People say when it’s love, you “just know.” But while your brain fires
off adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, do you really know
anything? When you first connect with someone you’re crazy about, it’s magical. You feel super energetic, you suddenly require less sleep, and everything makes you laugh. Yes, those feelings can be euphoric. But is that love?
Real love, the kind that lasts a long time, is not a thing, it’s a verb. Love is a behavior – an action. You love someone. Someone loves you
. That means making a choice every single day to actively love each other. That’s how you know when it’s love.
Here are some other signs that it’s love:
You and your partner don’t just say you love each other – you show each other.
You can tell someone you love them and act the opposite. This is where making the choice to love someone actively comes in.
Showing someone you love them may mean doing the little things for each other, like making a nice meal or walking your dog when it’s raining or moving your car when there’s street cleaning. Or it may mean bigger things, like helping you care for a family member or supporting you through a death of a loved one.
Everyone loves differently. So, it’s up to you and the person you’re dating to discover the best ways to love each other.
You enjoy each other.
Love should feel good. You should be able to laugh and enjoy yourselves together the majority of the time.
Sometimes people mistake addiction for love. If you’re in a relationship where the bad times outweigh the good, it’s probably an addiction, not love.
You are the same people together as you are apart.
You know those people who change when their significant others are around? Those people are in situations in which they cannot be their authentic selves. A relationship in which you cannot be your authentic self is not
When someone actively loves you, they love you
. That includes the good, the bad and the wacky. If you feel you have to shift when the person you’re dating is around, it’s not love.
You listen to each other.
One of the greatest acts of love is actively listening to each other. That means putting the phones away, looking eye to eye, and really absorbing what your partner shares.
If you’re busy thinking about the next thing you’re going to say, you’re not actively listening. If you’re wondering what you’ll have for dinner as your partner talks, you’re not actively listening.
When you actively listen to your partner, you give yourself the opportunity to empathize. That means imagining how it feels to deal with whatever they’re dealing with, acknowledging the situation, and expressing the appropriate concern or joy.
Sometimes loving that person will mean offering a solution. Other times it might mean just listening and giving them a hug. If it’s love, you’ll know what to do.
You communicate kindly.
When you choose to love someone, you’ll express your feelings, wants, and needs because you know your relationship depends on it. You’ll share these things with your partner because you know that both of you deserve to be honest, open, and positioned to grow together.
And when you fight, you’ll fight fair because you value your partner and you won’t want to hurt them.
You encourage each other.
Part of actively loving someone is encouraging them to grow. That means cheering on your partner when they decide to train for a marathon. That could also mean listening to them practice a speech or reading a draft of a book they’re writing.
It goes both ways. You’d like the person you’re dating to support you and cheer you on too, right?
Continually stretching your comfort zone builds confidence
. That confidence seeps into your relationship and only enhances the way you love each other. So, encouraging each other is an all around win.
That’s the key to love. Always looking for ways for both of you to win.
So, how do you
know when it’s love?