How to know if you’re in love
Is it real love or just obsession? When you’re in the throes of a new relationship, it can be hard to determine infatuation from the real thing. Persia Lawson explains how to know if you’re in love
I’ve claimed to be in love more times than I care to remember.
For me, nothing can top the feeling of falling in love. It’s completely intoxicating.
The problem is, because falling in love is such an overwhelming experience, we often get confused. Is it real love that we’re feeling or just infatuation? Is it an obsession that will inevitably burn out under the weight of its own intensity?
In the early months of my courtship with my now-boyfriend Joe, I panicked that I was repeating the same old patterns from previous relationships.
The first three months were always magical, but the moment the excitement started to wear off, I mentally and emotionally checked out of the relationship. I was always certain that real love was waiting for me in the arms of someone else.
Having played out this scenario one too many times, it soon became apparent that couples who had managed to go the distance had an entirely different understanding of what being in love really means. I became determined to learn what they seemed to already know.
The following list is comprised of my tried and tested research in to the difference between ‘faux’ love and love that’s the real deal (and therefore more likely to stick around!)
If you’re currently in the throes of a new relationship – or you want to reevaluate how you feel about your current partner – I encourage you to bite the bullet and see how many of these real love indicators resonate for you.
It’s easy to be yourself around them
I’ve spent far too much time trying to be the person I believe the object of my affections wants me to be, rather than who I really am. Faking it like this is only sustainable for so long; sooner or later, you’re going to be found out and it’s likely to have a negative effect on the relationship dynamic. When it’s real love, you’ll feel like you can be yourself around the other person immediately. That way, if they do fall in love with you, it’ll be with the authentic you, not an idealised version.
You can see them in your future
We live in such an instant culture now. We’re increasingly fixated on getting what we want now, rather than thinking about how that fits with who we want to be and where we want to go in the future. If the love between you and your partner is real, you won’t be able to stop yourself picturing your future together. It’ll feel exciting and expansive. On the other hand, if it’s fake love, you’ll probably stop yourself looking too far into the future because you know, deep down, that your relationship has an expiry date. This is a highly inconvenient truth as it means we’ll have to endure a break-up at some point, which is why we tend to dismiss it for so long.
You’re not interested in other people
From my own experience, I’ve learned that infatuation is a fickle beast. One minute you’re completely obsessed with someone, certain that no-one else could make you happy. The next, they start to irritate and annoy you, or fail to live up to your idealised perception of them. This inevitably leads your eyes and attention to wander elsewhere. When it’s real love, your focus remains solely on the person you’re with because, even in the rocky phases, you know they’re the right person for you.
They inspire you to be a better person
When I met my boyfriend Joe, I was struck by how many great qualities he had that seemed to come naturally to him. For example, he doesn’t care what other people think of him, which makes him easy to be around because he’s not trying to be someone he’s not. As a chronic people pleaser, this wasn’t a quality that came so easily to me, but the more time I spent with him, the more I was inspired to try to let go of other’s opinions of me. When it’s real love, you’ll be drawn to the inner qualities of the other person, rather than the external makers of success, and you’ll, no doubt, want to become a better version of yourself as result.
Your friends approve of them
My friends have always been pretty spot on when it came to spotting who was (and wasn’t) a good match for me in the long-run. Sometimes we’re so blinded by our infatuation and obsession with our new partner that we can’t see how totally not right they are for us. Our friends and family can be far more objective. They’re not emotionally invested in the relationship like we are and they know who and what is most likely to make us happy. While your opinion is ultimately the most important, don’t completely ignore advice from you loved ones – they really do have your best interests at heart.
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