NEED HELP NOW? 1800-448-3000
Fact Sheet

How do you know if it’s love?

18

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):

Love is:

  • 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.

Where to Next?

Comments

Responses

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    QveenBesame15

    Hello ,
    My Name Is Faith & I’m 15 . I Feel Like Ive Fallen In Love With This Boy That Happens To Be 2 Years Older Than Me . Well The Thing Is , I Just Moved In With My Dad , Because Of Problems At Home With My Mom . Ive Been Going Through A Lot , & When I First Moved Here , My Hyper Personality Wasn’t Accepted . I Met This Boy & He Seemed Interested In Me And I Tried To Avoid Him Because I Felt As If I Didn’t Have Feelings For Him . Until We Had A “Challenge Day” At My School , And What We Were To Do Was To Basically Tell The Things That Have Happened In Our Life . The Boy Happened To Be My Partner , & When I Talked To Him & Connected And Cried With Him , I Felt Emotionally Connected To Him . After That , We Started Spending More Time With One Another . I CANNOT Stop Thinking About Him , He’s Really Different & I Feel As Though We Will Be Together For a Long Time . When Im With Him , I Feel Warm & Special , & We Just Cannot Stop Staring At & Holding Each other When We See One Another . He Makes Me Feel Beautiful .. Im Just unsure If Im Only Feeling This Love Only Because Of My Past .. Idk What To Do . I Don’t Want To Only Be With Him Just Because I Need Someone There For Me Emotionally , But I Hope That Im Really In Love With Him & I Was Just Lucky Enough To Spend Time With Him To See How His Real Personality Was .

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    cristal14

    Hi I am 17 and this is my situation, ever since I was 14 I have had a thing for this guy, but we were young and I have always found a reason not to be with this guy. We were best friends for the longest time, and he always had strong feelings for me. I dated a guy for two years starting when I was 15, and I loved him, but I believe it was conditional love not that everlasting love. The last 6 months of this were brutal with on and off break ups and when he went off to college I broke it off with him. (thank the Lord) During those last 6 months of just waiting for him to leave, I grew feelings for my best friend, the guy I have always had a thing for. Right when my 2 year boyfriend left, me and my best guy friend got together secretly for about a month or two, but I couldn’t take the guilt of secretly being with him,and emotionally I was not in a good place, especially because him and my ex were very close friends.. so I broke up with him. I have never loved someone so much, and he loved me too. We would plan our wedding and honeymoon because we were so sure of our feelings. He was so devastated, he went through months of therapy after everything. I moved on to a couple flings to distract myself, but after about 2 weeks I would just end them because my heart was still with him. He refuses to even look or speak to me, and it has been a year. I still am as in love as I was before and I don’t know how to get over it. I have never felt anything like this.. I write about it all the time just to get my emotions out. I’m hopeless and always hurting because I love him and he hates me for what I did. I will take any advise that you could see helping me! Thank you

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Have you tried having a talk with him about what happened, and how you felt then, and how you feel now?  Sometimes writing it all out can be helpful, so if you get emotional, you have something to refer to.  Many people have someone that they have loved, and always feel that it was their “one true love,” but they never do anything about it.  Seems like it might be worth it to make an effort to talk to him, or maybe write him a letter.  After that, it’s probably time to leave the next move to him.  You can’t really force someone’s feelings, of course.

      You might like to discuss all of this in our peer-to-peer forums, where you can talk it over with people your own age, anonymously of course.  To get there, just click “Forums” at the top of this page, or go to this link: http://us.reachout.com/forums/forum.php The log in you made here, also works there.

      Take care,
      The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    Folsomlight

    Hey, I’m currently 13 years old but i have a burning question to ask… I know i get judged ALOT for my age, because nearly everyone thinks young people like me cant fall in love… But i have this boyfriend. He ticks all the boxes… He makes me feel so happy. Like i’m on cloud nine. Every time i’m with him, my heart races, and my whole chest physically hurts, and it almost feels like my body is being electrified.. When he’s not around, i feel kinda sad, but when i think of him i smile every time smile but the thing is… I feel like i can’t live without him. I have NEVER felt anything like this before and i know what crushes and lust is and i know the difference. This is not lust. Atleast, i don’t think it is. The thing is, i live in New Zealand and around a month ago he moved to new york because of parent stuff.Long distance relationships are supposed to be hard, i know.. but i dont feel that high anymore :( even when i skype him, it’s not the same. Am i falling out of love? Cause i’d still take a bullet for him.. and every time i have a crush, even on fictional characters, i feel guilty. I’m SUPER loyal to him.. but i can’t help but feel a little disconnected, and suspicious? Was i ever even in love? I need to know.. If love was any better than this, then my mind is yet to be blown. I’m just so confused and sad.

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      There’s no specific age you must reach before you’re “old enough” to feel love!  But maintaining a long-distance relationship is really, really hard, and your age complicates it even more.  Sounds like it could be many years before you and your loved one would be in the same place, so it’s a HUGE decision, thinking about whether or not you’ll both skip all of life’s experiences to wait for each other.  There’s nothing wrong with being a long-distance friend, living your lives, and waiting to see what happens in the future, either.  You don’t have to decide your whole life today!

      You might like to discuss all of this in our peer-to-peer forums, where you can talk it over with people your own age, anonymously of course.  To get there, just click “Forums” at the top of this page, or go to this link: http://us.reachout.com/forums/forum.php The log in you made here, also works there.

