Have you met someone new — maybe even a person you think could be “the one”? If so, ain’t romance grand?! The long late-night conversations, holding hands as you walk through the park, the butterflies you feel when you see them …
It’s all so wonderful. And it’s also all so scary.
Opening yourself up to someone and allowing yourself to fall in love with them can be terrifying.
Letting your guard down enough to let a person into your heart makes you tremendously vulnerable. Because of this, many of us are hesitant to let ourselves fall in love — sometimes, so much so that we don’t even know when it’s already happened.
Think of every contestant ever on “The Bachelor,” expressing their hesitation to fall in love and then doing so anyway, only to be denied a rose the next night. Ugh.
How do you know you love someone?
If you’re feeling confused and aren’t 100% sure of what you’re feeling, look for these five signs that will make the answer of whether or not you’re in love with someone fairly clear.
1. When you love someone, you’ve got that loving feeling.
What is love? It’s important to understand the difference between being in love with someone and loving someone.
I believe that when you are in love with someone, you feel the feelings that you read about in books.
When you see your person, your heart leaps a little bit, you long for their touch, you want to know everything about them, spending time together is lovely, and you care about their hopes and dreams.
When you love someone, as opposed to being in love with someone, your feelings are more feelings of friendship. You feel peaceful and happy being with them and supporting them in their endeavors, but that feeling of your heart leaping, of relishing their physical touch, just isn’t there.
How do you feel when you see your person? Does your heart leap or do you just feel peaceful? It’s an important distinction and one that only you can know.
2. When you love someone, you miss them when you are apart.
When you love someone, watching them walk out the door can be physically painful. You count the minutes, hours, or days until you will see them again. When you are reunited it’s like you feel whole again.
It is important, however, to know the difference between obsessive love and being in love.
When we are in obsessive love, when we are apart from our lover we cannot function. We are constantly wondering where they are and what they are doing and maybe even stalking them on social media. Our jobs and friendships suffer and the physical pain from the distance is debilitating.
If you love someone in a healthy way, being apart from them is hard but you still live your life as you always have done, waiting anxiously to see him again but also perfectly healthy apart. And, man, you know that the reunion will be worth the wait.
3. When you love someone, you like (pretty much) everything about them.
When you are in love you like everything about your person. You love that they want to spend so much time with you or ask you questions about your day. You are always happy to be with them and love when they touch you. You appreciate the way they open the door for you or give you foot-rubs at night.
Furthermore, when you are in love with someone you even love the things that you find frustrating. Perhaps they always leave dirty dishes in the sink or act differently when they are with the guys or forget to buy you flowers on your anniversary. Things that you truly wish could be different.
If you love your person in spite of these things, and perhaps even think they are adorable even while they are bugging you, then you are definitely in love.
My boyfriend has these short-sleeve button-down shirts that he likes to wear to work in the summer, and white sneakers too. I hate those shoes and shirts but, man, he is the most handsome man I have ever seen every time he walks out the door in the morning. Yes, I am madly in love with this guy.
4. When you love someone, you have a few questions about the relationship.
If you truly love someone, you aren’t constantly questioning the relationship.
Do you think that you want to be in this relationship but just aren’t sure? Do you think about whether you are making a mistake in committing to this person? Do you spend time thinking about other people instead? Do you find yourself rationalizing your relationship more often than not?
People who are in love are secure in the fact the love is real and equal and that a commitment to it is a smart one.
If there are little red flags that you are ignoring or if you are constantly wondering if this person is enough for you, then you most likely aren’t in love.
5. When you love someone, your eyes (and hands) don’t wander.
Do you find yourself looking at other people and wondering if, for whatever reason, you might be interested in a relationship with them? Do your friends introduce you to other people who they think might be better for you?
If either of these things is the case, you might not be in love.
People who are in love with their partner don’t go seeking other potential mates. They are perfectly happy with the person sitting beside them and the prospect of being with someone else is abhorrent.
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Furthermore, if you are in love you know that, more than anything, you don’t want to hurt your partner with your wandering eyes or hands. You know that keeping your eyes firmly focused on them is what you want to do every day. And they will love you for it!
Knowing that you are in love with someone is an important part of taking the next step in a relationship.
If you are in love, then you can open yourself up and move forward in your relationship, knowing it’s the right thing to do.
And if you don’t love them, let them go. They deserve to find love, too. so don’t waste either of your time pretending that you’ll be the one to provide it.
So, if you feel deep emotions for this person, if you want to be with them always and miss them when they are gone, if you like almost everything about them, have few questions about the relationship and know you can be faithful, most likely you are in love and this is the right person for you.
How fun and how lucky are you!
Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate whose writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others.