How do you know if you love someone? And how can you find a source you can trust to determine if your feelings are real? As a therapist, I’ve seen a variety of clients and can tell when it’s truly love.
If you want to know if you love someone, here are five things to look for in your relationship:
1. You build trust.
As the 1966 hit Supremes song, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” claimed, it takes time to develop real loving feelings.
In order to love someone, you must first develop trust. When you meet someone, you know next to nothing about them, and your first impression may or may not be accurate. As you share more and more about yourselves and your lives, trust grows. Real love unfolds over time.
2. You’re not in a rush.
Many young people compare their lives to their peer groups’.
As their friends and siblings begin to fall in love and get married, they pressure themselves to catch up. Many people rush into engagements before they’re ready to commit to marriage.
You and your partner determine the pace of your relationship. If you’re looking for love, wait until you’re sure you love your partner before you marry them.
3. You believe that actions speak louder than words.
When you’re falling in love, you need time to observe your partner’s actions – not just listen to their words.
When they say that they’ll do something, do they follow through? Does your partner treat you with respect? Do they respect your time? Do they treat their friends and family well?
If your partner’s actions concern you, talk to them about their behavior. If they’re unwilling to change, that may be a red flag.
4. You know that attraction isn’t everything.
Sexual attraction is thrilling, but it isn’t the same as love.
Attraction is an important element in lasting relationships, but attraction alone isn’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship.
If your time with your partner is purely physical, you may not share enough interests to have a relationship.
If your relationship is 99 percent physical, you never make time for anyone else, or you’ve never had an argument with your partner, you may be experiencing infatuation, not love.
5. You’re vulnerable with each other.
The more you trust your partner and share about yourself, the more love unfolds.
Each time you share deeper parts of yourself, you test the waters. “Can I trust this person with my traumas or unpleasant habits? Will they still want to be with me, faults and all?”
Your partner is also learning how much they can open up to you. As you bravely share parts of yourself and they do the same, you fall a little deeper towards true love.
When you both have shared all the elements of what makes you who you are — the good, the bad, and the in-between — you’ll know whether you’re in love. And if you’ve been open, honest, and vulnerable, you’ll both be ready to trust your partner enough to profess your love.
As you develop the skills to navigate your way to a lasting, loving relationship, you might have some difficulty knowing whether you feel love or lust. These tips will show you if you can truly fall for your partner.
Dr. Barbara Lavi, PsyD is a licensed clinical psychologist, founder of ACT Now Psychotherapy, and author of the best-selling book, “The Wake Up and Dream Challenge,” which helps people reach for and accomplish their dreams. She sees clients in Weston, CT and online.
Originally published on YourTango.