We often talk about how difficult it is to find someone you want to have a relationship with, or how difficult it is to maintain the relationship once you have it. Yet we rarely discuss what happens in between the two, as it's even more unlikely to be instructed on how to determine whether or not we love someone, and to what degree. This is because the prevailing notion is that "love" is simply the influx of hormones we experience when we're around someone we're attracted to. This is a form of love, sure, but it's not the kind of connection that anniversaries and partnerships and comfort and ease are born of.
Of course, the question of what it means to love someone and how to know whether you love someone are one in the same. Is it a feeling, a commitment, a choice, something you wait to overcome you, or something you have to seek out and create? The messages are mixed.
Love in the way that most people claim to want to experience it is essentially a state of being where you see your partner completely, and care for them as the person they are. This does encompass acceptance, respect, commitment, the romance you can create and the compatibility that's inherently there or not. Yet, be that as it may, it can still be a little hazy to determine whether or not you care as much as you think you do, so here are a few ways to know when you love someone more than you think you do.
You Feel Like You Hate Them Sometimes
Despite the fact that you have major issues with them, you don't just put them behind you and move on. If you're still reaching out, talking to them, or even thinking about it to any significant degree, there's more love there than you're letting on.
You've Begun To Idealize What They Idealize
Call it a classic case of becoming "whoever your partner needs you to be," but it's a pretty normal thing at the end of the day. Simply: you've begun to see life their way, and are inspired to be like them, so you must think they're pretty great.
You're Uncertain About The Relationship, Not The Person
You're having doubts about your relationship, but not them. This is when you know you really love them: if your relationship isn't working, you'll worry that there's something wrong with them. If it is working and you're just having some healthy doubts, you'll worry that there's something wrong with it. It's a tiny distinction, but really important nonetheless.
You Feel At Peace When You're With Them
Well, maybe you feel fireworks some of the time, but the prevailing emotion present is always a sense of calm. As the Buddhists say: if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that's not the one. When you meet your soulmate, you'll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation."
They Make You Re-Evaluate Your Priorities
Whatever it is that you're gunning for above all else — your work, your desire to be alone, your plans for the future — you are willing to see them through a different lens, and shift those plans to accommodate this person in your life. It's less of a sacrifice and more of a compromise, intentionally making room for them where there wasn't any before.
You Want To Be Friends With Them Regardless Of Your Romantic Relationship
This is the biggest indicator that you have a love that's real, and that could last: if you want to be friends with them even if you're not having sex, you love them in a very genuine way.
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