Image by: Nina Matthews Photography
By H. Daniels
How do you know when you are in love with someone? There are various different emotions that run through our hearts and minds when we date and when we are in a relationship with someone. However, when does it cross over to “love”.
Love seems like such an abstract emotion. How do we know if we love someone? How do we know that the feeling that we are experiencing isn’t just lust or “like” or “like-like” for that matter? Remember those days?
”Do you like him? Or do you, you know, like-like him?”
Puppy love aside, this is a deep subject and depending on who you talk you, you’ll get different answers. Scientists will give you the chemical answers (“Love is a biological necessity that is derived from chemical reactions in your body.”). Romantics will give you philosophical answers (“Love is what binds us together. It does not discriminate; love is for everyone to experience.”)
However, if you look deep within everyone’s reasoning and definitions, there are several congruences. Let’s look over what congruences transcends theories, education, and beliefs.
No matter who you talk to, you’ll always get three general stages of love. The first one is what I will call “passion”. You may have heard of it as lust or a neurological urge or need. No matter what you call it, the definition is the same.
At this stage, you probably feel a strong sexual and physical attraction for your man. While you may (hopefully) feel lustful toward your man throughout your entire relationship, at this stage that is all there is. Just lust.
At this stage you have desires that you would like reciprocated. There is chemistry between the two of you (literally and philosophically speaking). You are constantly thinking about your man. Though at this point in time you aren’t actually calling him “your man” yet.
Image by: Courtney Commody
Intimacy is the second stage. This is where you get an emotional bond and a connection with one another. In movies and books, this is where you are blissfully spending time with one another, getting to know each other’s pet peeves and joyfully enjoying each other’s company. While there will still be a physical desire between the two of you, that’s not what drives you to be with him.
Now there is a deeper connection. This intimacy stage is truly the “make it or break it” point in your relationship. People who are just in it for the physical aspect of dating won’t be interested in the emotional and personal time that it takes to develop your relationship at this stage.
Commitment is the third stage. While some people picture a wedding, that’s not necessarily what I mean by “commitment”. You know that you are at this stage when you can fight (and you will fight – believe me) and you still want to be with each other. This is the stage where you want the relationship to work out no matter what.
You want to be with each other despite the other aspects of your life that are tugging at your sleeve: work, friends, family, personal growth, etc. This is where you can really develop a healthy relationship because you have to balance all of these aspects of your life with your commitment to your man.
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True love will have all three components: passion, intimacy, and commitment. You may reach each stage at different times, but they all have to be there.
#4) Is There Such A Thing As “Selfish Love”?
It has been my personal philosophy (which I inherited from a college friend) that when you are in love with someone, you’re willing to forgo your best interests for him. Now, let me clarify. I’m not saying that you should forgo your best interests; I’m saying that you’re willing to.
His needs and his wants become a priority in your life. You are willing to do almost anything (within reason) to make sure that he is the best person that he can be. You also feel the same way about yourself. You want to be a better person because of him.
#5) Does True Love Change You?
Depending on your personality type you can notice a number of different changes in your habits. You no longer have a need for your little black book. You don’t feel the urge to see other people. You don’t need to do something extravagant with your man in order to enjoy his company. You can be yourself around him and you don’t feel shame when you do so.
You’re willing to save money for your life together. Or even the opposite holds true: you’re willing to spend your money on him instead of something for yourself. Take a good look at your habits and see if you can see any of these signs (or others).