Love is the most tricky area of emotions for us to understand. It can be even harder if you're wondering how to know that you love someone.
Is it really love? Or is it just infatuation?
How can you know for sure that you're in love with this person?
Well, before I tell you the signs of falling in love, I want to ask a couple questions -
It might seem like that's just playing with words, but it's actually important. If you feel love for the PERSON - that's an important part of being in love. But if you just love the feeling you're experiencing when you're near this guy, you could also just be infatuated.
Infatuation is not really love, by the way. It's often mistaken for love, but it's not.
It's a highly charged state of being that really equates to lust more than love.
Those initial chemicals that get dumped into your bloodstream when you meet someone that you feel a strong sexual desire for will create a perfect storm of desire in both of you. But the reality is that it's not "love" at all. It's simply a pure physical response to someone who might make some fast babies with you.
Hey, that's how Mother Nature works.
Carlos Cavallo, Dating and Attraction Adviser
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Let's jump into the signs of love, and then we'll see how it applies to you...
Falling in love means that your body is going to have a hormonal reaction. I know, not sexy when I say it like that.
But it goes back to what I explained about infatuation...
You're going to feel a ton of drug-like effects ranging from:
The list goes on and on. You are literally under the effect of a half dozen or more chemicals in your bloodstream and brain that affect the way you think and feel, including hormones like:
And we all know about Testosterone in the guys...
So you can be sure that you're going to feel a wee bit dopey when the first part of "love" starts to show up in your system.
It's literally like being under the influence.
One of the most dramatically obvious signs of love as it starts in your system is that you just can't stop staring at the person you're in love with. You'll look at their face, their eyes, their body, their hair...
And it seems so darn irresistible in the moment that you're near them.
I'm sure you've experienced this at some point. It was usually back in our teens that we found that certain people we were attracted to - or dating - had this magical magnetism that keeps us looking at them as much as possible.
You almost wish you could just sit there watching them for hours... but that would get kinda creepy.
This is one that is more obvious for women than men, mostly because women are much better at controlling their physical responses in social situations. Guys, on the other hand, have no problem staring in creepy ways, as you may have experienced.
Another compulsive behavior is when we can't stop thinking about the person we're in love with.
This is heavily influenced by those love hormones I mentioned earlier. Those hormones are actually rewiring your brain to desire and bond with that person you're in love with!
Which seems a bit unfair, but hey... the reality of love is that you don't get to choose the people you fall in love with.
So if you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts about your love interest,
You're probably falling in love.
But I would encourage you to distract yourself as much as you can and not let yourself think too much about them. Constantly fantasizing about a person could put you in a position where you are the one that loves the most in the relationship.
And that means you could find yourself riding a crazy emotional roller coaster with him...
One of the crazy signs of love is the one that makes us affirm our belief in why love is so good, even if it doesn't always work out.
We tend to become very generous when it comes to falling in love. We start giving our everything to the person we want.
Love seems to inspire us to generosity. And that's a great thing - probably the best side-effect of falling in love. The more we give to others, the better everything can be...
You will also find yourself wanting to complete the circuit of giving by revealing more of yourself to him. Giving not only time, energy, gifts, and all that, but you find yourself wanting to give the very essence of yourself to this guy.
Just take care and pace yourself. Sometimes over-sharing can freak a guy out.
One of the curious signs that you're in love is that you don't really seem to care about other problems going on in your life. Or, at the very least, you won't notice those other problems.
You'll feel that most of the things that were troubling you just don't matter quite as much.
Love has a great way of both distorting your emotions AND diminishing your troubles.
One of the things that a new love interest can do for you - and those love hormones - is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone. Big time...
You're way more willing to go and try new things. Everything from:
Again your life seems more open and expansive when you're in love, so you start exploring things you may have been interested in - or just to understand the world of your partner more.
When you feel that you have a companion love interest, and that this love energy is starting between you, you start to realize that your world can open up more. And you feel you can take more risks.
It's only later that our relationships tend to close-in and get a little more routine. That's the part we have to watch out for later on!
Ever notice how you'll do all kinds of wild & wacky things at the start of love?
Nothing ever seems all that gross to you. (Yeah, I'm kind of hinting at the gooey stuff we do in the bedroom.)
When you're in love, you're not going to be as hung up on the small gross things you have to do. Body stuff just isn't that big a deal.
I won't go into gross details here, but you know what I mean. You'll find your threshold of "ICKY!" goes way up when you're in love...
Another way the body participates in the building of emotional love is in your energy level. Overall, you'll feel more energized.
Some could even say that this energy doesn't just come from the adrenaline dumped into your system by those hormones.
Love is itself a form of energy that we can tap into. Maybe not directly, like plugging your cell phone into a wall socket to recharge it, but love can have that effect on your psychic and physical energy levels.
It feels like a recharge of our willpower, as well, allowing us to tackle those difficult situations that we might have given up on.
Scientific studies have shown that when we start to fall in love, we experience "mild flu-like symptoms."
