The ‘Big L’
Whether you’re starting a new relationship or feel yourself developing deeper feelings about one you’ve been in for a while, you might wonder if you’re falling in love. It can be tricky to tell, especially when a relationship is new, whether or not it’s love or just an intense crush.
It is also important to remember that if you don’t feel like you’re in love right away, that’s okay. In many relationships, it’s a feeling that grows over time. Sometimes, you might have a couple crushes before you find love.
How do you know if you’re in love?
If this special person is the first thing on your mind when you wake up, the last person on your mind when you go to sleep, and the person you think about the most throughout the day, you’ve probably wondered if you’re in love. You might sporadically call or text them during the day to ask them how they’re doing or what they’re doing later just to keep the conversation flowing. Your mind and your heart may be in the wonderful first stage of being in love.
What is love?
Love can be expressed in many different ways because it has no set definition. It’s a feeling, it’s a mood and it’s also a different way of thinking about someone. When you love someone you invest a lot of time and effort into that one person. You may spend so much time thinking about this one person that you feel certain other relationships or interests become less of a priority. Love is not always a fairy tale and intense feelings can sometimes get a little confusing. You might feel the sense of being in love early on in a relationship, after time and deep talks about your feelings for one another or, even, for an ex. Love can be expressed by telling to “get some rest” or “you should relax, you’ve had a long day.” Love doesn’t always need to be expressed from “I love you.”
Love versus Like (or a crush):
- Responsible. When you admit to your mistakes and not point fingers as to who started what it shows great maturity in the relationship
- Unselfish. When you put your significant others needs/feelings before your own it shows how much your care for him/her
- Constant. Though love does have it’s occasional rough patches, love will always bounce back to its original state of happiness
- Understanding. You may experience disagreements with your significant other, but if you come to a mutual consensus then it shows that you’re willing to compromise to make things work
- Comfortable. You may find yourself exhibiting habits that you only would show in front of your best friends (ie: dressing sloppily, stuffing your face food, and even showing your emotional sides)
Like may be:
- More Shy. You might not feel comfortable talking about your feelings and thoughts that run through your mind because you might be afraid that they might judge you and not like you as much anymore
- Misunderstanding. If someone text you or call you when they’re suppose to you might point fingers as to who’s fault it was and you may argue for a little bit thinking that who ever was wrong should apologize
How will I know when I’m ready to say ‘I love you?’
Sometimes it can be helpful to wait for some time to pass to see whether the strength of your feelings has staying power. Healthy relationships can be tested by disagreements and the partners will continue to love each other. Before you tell someone you love them, it can be helpful to ask yourself if you feel confident in your feelings. This can make it easier to say. It can also be helpful to ask how you’d feel if your partner isn’t ready to say it back.
How do I know if I’ll hear they love me back?
Unfortunately, no one can tell you how your partner will react. Even in healthy, happy relationships, the “l word” can make some partners nervous, so preparing yourself for different possibilities can make it easier to talk about your feelings.
If you feel attracted to your partner, respected in your relationship and happy about your dynamic, then the feeling might be mutual. It still might be possible that your partner doesn’t feel ready to use that word, but communication and not applying pressure (i.e., feeling okay with saying it first and not hearing it back) can help you continue to feel connected.
If they tell you that they only want a casual relationship or see you as a friend, don’t feel discouraged. While it may be painful at the time, in the long run it’s better that they’re being honest with you. It may take time and support from good friends to accept, but this information will help you decide on your next steps.
If you fall in love, remember:
- Don’t hold on too tightly – Healthy loving relationships require trust and faith that the other person returns your feelings – even if they’re not constantly demonstrating their love. You have to make sure that there’s freedom in a relationship. Let your partner go out with their friends or if he or she wants to sleep a little early, don’t make them stay on the phone with you. If you hold something too tight, it’ll crumble. And this is applicable to your significant other as well. They should allow you to flourish because you shouldn’t feel restrained in a relationship.
- Don’t lose yourself. If you feel used or disrespected in a relationship, don’t feel obligated to stay with a person just because you’ve said you love them or they’ve said they love you. Loving yourself is the most the important thing and that means getting the respect and kindness you deserve in a relationship
Is love complicated?
Love isn’t always complicated. You and your partner may have some disagreements here and there about the smallest things, but if you are both willing to work on the relationship and communicate about any issues that come up (effective communication fact sheet), love can prevail. If you don’t feel heard or understood in a relationship, it can be a sign that you need to communicate more. If your partner is unwilling to talk about or your concerns or what feels challenging, it may be time to reassess the relationship.
Compromise is key and it can really help mend your arguments. Talk it out with your partner, say what bothered you because your partner can’t read your mind. You may not even have realized that you did something that irked your partner until after you two talk it out. Love isn’t always complicated if there’s communication.
It is important to remember that there is no one way to tell if you are in love or to tell if your partner is in love with you. You cannot be told that you love someone because the feeling you are feeling (whether that be love or an intense like) can only be felt by you. No matter what you call the feelings you share., the most important thing this is feeling happy and respected in your relationship.