Love may have a definition in the dictionary, but does an intense feeling of deep affection really describe it? I could say that about my favorite TV show, a new dress, or even a snack.
Love isn’t exactly a feeling. It is more a state of being. Sure, it can add to pure joy, but it can also lead to anger, depression, uncertainty, and more.
So, if you are miserable, it could be love. If you’re happy, it could be love. But how do you dig deeper than that? Knowing if what you’re feeling is love is about focusing on the effects of love. Love is a mixture of both desire and connection.
The desire is what mimics a crush. It is what makes you feel like you have butterflies when you see them. The connection is that craving to be near them. You can have one of these without the other, but without both these, the feelings won’t be enough to sustain a relationship without intense stress.
Infatuation is something that can happen often in your life. This feeling of a high when you’re about to see someone can come with limited knowledge of them.
An attachment takes a bit of time to grow. When you are worried about them and care about how they’re doing, you’ve grown close. This is how desire and turns into love.
But to be able to answer the question, “Is it love?” you’ll need some more specific insight into your situation.
Although love cannot be quantified, it can be seen and acknowledged. There are symptoms of love you feel or notice that can help you know the answer.
#1 You think of them when they aren’t around. This can be a sign of a lot of things. But, in this instance, thinking about someone when they aren’t around isn’t due to fear, jealousy, or lack of communication.
This 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.
#2 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 answer to recognizing love.
Feeling safe is about knowing you can let go and be yourself without a fall out. You can be in a scary situation with this person, but them being there helps.
#3 You can depend on them. This can mean a lot of things. It can mean they keep their promises to you or that they will take care of you if you’re sick. It can mean they answer your calls and push you when you need that motivation.
#4 You are happy to compromise with them. Compromise is difficult. When you love someone, that attachment and desire to be together and for them to be happy makes it easier. 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 they can pursue their dream job, it is love.
#5 You don’t want your relationship to end. Sure you may not want a relationship to end because of a fantasy, because 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 not be with them.
It isn’t about you, your happiness, or even your fear. When you’re in love, you don’t want to be apart from this one person. You aren’t afraid of having to date, of being alone, of finding someone else, but of losing them. [Read: How to overcome the fear of losing someone you love]
#6 You feel stable. Infatuation is the thing that makes us so giddy. It is what makes us check our phone for a text from them or get nervous when we see them. When that infatuation is mixed with the calming effect of connection, that is love.
#7 They can calm you down. This doesn’t mean you can’t be worked up around them, but their presence calms you. When you’ve had a rough day, they don’t make it worse. In fact, just sitting next to them in silence makes you feel better.
When being with someone makes you feel at home, you know it is love.
#8 You think about them when you think about your future. Is it love? Maybe. I have thought about a future with plenty of flings, but never in a real way. I thought about my fantasy and just plugged them into that idea.
When you are thinking about your future with someone realistically, it is love. Thinking about what it would be like to live with them, to settle down, and really make a relationship last is when it is love. [Read: How to prove that you love someone the right way]
#9 They know the real you. If they don’t know you, it isn’t. It can mimic love and you may love the idea of them, but without really being you, love can’t exist.
#11 It feels right with them. This is an annoying cliche, but it is true. 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.
This is the feeling that has long described love; although, it is confusing and illogical, it is what love is.