You’re smitten, girl.
Love: it’s something that we all crave. We are wired to not just want it but to need it for survival. The English language only has one word assigned to convey multiple meanings of love. We use “I love you” with family, friends, and with the person, we are in a relationship with. That one phrase holds many different meanings depending on who you say it to.
It’s easy to define love when it comes to your family. The bond created by blood is intense and can never be broken. While sometimes you may not like your family and they may get on your nerves, you will always love them. It is, in most cases, unconditional.
It’s also easy to define the love you have for your friends. This is a love that you choose to give. It is when you are so close with your friend you view them as if they are part of your family. You have an emotional connection with that person and you never see them not being part of your life.
But what does it mean when you tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them? And more specifically, what does it mean to be in love and how do you know you’re in love? Clearly, there is a difference in the definition of love between the two as we have all heard people say that they love someone but aren’t in love with them.
When I tell my boyfriend that I love him, it means that not only do I love him but I’m also in love with him. Here’s what love is and what it means when we tell our partner we love him.
1. He’s consistently present in your thoughts.
2. You don’t sleep as well if you’re not in the same bed as him.
The comfort of falling asleep next to him brings a calm and security that I don’t get on my own. And when I don’t fall asleep next to him or wake up next to him, I don’t sleep as well.
3. You can’t picture your life without him.
This is a big one. While this is also part of the definition of friendship love, it is a bit different when it comes to a boyfriend. If I can’t see myself walking down the aisle, raising kids, and growing old with a guy, then I’m not in love with him. But if I look at my life and feel like it would be incomplete without him, I am most definitely in love.
4. He’s the first person you want to call if you need help or support.
If I’m having a bad day, the one place I want to be is in his arms. Or if I can’t figure out how to fix the leaky faucet on my own, I call him before I call the plumber. I want his support and help before I seek out someone else.
5. You value his happiness more than your own.
If he isn’t happy, then I can’t be happy. When I am willing to make huge sacrifices in my life in order to make him happy, then I am in love.
6. You want an emotional AND physical connection.
Not only do I want to be able to talk to my boyfriend as I would with a close friend, I want the physical closeness you don’t have with family and friends. Without passion, I can’t be in love with someone.
7. Home is where he is.
They say “home is where the heart is.” I totally agree with this. When I am in love, I could be anywhere in the world and as long as he is physically there with me, I feel like I am home.
8. You love his flaws just as much as you love his positive traits.
When I can look at him and know that I love all the bad things about him (i.e., the fact that he doesn’t put the lid back on the toothpaste or the fact that he sometimes lacks faith in his ability to succeed) just as much as I love the good things about him, then I know I love him.
9. You want to be his support system.
When he needs someone to lean on, I want to be there for him, even when I am completely spent. When my desire to support him when things get tough never falters even when I’m having a rough time with things myself and I feel like I have nothing more to give, I am in love.
This definition of love is not all inclusive. I’ve noticed that everyone tends to have their own definition for what being in love is based on the feelings they have for their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. And their definition can change from partner to partner.
Ultimately, what I’ve learned is that, as complicated as it may be, you have to define it for yourself. Only you can know what it means to you; nobody else can define it for you.