It is an innate part of our humanness to want to feel loved and to experience being in love; it’s something we yearn for as soon as our teenage hormones start to bubble over, and yet it can seem like striving for an unreachable goal when it is so hard to define. How to know when you are in love? Let's see!
1. Love is All around
Most of us will grow up experiencing love of some kind, whether it be from parents, grandparents, siblings or friends, and will have felt the warmth of a loving hug and well-timed hand squeeze. As the adolescent years encroach, the desire for love and yet utter conviction that no one will ever love you can reach fever pitch. Misplaced affections in geeky boys and adoration of teen idols manage to masquerade as love in our inexperienced minds. Deep down, we probably know that there is something more out there, and it starts a lifelong quest for true love.
The thing is how do we know when we are truly in love? What marks out this feeling from all the previous pretenders? Is this the real thing or should you keep on searching? Let’s face it, it is the stuff of magazines, rom coms, chic flicks, and girlie chats, but it is also a deep felt anguish that niggles away night and day when you find yourself in that position. The old mantra of “you’ll just know” plays around and around in your head until you don’t feel like you actually know very much at all.
Were there fireworks? Well, it was bonfire night, so you’d kind of expect it. Does he make your heart race? We only see each other at the gym so it’s hard to tell. Can you imagine yourself with him forever? I can see myself living quite happily with Zac Efron, but I guess that doesn’t count.
So what are the true tell-tale signs that you are in love? Love can be a tricky little character to pin down. It can be easy to dismiss the feelings that you have at the beginning of a relationship as simply lust or excitement, but, in truth, it is love in its infancy. Love isn’t something that moves in once you’re over the thrilling stage; being in love is part of the thrill. The anticipation of seeing each other, the constant day dreaming about each other, the 24/7 fixed grin on your face, they are all good signs. Obviously, they can also be signs of lust, but that little spark, that little flutter deep inside can be something awakening that goes beyond initial lust.
2. Going Deeper
When it comes to love, our bodies often betray us. There are some things that we just can’t hide. There is so much more to being in love, but, whether you like it or not, there are some outward signs that you just can’t hide.
There is no feeling in the world like that rush of emotions when you meet up with your boy/girlfriend. The pounding heart, sweaty palms, nervousness, flushed cheeks. They are all signs of the adrenalin and hormones that are rushing though you when you are together. These chemicals are capable of making you completely turn to jelly, lose the power of speech and turn your thoughts into indecipherable mush. These feelings are all very common at the beginning of any relationship, but don’t think that they are only for the beginning.
As a human race we probably wouldn’t get very far if we felt that way constantly during our relationships, but if you are truly in love, a little of that melting feeling will always remain. Hopefully as the relationship deepens, your thoughts will become a little more organised when you are together and you will be able to talk about your hopes for the future and share your feelings, but that person should always be able to make your heart flutter.
Being in love means that you should feel comfortable to talk about your deep emotions, past experiences and every aspect of your life, and the person you love should take these things on board and have a deeper understanding of you. From this understanding becomes the intimacy of love, rather than just lust. The one you love should always know that special way to make you smile, and you should know that embarrassing secret that can make them blush. Being in love is about being comfortable with each other. Not comfortable in the old slipper kind of way, but in the way that allows you to be yourself around them and know that you are safe to let them know every part of you.
When we go out looking for love, we are actually (maybe subconsciously) looking for a lifelong mate. A clear sign of you being in love is that you are able to imagine your future together. Not only that, but you are able to talk together about what your futures would look like as a long-term couple. If your heart jumps when he mentions something that you could do together in the future, it’s a pretty good sign that there is something going on. It doesn’t have to be marriage and babies and being wrinkly OAPs together, but having plans and talking about things that you would like to do together proves that you both see a future in the relationship and are excited about the possibilities of what the future may hold for you.
3. So is This the One?
Unfortunately, as tired as the cliché is, only you can really tell if you are in love. Relationships are dynamic things: they change from the initial cautious encounter, to blood-pumping passion, to quiet contentment and happiness. However, one thing is for sure, if you have found “the one,” then you should be able to experience the excitement of first love and happiness of being together no matter how long you have been in the relationship. Don’t ever settle for something that you might doubt is right. Being in love should never be about settling or making do, it should be about being with the person that knows you best in the world, makes you feel safe, knows all of your faults and past mistakes but loves you anyway and can make your heart pound like a crazed teenager at the drop of a hat!