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In the first few months (or even years) of a relationship, there is often one question that comes up again and again: ‘am I in love’? For how can you know for sure when you’re in love – real love – as opposed to feeling lust or infatuation? We’ve created a quiz to help you find out.
When do you know that you’re in love?
In a new relationship, infatuation rules, sweeping up a couple in a giddy rush of dopamine, lust, and adrenaline. It’s that delicious, overwhelming feeling of not being able to get enough of someone – and it can be wonderful – but what it isn’t, is love.
Real, lasting love is instead a different kind of thrilling. It’s not as blind-siding as giddy infatuation but it can be more freeing, more rewarding, and far more sustainable. In fact, the quieter, slow-burn of love is the steadfast foundation that holds healthy relationships together.
But how can you know the difference? When does infatuation end and love begin? It can be a tough one to answer definitively as no two definitions of love will ever be identical. That said, there are a few tell-tale signs that can help clarify matters for those asking the ‘am I in love‘? question, signs that we’ve gathered together in an easy, fun quiz.
- Read more: wondering if they’re in love with you? We’ve got a quiz for that too!
Take our quiz: Am I in love or is it infatuation?
Ready to answer the question of ‘am I in love‘? Answer our 10 questions about life with your partner (for the most accurate reading, pick the answer that’s most like your situation). Then read our five expert tips below – they’ll help you decide if you’ve arrived at your love destination or whether you’re currently enjoying a stopover at Infatuation Station.
- Read more: looking for a more scientific approach? Learn more about love vs infatuation here
Am I in love? Insights from the experts
Taken our Am I in Love Quiz but still have questions? Here’s a closer look at the expert insight we examined to create the quiz. We’ve found five statements that can help you decide for sure whether or not you’re in love – the more you agree with, the more likely it is that what you’re feeling is the big L.O.V.E.
1. You’re able to see them as an ordinary, flawed person and you adore them anyway
(Relevant questions: Q1, Q2)
In Love, Actually, one of the most talked-about scenes has Mark appear at Juliet’s door, holding up placards that declare his feelings. They include his ultimate declaration of love: a sign that reads ‘to me you are perfect’. It’s a memorable, sure, but it’s not love, actually. It’s infatuation.
For, if you are seeing your partner as flawless, then it’s not love quite yet. Real love requires letting go of the idealized image of the perfect partner and realizing that you are sharing your life with someone who will have annoying habits and dull work stories, who will sometimes need to work to fix mistakes, and who is, ultimately, a regular, non-perfect person.
But, here’s the important thing: when it’s love, you adore your partner anyway. It’s not about glossing over their flaws but about seeing them clearly and still deciding that this person is the one that you want, annoying habits and all. It’s wanting to be there for the extraordinary times, sure, but also about giving your partner the freedom to be ordinary and to still matter.1
2. You can celebrate the good times with them – as well as weather the bad
(Relevant questions: Q3 & Q5)
People in love are happy when each other succeeds, not because it’s a sign that they’ve bagged a partner worth bragging about, but because it makes them happy to see their partner happy.2 Often, when it’s love, celebrating their success will feel as wonderful as celebrating your own – especially if you’ve been privy to their worries and hopes as they worked towards their goal.
Yet, being in love is not just about celebration. As Marriage and Family therapist Sheri Meyers says, ”love is a verb”3 and you have to actively love in good times and bad for it to be real. This doesn’t just mean being there for your partner when they are having a tough time: it’s also important to allow yourself to be supported when you need it. Vitally, it’s about not pulling away or hiding when you are feeling vulnerable but, rather, letting your partner see the less-flattering aspects of your life and trusting that they’ll still care.
