There are no specific criteria for when or how you fall in love with someone. In terms of feeling it, there’s also no way to gauge if it’s real or not. Falling in love can be misconstrued as infatuation, because the two emotions go hand in hand. What people really want to know is whether or not it’s stopped being infatuation and finally turned into love.
How do you know if it’s love?
The only way to know if you really are in love is when you start to believe it without a shadow of a doubt. No matter how many signs there are, you cannot guarantee whether or not it’s really love, but you can get a pretty good idea one way or the other if you know what to look for.
If you really are in love, you stop thinking about why you shouldn’t be in love. If it’s too early, you may feel that it’s not yet true. If you’re too guarded, you may decide that you don’t want to open your heart yet. With these kinds of limitations, it’s easy to tell yourself you’re not in love.
But what happens when you finally want to know whether or not you really are in love? Is there a signal? Is there a specific ritual that needs to be done to find out? Not really. All you have to do is ask yourself what you truly feel deep down. [Read: 19 sure signs of falling in love to watch out for]
If your gut feeling is that you’re not in love with someone, chances are you aren’t. If, however, you seem to feel some sort of warm and tingling sensation whenever you think about that person, maybe it’s time to delve more deeply into your emotions.
For the purpose of helping you out, we’ve listed some of the most common feelings that are related to being in love. These are not limited to romantic love, but if these are all present, it’s highly likely that you’re starting to go beyond infatuation and into true love’s territory.
What you feel when you’re thinking about the person you love:
#1 Giddiness. Mind you, this is the same type of giddiness you feel the first time they hold your hand. When you’re in love, however, it starts to become a normal part of your day. With or without your partner, the giddiness seems to never go away.
#2 An unsolicited need to smile. Sometimes, it happens even before you think about the person you love.
#3 Craving their presence, not their attention. The difference between wanting someone’s attention and wanting their presence is the understanding that a person can’t be there all the time. Oh, yes, sometimes it’s cute when you send an innocuous “whatchadoin” text, but it’s also okay just to know that your partner will reply whenever they can.
#4 Worrying in their absence. The world is a scary place, so it’s understandable that you might start to think your partner died because they didn’t text for 24 hours. Still, even when they do send regular updates, you can’t help but hope and pray that they will be all right throughout the day.
#5 Feeling the need to make them happy. Wanting someone else’s happiness is okay, but only if it’s not to the detriment of your own. Rather than being selfless, you’re simply feeling more generous about what you can give to your partner in order to make them happy. A shoulder to cry on, a hug for posterity, or a kiss for good luck—any little thing will do so long as you get that smile you’ve been wanting to see on your loved one’s face. [Read: Is love real? 10 happy signs that fuzzy feeling is real]
What you feel when you’re going about your day:
#6 Unexplainable happiness. There’s a kick to your step and a spark in your eyes. No, it’s not an after-sex glow. It’s a constant feeling of happiness that exists because you are giving away love.
#7 A need to share the love with others. You don’t want to be happy on your own anymore. You want everyone to be happy. You start becoming a matchmaker—a charity dispenser—and you might even agree to become the designated driver for your friends who want to drink their troubles away.
#8 Feeling like everything will always fall into place. Being in love makes you realize that things happen in their own time. Now that you feel an immense satisfaction in your relationship, you start to see that it is also possible to have this type of happiness in everything else in your life.
#9 Excitement about seeing the one you love. Not being with them can be painful, but it can also give you immense satisfaction and joy. The beauty of anticipating the presence of your loved one is that you feel exponentially happier when you finally get to see them in person.
#10 A quiet acceptance that they will always be there. No matter where you are in the world, being in love gives you a sense of security that your partner will always be there, no matter what. Even when you have minor arguments or even big fights, you know in the back of your mind that you and your partner will always be there for each other in the end. [Read: 10 heartfelt signs it’s the right time to say “I love you”]
What you feel about yourself:
#11 You feel like the most beautiful person in the world. When you are in love, almost all of your negative feelings towards yourself will gradually disappear. That’s because it feels better to love and be loved for who you are rather than seeking love through someone else’s approval.
#12 You start to love your flaws. Your flaws will hardly disappear, even if you do love yourself, but they start to lose their hold on you. That overlapping bit of skin over your jeans and that three-year-old acne scar are not relevant anymore. By loving someone else, you have learned to love yourself as well, flaws and all.
#13 You feel stronger. Experiencing a positive feeling like love gives people strength. It gives you the strength to push harder in life, to be better, and to be more compassionate. The strength you gain from love is reflected in the strength you show in other aspects of your life as well. [Read: Hook, line and sinker – 20 signs he’s starting to fall madly in love with you]
#14 You feel more fragile at the same time. Although you have become stronger, your heart is now more delicate than ever. Being in love means that the possibility of heartbreak is more real and painful.
#15 You start to feel responsible for another human being’s heart. Now that you’re in love, you feel that you also have a responsibility to make someone else happy. By letting yourself love, you have also signed up to take care of that person’s well-being and emotions in any way you can.
[Read: Am I in love? 21 signs to decode that fuzzy feeling]
Whether you’re in a new or a long-term relationship, it’s often common to question at some point or another whether or not it’s the real deal. To be sure, compare your own feelings with our checklist above!
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