10 Things You Experience When You’re Truly In Love

You may think you’ve been in love before, but have you really? There are plenty of feelings (and hormones!) that masquerade as love when they’re really anything but. Want to know if what you’ve got is legit? Here’s what the experience of truly being head over heels with someone for real is really like.

  1. It means acceptance. When you love someone, you accept them as they are. You don’t even dare to try to change them because you don’t want to change them. You love their quirks, which are likely to become annoying in time, but it’s that annoyance you sign up for when you fall in love. You enjoy the annoyance and find charm in all those ridiculous idiosyncrasies—the stuff that makes your friends roll their eyes.
  2. It means selflessness. While there is a middle ground between selfishness and selflessness, when you’re in love, you lean far more toward selflessness when it comes to the person you love. While this doesn’t mean you ignore your wants and needs, which you should never do in a relationship, it does mean that when it comes to your partner, you’re selfless in your behavior and approach, meaning you take into consideration how what you do and say will affect them.
  3. It means giving your partner space. Something that echoes a similar sentiment to selflessness in its own way is stepping back and allowing your partner to grow. Even if you’re one of those people who wants to be with your partner 24/7, all people need alone time and space to gather their thoughts, read, travel alone, or even just sit in silence.
  4. It means taking the good with the bad. No one is perfect and if you actually did meet someone who was perfect, there’s a very good chance you’d be bored in no time. When you’re in love, you take all the good knowing full well that the good stuff can’t exist without the bad stuff. This isn’t just a reality about relationships but the reality of life too.
  5. It means willing to compromise. If you love someone, you want to meet them in the middle. While there may be cases where you’re on one side of the spectrum and they’re on the other, love means finding a middle ground, which is just another word for compromise.
  6. It means apologizing. Being in love means when you eff up you apologize. You take responsibility for what you did and in turn, when your partner messes up and apologizes to you, you accept that apology.
  7. It means making sacrifices. Am I suggesting you need offer up your liver to your partner? No, not at all, but still being in love means sacrifices should follow. If there’s one slice of pizza left and both you and your partner want it? When you love someone, you give that last slice to them no matter what. In fact, when you’re really in love, as in still in that honeymoon phase, there’s actually a very strong possibility that you won’t even think about claiming that pizza as yours. In your mind, the last slice belongs to the person you love.
  8. It means honesty. Sometimes the truth hurts but so does love. When you love someone, you tell them the truth. It doesn’t matter if that truth might break your relationship, like an affair, or if it’s something smaller like maybe your partner’s attempt at confit de canard doesn’t taste exactly as Julia Child intended. Once you tell one lie, lies become easier and easier to tell. Keeping it honest from the get-go can help avoid issues later. Being honest is also a sign of respect.
  9. It means trust. If you’re someone whose trust has been broken even once, learning to trust again can feel impossible. But when we fall in love, we take a risk. In fact, we take many risks and one of those risks is putting ourselves out there and trying to trust again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
  10. It means emotional support. Listen, we all have our dreams and goals and no one ever said that these things have to be 100 percent realistic. When you love someone, you give them the emotional support they need to either wholeheartedly pursue those dreams or at least dip their toes in the water of those dreams. Giving someone emotional support means also giving them hope and we all need hope.
  11. It means arguing. Couples argue, especially the couples that care about each other and about the relationship. It’s healthy to argue fairly regularly because without it, things get pent up and then there’s an explosion. When couples explode at each other, far too many hurtful and even cruel things can be said. This is something you want to avoid.
  12. It means reaching a resolution. Not only does being in love mean reaching a resolution, it means wanting to reach a resolution. It doesn’t matter how big or small the argument was, being in love means wanting to work things out, talk things through, hear and understand both sides, and reach a resolution. Ultimately, being in love means never going to bed angry and realizing it takes a lot of work.

Things couples that are truly in love do for each other

  1. Get excited about future plans The future can be a scary place, full of uncertainty and insecurity. But when you’re in love, you look forward to what’s coming, and you want to grow together. That means something different to everyone – getting engaged, getting married, moving in together, having a baby, going on the vacation of a lifetime, going into business together. The possibilities are endless. How awful would it be if you told your BF that you just booked an awesome trip to the south of France and he yawned in response? You need to share a sense of excitement for all the good stuff that is in store for both of you.
  2. Become involved in the family drama Let’s face it: no family is perfect, and every family has some sort of drama going on at one time or another. You may try to hide it but you can’t hide it from your significant other. At first, you’re just trying really hard so his mom doesn’t hate you, but once you settle into the relationship you’ll let your guard down. Knowing each other’s fams is a big part of a real partnership. If you actually care about the outcome of your boyfriend’s latest family feud, then congrats. You guys are definitely in love. You get bonus points if you call his aunt or cousin to gossip. You might as well start planning your wedding right now.
  3. Help the other person follow their dreams Not to get all cheesy (okay, this is definitely going to be cheesy) but it’s a beautiful thing when you have a dream and your partner gives you advice and wants nothing more than for you to achieve everything that you want. You guys support each other and figure out a way to make it work. You never, ever complain that the other person has to work on Friday night when you’re dying to try that new bar down the street. You know that’s the price you pay sometimes.
  4. Watch their partner’s fave shows True love is finding someone who is willing to sit through five seasons of Friday Night Lights with you because you haven’t seen it yet and are harboring a bit of a crush on Tim Riggins. And they’ll be okay with that too because you just can’t help it. You’ll have to watch a lot of sports or action movies in return but you’ll gladly do so.
  5. Talk about emotions Sure, guys have a bit of a rep for not sharing how they feel. But if they love you, they’re going to tell you how they feel, both about you and about everything else in their lives. You laugh at people who think that guys hate to talk because your boyfriend can’t shut up about that annoying coworker he has.
  6. Get equally domestic The 1950s called and they’re super impressed that your guy cooks dinner a lot of the time. You both know that cooking is not a gendered activity and so you both contribute. That goes for cleaning and laundry and all that good stuff, too. Any guy who is super lazy and refuses to cook or clean is a total loser. He’s looking for a maid, not a serious girlfriend.
  7. Attend super boring events It’s a requirement of being part of a committed couple that you have to go to parties or events when you would rather go to the dentist. Every day. For a year. They’ll grin and bear it when your aunt throws yet another New Year’s Eve Party where your eccentric relatives are drunk by 8 p.m. and there’s no one to talk to. You’ll go to all the weddings they’re invited to even though your deepest secret is that you hate attending those things. It’s just the way it goes. You love each other, so you show up.
  8. Get on board immediately It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life. Whether you’re dealing with a personal health crisis or a family member is sick or you just got fired, your partner is there from the beginning. They never flake on you. They’re just totally present for everything. Of course, you offer them the same in return.
  9. Give gifts Just Because We’re not talking cars or vacation homes or anything over the top. It’s more about the little things. Nothing says “I love you” more than getting your fave chocolate bar or take-out pizza. You don’t even have to ask. They just know you’re having a craving.
  10. Have productive fights Let’s face it – your relationship is not going to be smooth sailing every single day. You are going to argue from time to time. But it’s a sure sign that you’re really in love if you can fight in a productive way and figure out what you really want to say. If you can do that and not let any disagreements derail your romance, then you’re truly made for each other.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.