The word love has so many different meanings and uses in today’s society. Among other definitions, the Merriam-Webster dictionary includes:
- A strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
- Attraction based on sexual desire
- Affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests
- Warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion
With so many different ways of defining the same phrase, it is no wonder that there is some confusion in regards to understanding what exactly you are feeling. Each of us must go through the learning process of understanding not only what our own feelings and emotions are, but also how these feelings and emotions pertaining to the people around us.
There is a disconnect in many cases between our heart and our head, creating a confusion as to what we are actually feeling. While your heart may be caught up momentarily in a feeling of infatuation, if you were to truly assess the situation and allow your head to make a solid determination you would find that your feelings are nothing more than a momentary crush, and not anything deep.
Not all relationships are built to last, and part of this relies upon just where your feelings lie. How, then, do you know if you genuinely love your partner or are ‘in love’? Watch for these signs:
- You try to push yourself to feel more for the person you ‘love’ because you want it to be more, but it just isn’t’ there.
If you ‘love’ someone it is important to know whether you love the idea of this person, or how they would stack up on paper, or whether you truly love them for who they are including the good, the bad and the ugly. If you love someone on paper you may find that you feel guilty for not having a deeper feeling of love and affection for them. You WANT to love them more, but you just can’t seem to take that step.
- Loving someone means you want them to succeed in life, however being ‘in love’ means you will sacrifice and put them first.
You don’t want to every stand in the way of someone’s success as you genuinely wish for the person you love to succeed and do well, but there is a distinct difference between just wanting them to do well and honestly making them a priority, putting them first and working to help them succeed. You aren’t afraid to sacrifice for someone you are ‘in love’ with because there is nothing you want to see more than to see them succeed at whatever they are running for. This is also a two-way street, and you find your partner putting you and your needs first. This consideration for one another is a key building block in a healthy relationship.
- True love goes much deeper than just a surface level connection.
When you first meet someone, you may find that you are very attracted to them on the surface. This may be an attraction to their physical appearance, or a connection developed solely around a shared hobby or interest that you discovered that you shared when you met. This is a great start to a deeper relationship, but if you find that it stops there and never takes that next step, this is a sign that you aren’t truly in love with one another.
- Loving someone means putting a label on your relationship, but being ‘in love’ is more about building the partnership.
When you love someone, you are focused on wanting them to be ‘yours.’ It almost hits the point of being more about the title than the actual connection. You NEED this person to say that they are yours and agree to apply a specific title to your relationship. When you are ‘in love’ you are more focused on the partnership that you are building, working together as a team and concerning yourself less with the labels you are applying to your relationship and the opinions of others.
- When you are really ‘in love’ with someone you can plan for the future.
It is not uncommon to find yourself caught up in the moment of a whirlwind romance, living for the moment and enjoying every second together. This is great, and you should enjoy it! However, if you are ‘in love’ with someone it is a deeper commitment. You find yourselves looking to the future and planning your lives together. You want to build a life together rather than just enjoying the here and now.
- A real relationship will involve investing yourself emotionally.
When you love someone, you care for them deeply and will go out of your way to avoid hurting them. If you love someone you do this because you want to be true to the person and avoid betraying the trust that you know they have invested in you. When you are truly ‘in love’ with someone, however, it is even deeper emotionally. Your emotions are tied together so deeply that you know that hurting that person is also going to hurt you in the process.