What’s love and how do you know when you’re “in it” — for real? When does “like” turn into love and how do I know if what I’m feeling is real or just something I’m caught up in at the moment?
You cannot truly “love” a person whom you do not “like.” If the absence of this person would cause you to be completely unhappy and not just temporarily sad you are probably experienceing more of an addiction than a true love. Pining after someone is not love. Admiring, respecting, and wanting the very best for them is. Intimate love enjoys chemistry; however, it is driven by deep attachment and commitment.
In lasting love, each partner has taken great care to satisfy each other’s needs and regard the other as his/her most valued prize – held in high esteem and gratitude. There is a great sense of security and freedom in this form of love which comes with time. Statistically, lasting love has a greater chance in marriage than in cohabitation. It all starts by knowing that you are worth it.
Love is conscious; it’s intentional. Love can be defined as an attraction, by both partners, to each other, for their attributes contributed to the relationship. Real love is a choice, a decision. Real love has shared values, friendship, trust and willingness to fulfill the needs of the other.
It is a deliberate choice to commit to someone because you can’t imagine being with anyone else. The passage of time is a great test of true love. Moments come and go quickly, just like lust. But love becomes richer over time. Certainly, every relationship has its challenges, but couples in love are willing to do what it takes to weather those storms because they know and prefer conflict to be temporary. So take your time, and let time pass. Feelings of love will evolve and change, but the comfort, pleasure and fulfillment of togetherness—if your love is true—will endure.
When does “like” become “love”? When you are both satisfied that the balance of desire and ability in your relationship will work long term. This usually takes several years and much personal growth (though “desire” will probably exist sooner!).