How to *really* know you’re in love

Kris Gage
Kris Gage
Aug 3, 2017 · 4 min read

Because most of “the signs” they tell you are garbage

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If you try to Google “how to know you’re in love,” you’re gonna have a bad time

Because it’s mostly shit advice.

Here’s a small sampling:

This is infatuation.

If someone’s “always” on your mind, you’re not focused on other Really Important Things. And that’s a problem.

Real love fits into real life, rather than usurping it. It’s calm, not overwhelming.

See above.

Ditto.

“When I imagined my future job/location/adopted dog, they were always in the background of my imagination helping me out with whatever I was doing. My future just didn’t really make sense without them around.”

Well, I mean, damn. You fantasize long and hard enough, you can see anything in your future — like I could imagine moving to Switzerland to be a goat farmer. That doesn’t mean I should.

The problem is that we’ve made “love” into a game of escapism, and measure potential partners by how they fit into that fantasy. That’s not love.

So, sure, see them in your future — but not because they “complete the picture.”

See above.

Ha. Hahaha. Clearly you have never been in a (healthy) long-term relationship.

You should usually want to see bae. But love isn’t always wanting to. Sometimes you need a minute. Sometimes you need to work or do other things. Or, damn, just be.

Don’t think it’s not love just because sometimes you want space.

Well. That’s scary.

Y u tryin so hard? Loving isn’t “impressing.”

“Of losing her, of never being with another woman… the list goes on.”

Healthy love doesn’t involve fear of loss. That’s attachment.

It also doesn’t involve fear of “never being with another woman.” I don’t even know what that is. Low self esteem? Lack of conviction?

This is attachment again, not mature love.

This is self-love, not love. (Also: you’re an idiot.)

Well. Glad you’re getting your emotional needs met.

But this just means that they are deserving of love. It doesn’t mean that you are loving them.

Well. Thanks for the most unhelpful advice ever.

To everyone who’s ever said this: y tho? pls stahp.

Don’t perpetuate nonsense and call it “romance” just because you don’t have suitable answers.

Tread lightly with:

“Seeing my girlfriend is always the highlight of my day.”

The difference here is probably what the rest of your day looks like.

Good: If you’re happy with your life and your partner adds to it, then congrats. You win.

Bad: If you’re unhappy and using your partner as an oasis, then you need to get your shit together.

Good: you actually care about their wants and needs, and prioritize them in a way that doesn’t tear you down

Bad: you compromise your own wants and needs, or base your value on your ability to “keep them happy.”

How to know you LIKE them as a person:

Rad for them

Congrats, there may be hope for you yet.

Great. I want happiness for most people.

You found someone with whom you’re comfortable, and whose company you enjoy. Good on you.

Role models have that effect on us, too. That doesn’t mean we love them.

How to know you LOVE them:

You don’t feel love. You DO it. It’s an act, not a feeling. It’s a moment by moment decision and re-commitment. You know because it’s deliberate and conscious.

You invest. You exert effort.

You don’t knowingly do harm. You aren’t vengeful, petty, manipulative, or jealous. Their needs never seem irritating. You aren’t grabby with them, their time, or their affection in return. You are secure without demanding constant reassurance.

You prioritize their viewpoints. You learn their love language. You think in terms of their interests, not yours, and their needs are your own. You support them. You back them. You care and take care. You accept, and you allow.

Because everyone thinks they’re in love when it’s clear skies and calm waters, but watch them when the storm hits.

You know because you love even when you’re pissed. It’s love if you don’t “fight;” you disagree.

You love if your objective is reaching an agreement, not picking a winner.

You love if you don’t get defensive, insecure, or manipulative. If you don’t keep score. If you don’t hold grudges. If you don’t “take back your love” as punishment.

You love if you seek to understand before being understood; listen and honor what they share — and you don’t double down with your own issues. If you act like you’re on the same team. You listen. You compromise. You apologize. You forgive.

You know because you love even when you’re hurt. Especially honoring and respecting their wants and needs even when they include “breaking up.”

What we should really be Googling is “how to love,” not “how to ‘know’ we’re in love.”

We like to differentiate between “being in love with” and “loving” someone. But “being in love with” is infatuation, and infatuation means nothing in getting real love.

So if what you want is real love, then “how to” is all that matters.

You “know” because you decide. It’s love when you do it. All the time.

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