The dating world generally stays the same, but your outlook on love is ever-evolving. When you're young, you might find yourself asking, "Am I in love?" each time you meet someone fun or hot. But as you gain more relationship experience, you ask this question a little less since you already know what being in love is and what it's not.
So what happens when you already have your fair share of relationship experience, but you still have no idea if you're genuinely in love with someone? You know you like her and you know she likes you too. You also know her pretty well, flaws and all, and you've come to accept them as part of who she is. Best of all, she makes your heart skip a beat. Are you in love?
Keep reading to find out for sure.
Am I In Love?
It’s easy to mix between lust, infatuation and love, especially if you haven’t been with lots of women. Below are a few clear signs that will answer the “Am I in love?” question for you:
1. You stare at your texts the way a kid unpacks his gifts on boxing day
You know that silly excited look you had when you got your first Xbox? This is it. You carefully scroll through your texts to re-read her compliments and listen to her voice notes over and over with a wide ridiculous but happy smile on your face. Your conversations make you want to text her all the time, even if it's just about mundane stuff.
Her texts are so ego-boosting to the degree that, if you’re overtly suspicious or have low self-esteem, you may suspect her intentions because you can’t imagine someone can be deeply into you the way they do
2. You can’t get enough of her
You know you should keep your cool and play hard to get but you find it tremendously hard to let her go. Your mind says “enough for today” but your heart wants you to cuddle in bed for an extra hour. Time seems to fly when you're with her and you can’t get enough.
3. You’re super generous around her
I'm not just talking about money here. Sure, you'd buy her whatever she wants if your budget allows. But you're also generous with your time and energy when you're with her. In fact, if you do something for her, you don't see it as waste of money, time or energy. Instead, you see it as a way of showing your love for her, and you'd willingly do it all again if she asks.
4. And you take this generosity to bed
Sex is more like love-making than humping and dumping. You take your time, pay attention to her cues, and double down on foreplay. Her orgasm becomes your orgasm and it’s not just because you’re a generous person, but because you want to see that satisfied look on her face again and again.
5. You start to copy each other
I know a chick is catching feelings when she copies my texts and starts using my lingo in her conversations. They say couples who spend a lot of time together start to look and behave the same. If your way of thinking, talking, texting, and even dressing rubs off on one another then there’s a chance it’s more than just liking each other.
6. You accept her shortcomings
When you ask yourself, "Am I in love?" you don't just think of what you like about her. You also consider all the things you can't stand about her... and they're trivial to you.
Being in love requires time, and in that time you've gotten to know her. You know all the amazing traits she has, but you also know all about her annoying habits. She might be a bit of a clutz or she might be a terrible driver. But you can let that all slide because all the things you like about her far outweigh what you don't like about her.
7. You can be vulnerable around her
To some, being vulnerable might feel emasculating. But when you're in love with someone, you want her to see all of you. You want her to know that you accept her shortcomings, so you want to show her your shortcomings too.
Contrast this with guys who feel like they need to change who they are to impress the woman they want. That's not love; that's manipulation.
So in your case, you want to show her the real you so that she can love and accept you the way you love and accept her.
8. You want to help her
She's not a damsel in distress, but you genuinely want what's best for her. So you give her your unyielding support whenever she needs it. You help her out whenever she needs something, but you also encourage her to be self-reliant when you see her relying on you all the time. As the relationship grows, you might see this as helping her build a foundation for your future together.
But when you're still in the in-love phase, you just want to see her succeed because her happiness is your happiness too.
9. Your desire to pursue other women goes down
There's a line from 500 Days of Summer that succinctly answers the "Am I in love?" question:
"I think technically the 'girl of my dreams' would probably have like a really bodacious rack, you know; maybe different hair; she’d probably be a little more into sports… But truthfully, Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She’s real."
You know she's not your absolute dream girl, or she might not even be your type when you first met. But she grew on you and you find yourself being drawn to her. When you finally forget all about finding your "dream girl" or meeting other women, then it's a sign that you're in love.
10. You’re worried if shit may hit the fan someday
No matter how unneedy you are, you still don’t want to lose her. And since the mind is problem-oriented, yours will throw possible bad endings at you that’ll scare the living crap out of you. But you're realistic in the way you think. You know you can technically live without her, but losing her seems like the absolute worst thing that can happen right now.
Are You In Love or Is It Something Else?
As I said earlier, it’s easy to confuse love with lust and the need for female attention. Some men make this mistake only to realize a few months into a relationship that their feelings diminished. Turns out it wasn't love, just a need that her presence was able to solve.
So to help you avoid getting into a relationship for all the wrong reasons, here's how you can differentiate between love and all those other things.
1. You're not in love if your relationship is all about sex
Is it possible to have feelings for your hookup partner? Yes, absolutely. However, if sex is the foundation of your relationship, you're not in love. Most likely you're confusing love with lust.
Sex can give you both all those feel-good hormones that you may confuse with being in love. And don't get me wrong because those hormones are amazing. But if you're not having sex, do those feelings stick around? Do you enjoy her company even if there's no promise of sex at the end of the date? Do you know who she is and what she's all about when you take sex out of the equation?
If the answer is no, then you're more in-lust than in love.
2. You're not in love if she makes you impulsive
When you're practically obsessed with being with her to the point that you'd drop everything to go out with her, it might seem like love. Movies and TV shows always show the leading man doing grand, dramatic gestures to win the girl. But is this really love?
Chances are it's just infatuation. You're addicted to her and you're letting this addiction dictate your life. It's like all you see is her and your whole world seems to revolve around her. When you're infatuated with someone, it's like going from 0 to 100. It took you only a day or a few dates to go from just being attracted to her to wanting to do all sorts of impulsive things just to be with her.
You have this nagging voice in your head saying, "Am I in love? Of course I am!" But then you might realize that you're just caught up in the moment and the rush of adrenaline.
Keep in mind that infatuation can turn into being in love, but it requires time. When you're infatuated with her, you don't really know her that well yet. Even if you're aware of her flaws, you overlook or ignore them. When this develops into love, you're more aware of her flaws and you accept them.
3. You're not in love if you want her attention all the time
Say your relationship with her isn't all about sex and you're not exactly becoming more impulsive than you usually are. But you find yourself constantly wanting her attention, then is this love?
Nope. That's a need for validation. You see her as someone whose validation and attention is worth more than those of other people around you. That's why you always want to be texting her or seeing her. You want her to praise you and admire you all the time. There's even the chance that you're changing who you are to make her more attracted to you.
You may also put her on a pedestal, seeing her as this perfect person who can do no wrong. But this is the opposite of being in love because you refuse to see her as a human being who's far from perfect.