Falling in love is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and scariest things you could ever do. Once you're in love with someone, it's hard to remember how you lived without them, and it can feel as if you didn’t really start “living” until the two of you met. But sometimes, when you’re caught up in the moment, it can be difficult to say whether these powerful feelings are motivated by lust or love. There are a few definitive ways to tell you’re in love with someone, and those signs can help you figure out whether this person is someone with whom you could actually build a future.
Of course, everyone experiences love in their own unique ways. Even the meaning of love can be extremely subjective. There’s no one right way or time to fall in love, but if you’re wondering how you know if you love someone, then there are some telltale signals that can tip you off. Spoiler alert: Rather than leaving you with sweaty palms and heart palpitations, being in love with someone should actually feel pleasurable and good. Here are 11 ways to know if you might be in love — not just like — with your partner, according to experts.
You Feel At Ease With Them
Being with a partner you love should feel as easy as being by yourself, and unlike in the beginning of a relationship, you should no longer feel obligated to impress or entertain them when you’re together. “Healthy, lasting love finds its own ‘cruising gear’ where you feel fulfilled, happy, positive, and sure of your choice of partner,” Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist and founder of LoveVictory.com, previously told Elite Daily. “You are actually surprised at how calm you feel. You are no longer jumping over the waves, but instead, you are wading and floating in a peaceful pool.”
You Can Always Rely On Them
Once you’ve fallen in love with that special someone, you should feel as though you can trust them with anything. “Trust creates the essential feelings of safety, security, and openness for both partners," Anita Chlipala, dating and relationships expert and licensed marriage and family therapist, previously told Elite Daily. If your partner is the first person who comes to mind when you have something to share or unload, then it may just be love you’re feeling.
You Can Be Yourself With Them
When you’re in love, you no longer worry about facing judgment or criticism. You can feel free to be exactly who you are around the person you love without having to censure yourself, as you may have when you were still getting to know each other. "'The one’ makes you feel loved and secure,” Lesli Doares, couples consultant and marriage coach at Foundations Coaching, previously told Elite Daily. “You are able to be yourself and feel accepted. They make you want to be your best self, and they bring that out in you.”
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You Can Be Vulnerable With Them
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone might sound a bit similar to being able to be yourself around them, but to Chipala, there’s a slight but very important nuance. “There might be parts of you that you keep to yourself until you’ve fallen in love,” Chipala says. “For love to thrive, you need trust and safety; when you have all of these, you can be vulnerable. You might be able to be silly with anyone, but when you’re in love, you feel safe to show your serious side.”
You’re Genuinely A Happier Person
Being in love can affect other aspects of your life in surprising ways. Love can even encourage you to have a brighter outlook on life in general. "A meaningful marker of a relationship's health is observing what it brings out in you and in your life," clinical psychologist Dr. Rebekah Montgomery previously told Elite Daily. "When we are in healthy relationships, we are often happier and healthier." If other areas of your life are flourishing, you may just be smitten.
You Can’t Stop Thinking About Them
You know you’ve got love on the brain when your SO starts living rent-free in your head. "You think about them, you worry about them, you have a physical need to be close to them, you may feel confident with them, but you may worry about the status of your relationship tremendously because it means so much to you," clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., previously told Elite Daily. And while that may sound exhausting, it’s also an exhilarating feeling to care so much.
You Want To Do Everything With Them
When you're in love, you will likely never get tired of spending time with your person. As relationship coach Kailen Rosenberg previously told Elite Daily, "There is a feeling of attachment that can come with a mild possessiveness, almost a territorial vibe. When you are in love, jealousy can erupt. You are doting and giving a lot of extra attention. They might seemingly be on your mind more often. It feels fresh, new, exciting and vulnerable." You’ll want to share every experience you have with your love, if only because they make every experience better just by being there.
You Want To Integrate Them Into Your Life
At times, thinking of making space to fit someone into your already established routine might seem challenging. But when you’re in love, you want this person to have a front row seat to it all. “From work events to friend groups, integrating your partner into your everyday life creates a sense of unity,” relationship expert Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. “Now when you mention that work friend, they know exactly who you're talking about. This creates closeness. Whether it's working out together in your local gym or introducing them to a new sport you love, incorporating your mate makes every experience richer.”
You Want To Be A Better Partner To Them
It’s natural to want to give your partner the best of everything when you’re in love, and the best version of you. You’ll likely find you’re more willing to look inward, address your problem spots, and assess how they project into your relationship. “No one is expecting perfection,” Chipala says, “but sometimes there are those relationship patterns and behaviors that have gone unaddressed for too long. Now you’re willing to take an honest look at yourself and accept responsibility and make any necessary changes.”
You See Them Fully, And Like Them Anyway
Everyone comes into relationships with baggage of some form — odd habits, past traumas, triggers, and emotional wounds. When you love someone, you’re willing to work through it together. “Loving your partner means you accept the fact that they're human, and therefore imperfect,” Winter says. “You understand that they'll make mistakes. This is different from accepting bad behavior or ignoring red flags. When you're in love, you have patience and compassion for the fragility of the human condition.” Though there will be times when your partner acts out selfishly, and times when you will, too, loving each other means you’re willing to put aside your ego and navigate relational conflicts together.
You Can See A Future With Them
Perhaps the most telling sign you’re in love with someone: You can’t imagine a future without them in it. Once you fall in love, you start to consider your person when it comes to your future plans and goals. As behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva previously explained to Elite Daily, someone you love usually feels like your “ideal partner because you already know they will complement your goals and desires and assist in fulfilling your dreams.”
Chipala adds that whether it’s considering what they want or like, or making plans with them and considering their preferences, this person has taken up permanent headspace. “You want to understand your partner on an intimate level and are open to compromising to keep things fair. Note: This doesn’t mean giving up your identity or putting your needs last all the time. It’s about making room in your mind and in your life for them and accommodating both of your preferences and needs.”
If these signs sound familiar, then congratulations, friend. You’ve officially fallen for someone.
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist and founder of LoveVictory.com
Anita Chlipala, dating and relationships expert and licensed marriage and family therapist
Lesli Doares, couples consultant and marriage coach at Foundations Coaching
Dr. Rebekah Montgomery, clinical psychologist
Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist
Kailen Rosenberg, relationship coach
Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist
Susan Winter, relationships expert and best selling author of Allowing Magnificence, Older Women/Younger Men, and Breakup Triage
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