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How To Tell Whether You’re ‘In Love’ Or Just Attached

Is your love real life or is it just fantasy?

Characters in romantic comedies are portrayed as relationship experts. By the end of a two-hour film, the protagonist manages to go through a slew of emotions in order to determine whether or not they are relationship ready. Meanwhile, the rest of us are having an internal Civil War between our heart and our brain.

In romantic relationships, it’s hard to determine what our true feelings are— mainly because falling in love means being vulnerable. But when we finally say the “L” word, do we really mean it, or are we just feeling a sense of attachment?

‘Hey Arnold!’

Conditional vs. Unconditional

Ask yourself this question: Do I love this person or am I in love with the idea of this person? When you’re truly in love with someone, you accept them as-is, flaws and all. Pushing these imperfections to the side is not loving them unconditionally, it’s loving them in an ideal world.

Looks vs. Soul

There’s no problem with thinking your partner is the most attractive being on this planet, but when you’re really in love, it’s as if looks don’t even matter. More than anything, you start to appreciate your partner’s demeanor and all the little things they do for you.

Selflessness vs. Selfishness

In turn, love is selfless. When you feel the urge to put the needs of your partner before your own, it’s out of love. This can be as simple as recognizing your S.O. had a bad day and needs an extra dose of TLC— even if you have a multitude of things on your to-do list.

Possession vs. Freedom

When I was younger, someone told me jealousy was just a sign someone cares. Even as a teenager, I called BS, because you should never view someone you love as a possession—they should be your equal.

At the same time, it’s easy to obsess over what your partner is doing—in a bad way. Are they cheating? Flirting with someone else? Instead of keeping a tight leash and making much ado about nothing, have faith that your partner shares your feelings of love and respect.

Time

Love has no expiration date, so there’s no need to rush anything. I know several couples who want to rush getting engaged or married, knowing full well that they’re not emotionally or financially ready for such a large commitment.

On the flip side, I’ve seen people get engaged or married to “secure” their future. Instead of treating their partner like they’re the love of their life, they treat their partner as if they’re a security blanket. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t scream “love” to me.

When you’re ready, conversations about taking your relationship to a different level will come naturally. In other words, let nature take its course.

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