How Do You Know You’re In Love

Here’s the truth: not knowing whether you’re feeling infatuation or love can be downright SCARY.

When the feelings first develop, all you feel is attraction and confusion. Maybe you feel yourself become a little obsessed with him, stalking his social media page, or even gazing at some of his photos. You start to fantasize, both sexual fantasies and even romantic scenarios of confessing your feelings to him, or him telling you that he’s in love.

It feels dangerous, a little stressful…but the feelings only seem to intensify. It’s even a more upsetting feeling if the relationship seems one-sided or if he’s unavailable for a number of reasons.

Didn’t they use to say that infatuation and lust fade quickly?

Then why are you still thinking about him? Could it be love?

It’s actually kind of disturbing to read various magazines online discussing what love “feels like”. They usually cite things like obsessive thoughts, “high” feelings of oxytocin, and an almost magnetic attraction.

But is this really LOVE? Or is it something a little darker, a little more unhealthy?

Maybe you already know the answer to that. And in case you’re confused, here are a few ways to know if this is really LOVE or just a sexual obsession that may not be the best thing for you right now.

1. Love is positive. When you’re really in love, it makes you a better person.

Love is characterized by positive emotion. It creates wonderful feelings of acceptance, appreciation, and attraction—all of which are only amplified when you get together with your “soul mate” so to speak. Love helps you endure hardship. Love gives you peace of mind.

In contrast, infatuation creates mostly negative emotions. What sometimes happens is that a person begins to fixate on someone else and develops a one-sided crush. This crush intensifies in negative emotions, usually making the woman feel stressed or heartbroken. How can this possibly be love?

The same is true when a couple claims to be in love with each other, but who spend most of their time fighting, or trying to dominate the relationship with aggressive behavior. How can this possibly be love if you’re not even allowed to speak freely, for fear of hurting or upsetting your partner? If you’re always feeling nervous and on edge, fearing his reaction, this can’t possibly be love. Why would anyone fall in love if this were the result?

Meanwhile, real love is characterized by peace. By acceptance. By the deep respect your man has for you.

2. Love is convenient.

Now this may seem like an odd thing to say but it helps to shed light on those “doomed romances” you always hear about and hopefully avoid. Love is real because it involves two people who are ready to meet, fall in love, and contribute equally towards a strong marriage. Real love is built on stability, that is, a healthy and successful life you’ve managed on your own. Now that you’re AVAILABLE and ready to meet someone, you can discover someone who’s at a similar stage in life and ready to make that commitment.

Does this sound a little less romantic than saying “Sometimes love just prevails against odds?” Well, maybe. But when you play the game of love recklessly, you will oftentimes lose and lose badly.

When a single woman starts fixating on a married man, it’s a romance that’s highly “inconvenient”—meaning that both partners are looking for something completely opposite. He wants sex without commitment. She wants commitment and wants it from an emotionally unavailable man.

What about the “hero complex?” That is when a woman desires to “save” a man and show him the love that the world has never given him? Again, dangerously inconvenient.

Why hasn’t this great guy found a successful life on his own? Why does he need love to complete him? Why does he need love to save him or make his life worthwhile? This is very inconvenient. Because you might feel confident and ready to make a connection.

But if he needs “saving”, then he still has some growing up to do. It’s the WORST possible timing right now.

Maybe these relationships can make it, but only if the dynamic changes. It’s not really about “convenience” as much as it’s about being in the right stage in your life where you BOTH are ready to make a real commitment and put forth real effort into this romance.

3. Love only grows in the company of family and friends.

According to Psychology Today, the success of a relationship is oftentimes decided by how well a new love fits into the “social circle” of the other. You want your friends and family to accept this man and you want to be accepted by his family and friends. You have no desire to change him or get rid of all his friends. You care about how your family feels about him. You want to create a family, and likewise, he is excited about the idea too. That’s why he doesn’t even hesitate to introduce you to important people in his life. You’re not his dirty little secret…he’s proud of you!

4. Real love is about getting to know a person and then growing with them, giving them emotional security. It’s about negotiation, compromise, and listening.

The opposite, infatuation, is defined by an obsessive need to satisfy your needs as soon as possible. This is not simply referring to sexual lust. Some people will actually start a relationship in hopes of dating, getting married, having children, and then planning their life out all the way until retirement.

The problem is, you kind of have to go along with them for the ride—end of discussion. What you want or need doesn’t really matter. You’re just what they need to fulfill a goal. If you’re not down for it, then your “perfect guy” (as he sees himself) will either dump you for someone else or will aggressively manipulate you into becoming the ideal trophy wife.

How can that possibly be love? A man who is truly in love with you listens. He’s focused not only on what he wants but what you want. He wants it to be your future together, open, adaptable and always with the desire to provide for your needs wherever he can. In return, you want to do the same. It’s a relationship characterized by honest communication and loving compromise and THAT’S what true love feels like!

About The Author

Matthew Coast

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