Ah, true love. No other subject has been explored so thoroughly throughout the years, through paintings, poetry, music, literature, drama, and even psychology and science.
Yet true love is still one of the greatest mysteries of the modern era. We have found out that certain chemicals in the brain are released when we cuddle up with a loved one, such as oxytocin. We’ve also discovered that people who claim to be in love have high levels of dopamine surging through their brains, a chemical which is also highly active when a person uses cocaine!
Even with all of scientists’ detailed knowledge of the brain in love, we don’t get the bigger picture of what it really means to be in love, versus lust. After all, Romeo and Juliet thought that they had finally found true love, but would real true love leave two adolescents dead in less than a week? Probably not, because true love should be healthy.
21 Signs of True Love
Intimacy is one of the three most defining aspects of true love, from a psychological perspective. If you are unsure of what it means to be truly intimate, consider it a feeling of understanding between two people that develops from spending a lot of time together, and sharing all the different parts of your life, without leaving anything to the imagination. There are no big secrets in an intimate relationship. It doesn’t develop overnight but requires patience. If your relationship has a lot of intimacy, you will feel a sense of connection with your partner.
Commitment is the second of the defining aspects of true love from a psychological point of view. Commitment has to do with staying strong together even when the going gets tough. In fact, it is in situations of adversity that you get a chance to see someone’s true nature. If things get tough and you think of dashing out, you might not have found true love. True love is not just a couple who is together out of convenience. It requires sticking together through thick and thin- metaphorically and physically! If your partner were to gain or lose twenty pounds, would you still love them?
Passion is the third tip of the triangle of true love, as recognized by many love experts. Although passion alone is just infatuation, it can’t be brushed aside because true love is incomplete without it. A relationship with only commitment and intimacy is simply considered companionship- not a bad thing to have, but you can strive for more. Passion is a strong and very intense feeling. It’s your physical yearning and desire for your partner. You feel an undeniable spark when you are together. It is passion that will drive you to think about your partner night and day, replaying their compliments over and over in your head.
A giving nature in your relationship is a great sign that you have found true love. But giving has to be done for the right reasons. If you are giving flowers so that your partner will forget about an argument, you’re doing it wrong. Same goes for giving a gift in hopes of something in return. If you have found true love, you will find yourself giving for the sake of giving, and expecting nothing back. For example, when you’re at the grocery store, do you want to pick up their favourite dessert to surprise them with a treat? Do you ever have a spontaneous urge to pick up a bright flower with your spare change?
You find your happiness in theirs
When you have found true love, you will know because seeing your partner happy makes you happy. You find yourself rooting for their sports team for the simple reason that you know it will make them happy, even when it has no other effect on your life. This makes compromise a lot easier because when you both have each other’s interests at heart, it is not hard to compromise and find a happy medium. Maybe you have been in the mood for a quiet night in together. But when they come home announcing with excitement that their childhood best friend is in town for a surprise visit, you are happy to reschedule your alone time in order to take their friend out on the town.
You don’t try to manipulate them emotionally
Sometimes emotions run high in relationships. But you would never think of taking that out on your partner. Maybe you’ve had a tough day and you need to feel like you are important, and would appreciate some TLC. Being open with your partner about how you feel is key, instead of making them feel guilty and inadequate so that they feel obliged to pamper you.
Honestly seems like an obvious component of true love, but it is more important than many people realize. Sometimes it just seems more convenient to not mention something, or change the details a little bit, to save yourself some explaining. Like if you ran into your ex at the coffee shop, and spend some time catching up and reminiscing, it might seem like it would just cause trouble in your relationship to mention it, when it meant nothing to you. But hiding something important that you know your partner would care about suggests that you have something to hide. Next time a white lie slips out, ask yourself why you felt the need to be dishonest.
You prioritize each other
Even when you have been together for a long time, and see each other almost every day, it says a lot about your relationship if you still prioritize your plans together. It helps you to keep the staleness out of the relationship. You can always try new things and take the time to go on fun dates. If you see something fun going on in your city, it’s important to make plans and stick to them. Following through with your partner shows that it is not an impulsive romance!
You feel understood
You feel like your partner just gets you. They know you can’t have real talk before you’ve had your coffee in the morning. When you tell them about your annoying co-worker, they don’t try to rationalize that dummy’s behaviour. Instead, they get why it makes you mad. They know this is just the tip of the iceberg. This coworker has been bugging you for 6 months, and you know his heart is definitely not in the right place. They can feel when you need to be around people, and when you just need to be left alone, and don’t take it personally.