2. You let them into your life (and they include you in theirs)
(Relevant questions: Q4 & Q9)
One of the signs that you’re in an emotionally unavailable relationship is that one (or both) of you severely compartmentalizes – keeping your relationship in one bubble and family and/or friends in another. If you’ve been dating someone for a while and they flat-out refuse to let you meet anyone else important to them, or if you’re the one putting up such barriers, then the answer to the ‘am I in love?’ question might well be no.4
In contrast, someone in love will gladly introduce their partner to the people that matter because they are ready for their partner to be a significant factor in their life. For that’s the important thing – if you are feeling the kind of love that lasts, you will find yourself wanting to include your partner in all the parts of your life that make you, you, from family and friends to your hopes for the future.
Crucially, though, it has to go both ways. If you’re not interested in hearing about their life, but want them to know all about yours, it’s ego-stroking, not love. If you’re neglecting your own life to embrace theirs, it’s unhealthy infatuation, not love. But, if you’re both equally happy to let the other in as well as to contribute, then love is definitely on the cards.5
4. You are not afraid to disagree
(Relevant questions: Q6 & Q8)
When you’re infatuated with someone it can be tempting to agree on everything. You’re smitten with this person and (perhaps subconsciously) don’t want to rock the boat, so you heartily agree when they say they love strong espresso and heavy metal – even though you’re secretly more into lattes and light jazz. By agreeing, you feel like you two were meant to be.
However, one of the ways you can know you’re in love is when you feel secure enough to know that disagreement is not going to spell disaster for your relationship. This doesn’t just apply to frivolous fun like coffee and music but to the big things too: if you know you can raise conflicting matters without fear or worry, and if you trust you’ll be able to work together to find a solution that works for you both (as opposed to there being an argument ‘winner’), then your relationship is in a great place. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re love.6
5. You make time to look after your own needs as well as theirs
(Relevant questions: Q7 & Q10)
And so we come to perhaps the most important statement of all to agree with. For, before you can give love to anyone else you must first love yourself. If you don’t; if you are wanting your relationship to fill some aching emotional void in yourself, then you will have a hard time moving past neediness and infatuation and into a place of real, reciprocal love.7
This doesn’t of course mean you shouldn’t be vulnerable towards your partner, nor that you should ignore the needs of the relationship or always put your own desires before theirs. What it does mean is that you should take responsibility for your own happiness while also encouraging your partner to do the same. Essentially, it boils down to the difference between wanting and needing your partner – if it’s love, it’s far more likely to be the former.
In other words, if you have the drive to make yourself happy without your partner, the relationship security to let your partner be happy without you, and the friendship bond that nonetheless makes you want to enjoy this happiness together, then it’s almost certain you’ve well and truly fallen in love.
EliteSingles editorial August 2016
Are you still wondering ‘am I in love?’ Leave your questions below or send them to us by email: you can reach us at [email protected]
1 Mercury Blog, Feb 2016: 14 Signs It’s Infatuation vs Love. Found at http://www.ilanelanzen.com/loveandrelationships/14-signs-its-infatuation-vs-love/
2 Tom Chiarella, writing for Esquire, 2010. How do I know I’m in love?. Found at http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/sex/advice/a8326/how-do-i-know-if-im-in-love/
3 Sheri Meyers, writing for the Huffiington Post, 2013. If This Isn’t Real Love, What Is? The Fallibility of Infatuation, Found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheri-meyers/if-this-isnt-real-love-wh_b_4241987.html
4 Logan Hill, writing for Cosmopolitan, 2014. ‘My Boyfriend Won’t Introduce Me to His Family or Friends.’ Found at http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/a30437/ask-logan-boyfriend-family-friends/
5 Theresa E DiDonato, PhD., writing for Psychology Today, 2013. When it’s Time to ”Meet The Family.” Found at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201312/when-its-time-meet-the-family
6 Leon F Seltzer Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today, 2010. Can You and Your Partner Agree to Disagree? Found at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201009/can-you-and-your-partner-agree-disagree
7 Sheri Meyers, writing for the Huffiington Post, 2013. If This Isn’t Real Love, What Is? The Fallibility of Infatuation, Found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheri-meyers/if-this-isnt-real-love-wh_b_4241987.html