Young couple laughing showing what is true love

People have long debated the idea of true love. What is true love? Does true love really exist? And can true love last forever? Romantics say yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and your soulmate is out there waiting to be found. Others are more cynical and don’t believe it’s possible. 

We get where they’re coming from; there are 7.8 billion people on the planet, and the idea that you can find someone who checks every single one of your boxes—and will continue to do so for the rest of your life—is a tall order. Is it possible that your perfect match is really out there? Does the mushy love we see in romantic comedies actually exist in real life? Can you actually experience true love with another person?

Couples who have been together for a long time like to say, “when you know, you know.” They’re suggesting that when you’ve found true love, you don’t question it—you either know it’s true in your gut, or you haven’t found it yet. The phrase is a cliché, but as cheesy as it may sound, we agree.

Not only have we experienced true love ourselves, but we’ve seen it grow and blossom between many other couples, too. But only you can decide if you think true love exists or not. To figure out if you’ve found true love, let’s talk about what it actually means.

What Is True Love?

When you love someone, it’s easy to be with them. You get along, you’re comfortable, you’re compatible, and you’re happy; when you’re with them, you feel at home. That’s not to say you’ll never experience hard times together, because you will. Relationships are hard work and require constant care and attention to thrive.

But when you’ve found your true love, it’s easy to choose to be with them, fight for them, and fight for your relationship. What is true love? It’s feeling complete with someone and knowing that they love you just as deeply in return. Just talking about it makes us feel weak in the knees!

The Definition of True Love

As John Legend sings, “You’re my end and my beginning / Even when I lose I’m winning / ‘Cause I give you all of me / And you give me all of you.” That’s what true love is: trusting someone with your heart while knowing that they’re trusting you with theirs. 

True love is knowing you’re both going to choose to be present in your relationship, every single day. It means knowing you’re going to love someone unconditionally and feel unconditionally loved by someone. And it means prioritizing your partner’s needs, sometimes above your own. Some characteristics of true love include letting go of expectations, fear and jealousy, which comes naturally in a loving relationship. 

As Krystine Batch, writes in Psychology Today, research suggests there’s a universally shared idea of what it means to feel loved. These things include spending quality time together, offering support during difficult times, and forgiving (and being forgiven) when your partner messes up. Alternatively, people generally agree that they don’t feel loved when their partner exhibits behaviors that are controlling or possessive.

The more closely your definition of love lines up with your partner’s, the greater chance you have of experiencing true love.

Does True Love Last Forever?

The scary thing about true love is that it’s not guaranteed to last forever. This is why many people don’t allow themselves to get close to others and fall in love in the first place. Some couples meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. But sometimes, things beyond our control end relationships or break people apart. 

Remember how we said that true love means prioritizing your partner’s needs, sometimes above your own? That includes letting them go, if it’s what they need. We can’t promise that the true love you feel in this moment will last forever, but we can promise that you’ll always appreciate it and never forget it.

If you ask a couple why they truly love each other, after listing a few reasons, they’ll probably say something like, “I don’t know. I just love them. I can’t explain it.” There’s an X factor, a je ne sais quoi, about finding true love that you can’t quite describe. So, if you’re still wondering, what is true love? then you probably haven’t experienced it. But don’t despair!

Keep putting your heart out there and looking for it, because once you find true love, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Elizabeth Entenman

Freelance Writer

Elizabeth is a freelance writer, editor, and advertising copywriter in Brooklyn. Right now, she’s probably somewhere Instagramming her dogs.