The whole of human existence revolves around love. It’s the thing we strive for and want so badly in our lives. But it’s also a roller-coaster ride – this whole “finding true love thing”.
It takes you through the hoops, often leaving you scarred with a broken heart and broken promises.
The thing about love is that we get back into it again…and again.
But it’s hard to know what true love really feels like.
You may feel drawn to someone and even like someone immensely, you could be in an intense relationship with someone, spending day and night together and feeling giddy with happiness – and yet this might not be the real thing.
So how do you know what true love really is and what does it feel like to be in love?
Well, first of all, it’s not easy to differentiate between love and infatuation or loving someone and being in love.
Here is what Philippa Perry, a psychotherapist, columnist, and author of How To Stay Sane says about this “If you ask someone to describe what being in love feels like, they will describe something that sounds like sexual passion and desire tinged with obsession.”
But being in love has to be more than sexual tension and chemistry – surely?
You see, love hits you when you least expect it and suddenly you are feeling these feelings which are magical and indescribable and somewhere in your gut and heart you just know that this time, this person is different. Perhaps, they are the one?
The one that you are completely and utterly in love with?
Well, let’s find out what does it feel like to be in love!
There’s a spring in your step and you can hear music playing in your head – just like the movies. You feel happy all the time. Not the kind where you are constantly smiling, though that is one of the side effects of being in love, but the kind where you feel happy deep down inside all the time – even when the sexual tensions cool down and even when things go a bit awry in your life. You know you have that special someone to count on, talk to and rely on.
Scientifically, when you’re in love, dopamine levels in your brain go up as more blood gushes into the regions of the brain where the dopamine receptors are located. Dopamine is a pleasure chemical which makes you feel like you do – full of happiness, restless and excited.
You're thinking about them all the time
You can’t get them out of your thoughts. Every little thing you do reminds you of them or urges you to want to share your experiences with them. You wake up feeling giddy with love and excitement and this feeling stays even after the initial uber-excitement you felt.
As your relationship grows and settles into a routine, you find yourself thinking about that someone special in your life, through all of life’s simple little events – like when you hear a joke and you know you want to share it or when you are out shopping and you can’t stop wishing your partner was there.
When you are truly in love, you’ll always think of them through tough conversations and tough times too.
Science has a way of explaining all this thinking that you do especially in the initial stages. It is because of a chemical compound called norepinephrine which gets released along with dopamine in your brain.
Constant giddiness equates to constant smiling. You are just so happy that nothing can bring you down. You feel like you are walking on the sunshine every day even if it’s cold and gloomy outside.
Your friends and colleagues are always asking you why you’re smiling and you know it’s because of that special someone. And you smile even more when they are around – it’s just natural and you can’t help it. They just make you immensely happy.
You love the world
When you’re in love and the world seems like such a beautiful place. Now that you are happy with your special someone, you feel the weight lift off other areas of your life which may have been bothering you. You find that life gets more interesting.
You want to know more about your partner and you don’t even get bored staying at home and playing Trivial Pursuit or watching a movie as long as they are around.
You feel like you can handle anything and that the happiness you are feeling will permeate into other areas of your life.
Butterflies in your stomach
You know that feeling? Those flutters and the tiny little shivers you feel along with the loss of your appetite?
Yes, that’s what you’re feeling – a feeling of being totally in love which is causing all those funny fluttery sensations in your stomach.
It happens every time you think of them or when someone mentions their name and it even happens when you are with them. You feel awkward around them when this relationship is all new and you have no idea why.
But you also feel safe and comfortable and that’s even more baffling. But it seems you’re in love.
Feel good about yourself
There may be a time when you are over-critical of yourself or felt that you were not good enough – but not anymore.
You know you are loved for who you are and that feels wonderful. It also means that you learn to love your own flaws and stop being critical of yourself.
One of the other things you feel when you are in love is the strength. You feel strong about who you are and you find the strength to push through any adversity.
You know that they are here for you
Somewhere deep down inside, you know that your partner will always be there for you. You feel secure and with that security come happiness.
Even when things get tough and your relationship goes through ups and downs, you know that this person will always have your back.
You care about them immensely
Being in love makes you want to selflessly care about your partner’s happiness. You want them to be happy in what they do and you support them through everything. When they are down or feel less certain about themselves you step up and let them know what they are capable of. And they do the same for you.
In a way, you feel responsible for another person’s wellbeing and happiness. But this doesn’t feel like a burden and it doesn’t stress you out – you just know inside of you that you want your partner to be happy and you will be there for them to encourage and support them through life.
There will be times when they challenge you to be better and to reach your goals and during these testing times your relationship might get a bit tricky, but you will know deep inside your heart that your special someone is there to support you and help you achieve your goals.
You feel at home
When you’re in love with someone – you know this is the real deal because you feel absolutely comfortable with them. You can be who you are without any pretense. You know you are not being judged even when you are at your worst.
You can talk about anything that’s on your mind even if it’s ranting about the pimples on your face or the bad day you had at work.
You can talk about silly trivial everyday things and even about serious stuff without feeling awkward.
And most importantly you can talk about your darkest secrets and know that you and your secrets are safe. You know you are showing them who you are and its ok. They love you anyway.
All your days will not be filled with conversations and there will be days when you go about doing your stuff. But you know your partner is around and it feels good as you don’t feel the need to fill the silence between you both but are extremely comfortable in it.
You don’t have to change your personality to be someone else just to please your partner. You can be you and be absolutely relaxed being with that person.
The thing about love is that when you are in this kind of relationship you will want to be the best of who you are for the other person and it won’t feel like you’re trying very hard. You’ll find it within yourself to want to change certain habits and be a better person.
You miss them
When you are apart you miss them deeply. But you can function perfectly well without your partner because there is a deep understanding between you both and there is security.
You miss them on a daily basis- when you are work or when you are out with your friends – you find that you miss them and their smile, their gentle touch and their laugher. You feel loved even when they are not around and can’t wait to hear their voice at the end of the day.
Life get busy as the relationship grows and as your schedules get hectic, you find that you both can still cope and find time for each other – perhaps through a quick coffee at a café during the day or even a Skype call just to let them know that you love them.
You have fun
When you fall in love, life seems to get better and you will find yourself having a lot of fun with your special someone. You learn new things about them and have fun getting to know them even if it’s about their obsessive Star War’s collection.
You’re having fun even if you’re talking about insignificant things or just cuddling up to watch a movie on Netflix.
And you always feel like you haven’t spent enough time with them as times flies when you’re having fun. Your days seem to get better every day filled with love, smiles, laughter and support
And most importantly you feel happy and good about yourself.
Falling in love is a big thing and it’s not always easy to know if you’re in love. It can be confusing, as falling in love and feeling passionately close to someone may sometimes feel the same.
If you are experiencing any of the above signs, chances are that you may have found your true love. And this you will know for sure deep within you without a doubt.