10 Signs You’re Finally Ready For Real, Grown-Up Love

When you’re a kid, falling love is a fantasy that is informed by the example family members and characters in Disney movies have set for you and characters. As a teenager, it’s probably all about intense infatuation and social status. You want to find the guy of your dreams, fall in love and live happily ever after — except for most of us, it’s not quite that straightforward and eventually we all realize love isn’t really what we had imagined it to be.

  1. You wonder if this is what it’s like this for everyone. Does everyone expect one thing and then experience something totally different? Should you keep holding out for an epic love story, or is adjusting your expectations something everyone has to do at some point? The fact that you’re even thinking about that is a sign that you’ve matured beyond puppy love.
  2. Your priorities change. When you’re younger, you want a guy who is hot, fun to be around and up for anything. As you get older, stability becomes more important and while a guy might seem like Prince Charming on paper, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be right for you.
  3. You’ve realized the difference between lust and love. Love at first sight is usually just pure lust, and while sexual chemistry is pretty important, it doesn’t equal love. Looking back, you were probably just drawn to that guy on the lacrosse team because of insane sexual chemistry and infatuation — not because he was the love of your life.
  4. You compare your feelings to other people’s. You’ve seen other people fall head over heels in love, or at least it seems that way. If they’re capable of it, why aren’t you? Just because you haven’t experienced something yet doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, but it’s also important to remember everyone experiences love differently and your idea of a fairy tale romance might not be the same as your friend’s.
  5. Wanting the same things becomes more important. No one is doubting you and your high school boyfriend were in love. But once you realize your life is going in two different directions, that love becomes less sustainable. Everyone wants to think love will overcome all obstacles, but you’ll probably find out at some point that just isn’t realistic.
  6. You start thinking more long-term. Everything might be great at the moment, but what does this relationship look like a year from now? Five years from now? As unromantic as it sounds, love means being able to compromise and communicate about what you need from each other. Those are the things that will keep you together, not the fact that you both like country music.
  7. You figure out you can love someone but not really like them. Loving someone means you want to spend all your time with them and can’t find a single thing wrong with them, right? Not necessarily. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should be with them, and that’s a lesson most of us have to learn the hard way.
  8. Sometimes you don’t trust your own feelings. When you’re just starting to figure out what you want and what’s important to you, having feelings for someone who doesn’t fit all those things is kind of confusing. Accepting that love isn’t perfect can be a hard pill to swallow, especially when you have to decide what things you’re willing to compromise on and what things are deal breakers.
  9. You might be a little disappointed. Not that the real life version of love that you’re capable of experiencing isn’t good enough, but it’s not the intense love story you saw in the movies. It’s not immediate and unmistakable and it probably isn’t perfect, but in the long run, it’s healthier and stronger, and you’ll take that over a short-lived, whirlwind romance any day.
  10. You accept that love takes time to develop. Those short, intense relationships might be exciting at first, but ultimately, you’re looking for a love that lasts. That means it’s possible you could end up with someone you didn’t necessarily feel any sparks within the beginning. If you keep an open mind, you’ll find the kind of love that works for you — and it’s perfectly normal if it’s not the Hollywood-worthy love story you thought it would be.
By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to Bolde.com, contributes regularly to AmongMen.ca, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.