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How Do You Know When You’re in Love?

A woman who was wondering how do you know when you're in love, gasping while her boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes.

You’ve been dating someone for quite some time and things just feel different with this one. Your conversations go deeper, you can be yourself around them, and you find yourself smiling in the middle of the day just thinking about the next time you’ll meet. But is it the big L-O-V-E?

If you’ve never been in love before, it can be hard to know what you’re feeling for someone. Oftentimes, love starts as affection and grows, others times it’s intense and passionate then morphs into something more comfortable and calming. There are as many ways to love and kinds of love as there are people to love in this world, and no two people experience it in quite the same way. But if you have strong feelings for someone and you’re not sure if it’s love, lust, or something else there are a few common signs (some might even call them symptoms) to look out for.

If you’re not sure if you’re in love, here are a few signs that may give you a clue:

You’re relaxed around them.
If you aren’t in the back of your mind thinking about if they will like this or that, it’s a sign that you’re past the crush stage and onto something more. “When you love someone you aren’t stressing about what you’re going to wear, or how your hair looks,” says Lindsay van Clief, a certified relationship and sex educator. “You’re comfortable just being present and focusing on the now. You’re not worried about impressing or disappointing the other.”

They’re the first person you want to call.
When something good happens in your life or, perhaps even more importantly, when something bad happens to you, your partner is the first person you want to call “They are important to you, you trust them, and you need their support and for them to be part of your life,” says Clief. “This is a sign of love and a strong relationship.”

You want to spend more time together.
When being around someone simply makes you feel good and you find yourself drawn to them more and more, it could be a sign that you’re feeling the love.

“The more time you spend with someone, the more you’re getting to know who the person is,” says Brittany Freeman Jean-Louis, a professional counselor. “The more you get to know the person, the more you start to find out how compatible you are with the person.”

You’re vulnerable with them.
“When you start to become emotionally intimate with your partner, you share things that perhaps no one else knows about or things that you feel comfortable with sharing because you have gained a mutual trust for each other,” says Jean-Louis.

You feel at home with them.
“When you get home after a stressful day you relax when you see your partner,” says Clief. “Of course, you won’t feel this way 100% of the time. But if you feel the safety and comfort of being home when you’re with the other person, then it means you’ve achieved a certain connection.”

You stop working on backup plans.
While dating, it’s natural to want to want to keep your options open and have a safety net of backup dates in case something doesn’t work out. But as you start to trust one another more and feel more comfortable and secure with your partner, the idea of a backup plan starts to fall away. When you love someone, the idea of being with anyone else becomes a fleeting thought.

They’re your person.
“You know when you go to the doctor’s office and you have to fill in the space that says emergency contact? If you want to put the person you’re with in that space, it’s a good sign. When you’re in love, they’re the first person you want to contact when something good or bad happens,” says professional matchmaker, Joann Cohen.

You’re willing to sacrifice for them.
If you’re willing to sacrifice what you want for someone else that’s the most prevalent sign of love. “Love means being selfless because someone is more important to you than you. So if you find that you’re okay with compromising to see another person happy, you’re in love,” says Cohen.

They have their not-so-sexy moments and you still find them attractive.
Since attraction runs more than skin deep, when you’re in love you find what’s inside and their essence attractive, even if what’s on the outside gets a little messy at times. “If someone looks repulsive to you and you still want to lay on their chest and fall asleep, that’s a pretty big sign you’re in love,” says Cohen.

When someone says something bad about them you’re ready to fight.
“When you’re in love with someone you’ll defend them no matter what,” says Cohen. “It’s like when you have a relative and you can say negative things about them, but when someone else says something it’s super offensive. Love makes you want to protect someone.”

Love isn’t the same for everyone, and it can feel different in every relationship too, but if you’re showing all of these signs, you’ve definitely got deep feelings for the person you’re with and it could be those feelings are love.

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