      Hope to see you there,
      The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    Roshan

    Hey, I’m a girl, so there’s this guy and we’re together, and everything that indicates love and that’s listed above is true about him and I, but the problem is, I don’t feel the feeling, I do sometimes but other Times I don’t, and at the beginning of the relationship it had the feeling and strongly too, and now I really want to have the feeling towards him, could you help me

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      It’s usually best to not try to force a feeling, but to just wait and see where your heart and mind leads you.  It’s not uncommon to have those “fluttery feelings” early in the relationship, when everything is fresh and new, but then to settle in to more steady feelings.  Maybe you find that it’s the newness that you enjoy, and not really the other person.  It can help to stay away from the person for a few days (or longer) and see what happens to your feelings.  Maybe you’ll miss them so much that you’ll know it’s love, or maybe you’ll find that you really don’t miss them at all.

      Good luck,
      The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    maruri

    First, im a girl and second, i love this boy who is my friend and i think he loves me because when i talk about other guys he gets mad. But i started loving him and i think he knows because he plays with my heart i stop talking about other boys and he keeps on hugging other girls in front of me just to make me jelous and i used to cry, i told a friend about this but now he just makes my mind crazy making me jelous hugging her i dont know what to do and i need help please do he really love me or he is just playing with me

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Usually, people that love each other don’t try to intentionally hurt the feelings of the other person.  People who love each other want the other person to feel happy and loved, not hurt and jealous.  It’s possible that he doesn’t care as much as you do, unfortunately, or maybe he’s just not ready for a relationship.  Can you talk to him about it?

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    Zebraleek

    my girlfriend and I recently parted, but I truly never knew why until yesterday. she (for about six months)seemed to love me, and we were both putting in the same amount of effort and commitment, and it was very good. it was about a month and two weeks ago that she started to disassociate herself, to the point where I thought and worried that I had done something wrong. I didn’t of course, but she was afraid to tell me that she didn’t feel the same way about me as I did her. sadly, even as we are still friends, her friend constantly makes fun of us still being together as friends, and others are pressuring us to date once more. in a sincere way, how can I tell these people to leave us alone without making it seem like I am defending “us”?

    Thank you,
    Zebraleek

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Sometimes just having a quiet talk with the people can make things better.  They may not really understand how deep the feelings are, and how much pain they’re causing with their careless words.

      You might enjoy our peer-to-peer forums, for more discussion.  To get there, just click the word “forums” at the top of this page, or go here:  http://us.reachout.com/forums/forum.php  We’d love to see you there!

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    Raiyenn

    My girlfriend and I have been together a little less than 6 months now. I’ve been having some doubts about whether I was really in love with her. Since I don’t feel nervous around her, and I never feel any huge sparks. For me, it’s just calm and caring and comfortable. I’d do anything to make sure she doesn’t get hurt, but I never felt anything like the way everyone makes it seem.
    But now, I’m a little more sure about it.
    Thank you for putting together this wonderful article<3 It was very insightful, and more real than a lot of articles are nowadays.

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    lifelost

    Hi i have an ex of mine n i think i love him because he my best friend the only problem is my mom dissaproves of him i mean we talk about have sex and stuff like that i mean i wanna be with him but i dont want to make my dissapointed in me i wanna try stuff but im scared to and i wanna get married we where enganged at one point but i dont know we broke up had issues but he a really nice guy and im only 17 going to be 18 soon and i asked him if he would wait he said he will wait till im ready can you give me advice.

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      We don’t really give advice, but it seems like most people would say it’s best to wait until you’ve been with someone for a while, and you feel certain that they’re going to stay in your life.  When you do take that step, it’s important to be safe!

      Take good care of yourself,
      The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    msconfused

    Hi, I have read your article and it made me want to ask for your expert advice. How would you know if you love someone this time around when somebody from your past had told you that you never loved him because you left him for another one? My past did not become my boyfriend because of his personal issues considering we had told each other our feelings for one another. Of course, we were happy at first but days passed as I felt unsure of our relationship and to him as a person. I was willing then to compromise arguments with him until I gave up and realize that we were two different persons. At the same time, I met my present and felt completely different from my previous relationship. I am afraid to tell or admit that I have feelings for him because what’s on my mind right now is what my past had told me. I don’t want to be unfair to him (present man)for he is such a good person and if I am to choose, I would want him for the rest of my life.

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      We hope the fact sheet was helpful, but we really aren’t experts on these situations.  Maybe it’s best to just be with no one, until you’re sure of what you want?

      We wish you love and happiness,
      The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    akitty

    This is helpful, but I have another question: What if you can’t find anyone? I’m 18, never been in a real relationship, never kissed or even help hands with anyone. I’ve been attracted to a lot of guys but none of them liked me back. I’ve also asked out a lot of guys, even ones I wasn’t that attracted to, but have been rejected outright every time. I don’t want to hear that the right person will come along at the right time. I don’t believe in fate, I think if you want something you have to get it, it won’t just come to you. Problem is I’ve been doing things, trying to meet people, but nobody wants me. Now I feel like I’m missing out on one of life’s joys. I’m starting to think it just won’t happen for me…

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      Hi akitty,

      It doesn’t necessarily have to be fate, but I do think that you have plenty of time for these things to happen. There’s no rush or deadline on this kind of thing. You may not believe it today, but you have so many years of people to meet and experience new things with. One day you will look back on this period and smile at all the adventures you’ve had and shared with others since then.

      You’re about to enter into a period of your life where things are going to change fast, you’ll move out if you haven’t, you’ll go to college maybe, you’ll begin a career perhaps - but all of these things will put you in the path of so many new people. There’s nothing “wrong” with you. You just haven’t met the person or persons who will appreciate you just as you are yet.

      They’re out there. It will happen. Give it some time. smile

      All the best,

      The ReachOut Crew

Commenting has been closed for this entry.