it isn’t. [Read: How to know if your partner is truly supportive of your goals]

38. They are there for you

Love is great, but actions speak louder than words. After all, love is a verb, an action word. If someone says that they love you, but cannot come through when you need them, their words will ring false. Love is a two-way street and you have to get as much as you give for it to work. 

That can mean keeping promises to each other, coming through in times of hardship, and generally being there for each other. Being there for you means something different for everyone, but it has to be right for you. [Read: 15 good qualities of a person that make them a very good human being]

39. You are happy to compromise with them

Compromise is difficult. When you love someone, that desire for them to be happy makes compromising a lot easier. You are willing to give up certain things for love and the desire to spend your lives together.

It is important to note that the type of compromise also matters here. When you want to share the last slice of pizza instead of having it for yourself, it could be infatuation. But when you are happy to move further away than you planned so that your partner can pursue their dream job, it is love.

40. You can’t imagine breaking up

No one loves breakups. But in the case of infatuation, you could probably imagine yourself moving along fairly quickly. Sure, you may not want a relationship to end because of a fantasy, you don’t want to be single, or for a ton of other reasons. 

But when it is love, you don’t want the relationship to end because you don’t want to lose them. [Read: How to overcome the fear of losing someone you love]

41. You feel stable

Sometimes the drama of a tumultuous relationship can be fun… for a little while. But the roller coaster gets old fairly quickly. 

True love is stable, it is calming and feels safe, not wild and volatile. Some people confuse a high level of emotion for love, *for example, oh they only yell at me because they care, etc.* but this is a mistake. 

Love isn’t supposed to be hurtful, or a constant cycle of breaking up and getting back together. You can recognize true love by its safety and stability. [Read: Infatuation vs. love – how to know the vital differences]

42. They know the real you

Just like you can “fall in love” with the idea of someone, they can fall in love with the idea of you. But this idea isn’t the real you. Instead, your partner may have an image in their head of what they expect you to be, and when you stray from that they become upset. 

True love is when you see their true self, and they see yours too. Both the best version of yourselves that you put out for others to see and the version that you are when you are comfortable at home. True love knows to recognize all parts of you and loves you just the same. [Read: Emotional attachment vs. love – is there a difference?]

43. You are an equal partner 

Being in control isn’t about trying to control your partner. Being in control means you’re in control of yourself and being treated as an equal. True love requires treating each other as an equal and respecting your differences of opinion. 

This means they don’t make you do things you aren’t comfortable with. They don’t manipulate you into situations that you cannot handle. [Read: Are you being love-bombed? How to understand this manipulation of love early on]

44. It feels right with them 

This is an annoying cliché, but it has stuck around for a reason. It doesn’t help you make sense of how you feel, but sometimes when you’re in love, you just feel it. You can’t describe it but it just feels right, like it fits. [Read: The real relationship facts to understand about true love]

45. You don’t hide anything

Telling the truth is one way of respecting your partner.

You’re not quickly hiding your Tinder app on your phone or dodging your Friday night date because you met someone the other night. Why would you?

You’re in love, baby! You have nothing to hide, nor do you want to hide anything from them. [Read: Real signs of true love in a relationship]

46. You’re done with the games

You don’t need to wait three hours to text them back. In fact, you text them all the damn time and probably send them toilet or double chin selfies. You hold nothing back because love isn’t about games.

Dating is games. Love is about being with your soulmate.

47. You respect each other

This may be shocking for some, but love is based on respect. If you don’t respect your partner, then how do you expect to be with them? People who respect each other stay together. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

48. You’ve stopped looking for better

When you’re dating, you’re always comparing people – who’s better looking, who’s smarter, blah blah blah. But when you’re in love, you couldn’t care less about anyone else.

You don’t lose your ability to see another good-looking person, but you’re not going crazy wishing you could be with them. [Read: How to make a relationship last – 19 love commandments]

49. You laugh

Love is all about positivity. If you’re always laughing and sharing good times together, and we mean a genuine laugh, that shows your attraction to them on a deeper level.

Couples that laugh together, stay together. [Read: Real soulmates – 20 signs you’ve actually met the love of your life]

Have you found the love of your life?

If you’re in a relationship and aren’t experiencing these true love signs, don’t fret. Perhaps, your relationship hasn’t reached the state of emotional maturity that surpasses physical attraction or the stage of infatuation.

Take your time and test the waters. You can’t fall in love with someone by forcing yourself into the relationship. If it’s not working out, try to understand each other better. And if nothing you do can bring happiness back into love, perhaps both of you would be better off dating other people. [Read: 25 things to talk about to create a truly happy relationship]

But at the same time, if both of you are already happy in the relationship, don’t try to change anything about it. Sometimes, when true love is unconditional, it takes a long time to materialize. Remember, you can’t push yourself into the next stage in love unless both of you are ready for it.

As long as your lover and you are happy and understand each other, you’re already experiencing the perfect kind of love!

[Read: Being in love – 15 amazing things only being in true love can give you]

What is true love? We hope these signs of true love and its real meaning has helped you understand what true selfless love really means. 

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...