You might feel a bit physically ill when they're not around. You can oscillate from really excited and energized to feeling queasy and under-the-weather in a matter of minutes. Your body is responding to the presence of - and withdrawal from - your love interest.
Quirkiness is defined as:
"Characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits..."
And Quirky things about our love interest will show up all the time as we're getting to know them.
These are all part of the quirks we experience of other people.
Now, in the beginning stages of falling in love, we are so much more tolerant of the quirky behaviors and odd parts of a person's personality. We accept them at the start.
What we must watch out for is the tendency to turn those quirks into "things to get rid of" or to change about them later. We have to appreciate the diversity of behavior of our partners as much as we do the things that jive and are compatible.
If you're in that accepting space, there's a good chance that you're in love.
Believe it or not, even physical pain is muted when you've got that love bug going on.
You'll notice that body aches and even your symptoms when you get sick are pushed to the background. You're going to have a much higher tolerance for discomforts.
A Stanford University School of Medicine study had participants look at a photo of someone they were in love with and found that this reduced moderate pain by up to 40%. Looking at the image and inducing that feeling also reduced severe pain by up to 15%.
I remember when I was dating and falling for someone, we'd lay next to each other in the most uncomfortable ways on the couch as we watched movies together. I'd cramp up after a while, but I'd be so happy just cuddling with them.
Somehow, those little pains just didn't register.
Who needs ibuprofen when you've got Love!
One of the most reliable - if not THE most reliable - indications of how to know if you love someone is if you start hearing that voice from inside telling you this is something right.
Most people don't know the real source of this focus on "trusting your gut." Scientific studies have revealed a whole nerve center in the body comprised of the Vagus nerves.
Centered in the brain stem, the vagus travels through the neck and into the chest. It then splits into the left vagus and the right vagus. Each of these nerve highways is composed of tens of thousands of nerve fibers that branch out into the heart, lungs, stomach, pancreas and almost every other organ in your gut.
It's like a whole secondary part of your body's awareness - only focused on your gut and internal organs. And it's one that you should pay attention to, because it has its own intelligence.
This is why you get sensations from this part of your body when you're contemplating situations or people in your life.
Listen to your gut, because it's probably very aware of answers you might not be able to see.
And yes, it knows if you're in love or not, too.
When it comes to meeting needs, when you're in love you may find yourself prioritizing your partner over yourself. You have a willingness to put another person’s needs and desires over your own.
Just like with physical generosity, you'll find yourself going out of your way to accommodate them and make them happy.
You'll find yourself reorganizing and re-prioritizing to make things work.
What we have to do is watch out that this behavior doesn't go on too long, as it can blind us to relationships that may not work out quite the way we expect. And we run the risk of overlooking our needs and not giving ourselves the kind of self-care we need.
Cornell University’s Dr. Robert J. Sternberg’s idea is that there are three elements of love:
This is called his triangle theory of love, showing the 3 necessary elements of love.
Keep in mind that the third one is usually more implied than an actual decision you come to rationally. For most couples, deep connection forms the implied commitment to stay with their partner.
And I'm sure we've all experienced partners who SAID they were going to be there (i.e., gave us the words), but then fell through later on.
When you start to realize you've got these intense feelings for someone, the next natural development of your love is to wonder if they are thinking or feeling the same about you.
We go off on long search expeditions to see if there are any hidden "signs" to watch out for.
You'll even notice how your body reacts and surges into life when he mentions wanting to get together with you or meet up with you.
One of the nicest side effects of being in love is that you start to feel better about yourself. You start to experience an expanded sense of yourself.
You feel like you're smarter and better than you were before you met them. This is called "self-expansion."
A new person in our life will help us to flex the idea and definition of our "self" - whether that's including their hobbies as ours, or just feeling that spiritual growth that comes from the connection between you and him.
Emotions tend to become more volatile and passionate when we're in love. Which means you're going to feel yourself almost getting non-stop PMS.
Well, okay, not that bad. But you will find yourself getting much more flustered over the small stuff.
These freak-outs are normal. In fact, your friends have probably picked up on your heightened anxious state and just don't know how to tell you to chill out.
Another way you're freaking out is that you might be feeling that anxiety of wondering how to keep him interested in you and attracted to you.
You're dealing with a hair-trigger feeling of being emotionally vulnerable.
And you are. You're exploring your own love as well as the uncertain space of another person's feelings about you. This can really challenge you.
You're in a place where you're in love, the most powerful feeling of all, and yet you might feel terribly unstable. You might find yourself reaching to find a way to steady yourself.
You're even going to find yourself wanting to say the "Big 3" to them at some point. You know, those 3 words that mark the start of something special...
"You're a Taurus?"
You know what the big 3 are - "I Love You."
Somehow we feel compelled to say that to them as soon as we even suspect we might be in love. We feel the compulsion to confess our true feelings.
But telling him your feelings too soon could scare him off before the relationship can really take off.
In fact, most women really don't know what to say to men to make him HEAR her...
Or make him really connect with her...
If you'd like to know how to make men desire you with the power of your words alone, you need to see this...
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