Falling in love is tricky. Is it real love or just a seriously intense crush? For some, it happens slowly over time; for others, it happens in one specific moment that they will remember forever. Here are 12 women’s experiences and how they knew what they felt was the real deal.
Her anxiety just… disappeared.
“I have a lot of hyperactive, anxious voices in my head pretty much all the time. I knew I was totally in love with my boyfriend when I realized that when we’re together, the extra voices go silent and I just feel very peaceful and warm. When I look at him, I just feel this really solid feeling-this sort of strong feeling of deep satisfaction with hints of pride that doesn’t feel vulnerable to doubt or speculation… I’d known him for nine months at the time and we’d been together for two. I told him I thought that I was in the process of falling in love with him and he just said, ‘I love you, too.'” — Karen*
They had the worst vacation ever.
“My now husband and I were at the beginning of a long trip after living on separate continents for nine months. On the first leg of the trip, we missed a flight and then the airport was closed because of a terrorist attack so we were stuck in Liverpool with no luggage (we’d left it at the airport), soaking wet clothes, and no sleep. We were both exhausted and grumpy, and each time that it became clear that one of us had reached our limit, the other would step up and take charge for a bit. We didn’t grumble, argue, or place blame. We just fixed the problems the best we could and took the time to explore Liverpool. I realized that night that I didn’t want to spend my life with anyone else.” — Erin
He sang his way to her heart. “
I love listening to oldies when I’m getting dressed. One evening, we were getting ready to go out with friends and ‘Stand By Me’ came on. I was just humming along and then all of a sudden he belted out the chorus at full volume and started dancing with me right in the bathroom. I knew right then that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, singing and dancing without any reservations.” — Jordan
He brought her juice, pizza, and video games.
“I was home sick and my S.O. went out to get me some medicine from the store. He took forever, but when he came back, he not only had medicine but juice and a pizza ‘just in case’! He has also picked me up the new Tomb Raider game to ‘keep my mind off the pain.’ Then he sat with me on the couch while I played, just content to watch.” — Orleon
He accepted her for who she is.
“I was sitting in my boyfriend’s car when I was 17 and I told him all about my past and the questionable decisions I’ve made and wasn’t particularly proud of. I expected him to cut things off right there, but he looked me in the eyes and said that whatever I had done made me into the person I was now (then), and he was happy that we made it to where we were.” — Sharon*
It was accidentally true. “
We met online and lived in different states, so at first our relationship was all over the phone. One night, we were doing the dumb ‘you hang up; no, you hang up’ thing when I finally decided I really was tired and I’d hang up. So I said, ‘Fine! I’m hanging. Goodnight, I love you!’ We both gasped and I said, ‘Did I just say that out loud?’ He was laughing and asked me to say it again.” — Laure
He let her meet his parents hungover.
“We were on the train heading to his parents’ house for the day and I was incredibly—as in, ‘almost ran off the train several times thinking I was about to puke’—hungover. But we kept making stupid faces at each other for the entire trip to help me feel better and I just knew he was the one for me.” — Maggie
She was willing to share her food with him.
On our first date, we ate off each other’s dinner plates at the restaurant. This is a huge deal—I never share food with anyone but I felt so comfortable with him that I knew I was in love.” — Beth
Alcohol helped her realize the truth. “
This is going to sound bad, but the first time I told my boyfriend I loved him, I was drunk. I didn’t even realize that I actually loved him until the words came flying out of my mouth. Once I said it, I realized that I meant it with every fiber of my being.” — Sloane
Her grandma knew before she did. “
It was Thanksgiving and he was meeting my extended family for the first time. My grandma met him, looked at me, and said, ‘This is your soulmate.’ I kind of already knew that, but having her reassurance made me that much more sure.” — Natalie
He cared more about her kids than the mess. “
It was our first holiday season together. I was a single mom to a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old; he was a 32-year-old bachelor, no kids, living the geek life. He had brought some of his childhood ornaments to my house to put on our tree and we all decorated it together. The next day, I heard a crash and found my 2-year-old next to the toppled tree, decorations littering the floor. After we righted the tree, I felt a knot in my stomach as I surveyed the damage. I called him and started to explain, sure he would be livid that our hard work was ruined. He interrupted me and his voice was shaking. He asked if my kid was OK—he wasn’t worried about the ornaments, just about us.” — Libby*
He didn’t mind paying extra for guacamole.
“I had an ex that would never let me get guacamole on my Chipotle burrito bowl when he was paying because it cost extra. I would even offer the extra money and he would lecture me on why I didn’t need it. When my now-husband treated me to Chipotle the first time at the beginning of our relationship, I asked him if I could get guacamole on my burrito bowl. He replied, ‘Why would you ask me permission? You can get whatever you want.’ That’s when I knew.” — Efristau
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