You have shared views about things that are most important to you
If you have always been a self-sufficient person, taking pride in your career and ambitions all your life, it might be hard to adjust to life with someone who views work as a means to an end: a way to earn money to spend on weekend benders, and vice versa. If you don’t care what you do nine to five so long as you can spend your free time doing whatever you please, it may be hard to relate to a partner who is always picking up extra weekend hours and checking work emails every time you look over at them.
You have your own unique identity, interests and opinions
Having things in common is of course important in a relationship. But a relationship can’t define who you are. It is important to maintain your sense of self in a relationship. Maybe you have a weekly board game night with your friends. Your partner doesn’t hold you back from your personal interests, but encourages them! If you don’t like their favourite band, you can be truthful about it, and you don’t expect them to love your favourites either. If you have found true love, your partner loves you, not just being in a relationship with someone who agrees with them. It is important to stay true to who you really are.
You have your own friends, and they have theirs
You always feel encouraged to go to out after work with your coworkers, and don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to meet up alone with your friend from out of town who is only visiting for one day. Sure, it would be great to introduce your partner to these friends, but they can accept that they don’t have to be a part of everything that you are involved with. In fact, they have their own circles as well. Neither of you feel threatened that your partner is keeping a secret romantic interest from you, or talking about you behind your back in a negative way.
You want the best for each other
If you got accepted to your dream job, but it meant you got to see each other less, your partner would support you in making whichever decision suited you best. If your partner took a promotion that meant longer hours, you would understand and accept their choice. You two never want to make each other choose between your relationship and their career, or their family. The last thing you want is to hold them back from their dream, and they want nothing more than to see you spread your wings and soar.
You can have civil disagreements
Even arguing can be a sign that you have found true love. It just depends on how you do it. If you disagree about something, do you listen to their position in full? Do you feel like you are listened to? It is also important to try to come up with constructive solutions and try to compromise. If you have not found true love, you will find that your arguments involving interrupting each other, often to lay blame, or to refute blame with defensiveness.
Distance makes your heart grow fonder
This is a cliché for a reason. Of course, when you are in love, you want to spend your time with your partner. But, you can live with the idea of spending some time apart. Sometimes people need to explore life, the world and themselves through their own lens, instead of through a couple’s lens. And if you have found true love, you will not have to worry that time apart will make your partner forget about you. Time apart is good for every relationship. It reminds you of all the little things your partner does for you that you might have taken for granted. If you feel that you can’t be apart, you might want to make sure that you are truly in love and not just codependent.
If you have a problem, you feel comfortable resolving it together
Everyone just needs to vent to friends occasionally, but when you have found true love, you will notice that you don’t find yourself complaining to your friends about your partner all the time. Instead, when you have an issue, you go straight to the source, confident that you two will be able to work it out.
Their accomplishments make you feel proud
You admire their passion and commitment to things that are important to them. Even if it is something that you have struggled with in the past. If your partner attempts it, making it look easy, you feel proud of them, rather than resentful. In fact, you only compare yourself to your partner when you are drawing inspiration from them.
You’re happy doing nothing together
You never feel pressured to have small talk. You’re happy just throwing on the TV, chowing down, or even reading next to one another. Somehow even these otherwise solo activities are just better when you’re in the company of your true love.
You aren’t in denial
Often, when a relationship is starting, the other person seems perfect and without a flaw. But you know you have found true love when you can recognize that your partner isn’t good at everything, and you still love them.
You can’t stop talking about them.
Although you don’t complain often, you friends can barely get a word in once you start talking about your partner. You love talking about their accomplishments, their insights, and the adventures that you go on together.
There’s never enough time in a day.
You wish you could tack on a few extra hours in the day just to spend some extra time with your partner, without having to give up the basics of sleep, friends, work, or school. Just being around them greatly improves your quality of life.
How to Find True Love for Yourself
True love is not something you can find overnight. It requires a spark, and then it takes time to really foster true love. First, try to consider people that you already know. Have you felt any butterflies lately? You may have to be brave and take the first step yourself, putting you in a position to get to know each other better, to find out if you are truly compatible. If no one comes to mind, then consider how to meet people that share common values with you. Maybe you want to try an outdoor hiking club, or a bookstore, or the dog park. Just do something that is meaningful to you, not what you think makes you seem more interesting. If you are already interested in these things, then you will feel more comfortable right away, and you’ll be able to skip the charades and be yourself!
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