Being young and single is great, don't get me wrong. However, as you get older, it can be harder to deny that the “lather, rinse, repeat” nature of being single doesn't get... well, old. And when it does, you're bound to start looking for something deeper. You finally set out to find love, and while you may wonder, “Is she the one?” or “Is he the one?” about more than one suitor, chances are you’ll know it when you find it. I can’t say for sure how to know if she’s the one or he’s the one, but when you find love, certain signs tend to present themselves to you.
As author and relationship expert Susan Winter previously told Elite Daily, many people confuse affection for love when it isn’t quite the same thing. “It's easy to 'love' someone. We overuse the word love, just like we overuse the word 'friend,’” she said. “This term has been so watered down that most people with a fondness for someone are certain they love him or her.” When you find true love with someone, your feelings for them go far beyond affection, and if you’re not sure how to know she’s the one or he’s the one, then look out for these signs.
You Don’t Have Awkward Silences
Step one in finding the right person is finding someone with whom you thrive from a conversational standpoint. Step two — which is always more difficult — is finding someone with whom you can thrive in silence, too. When you can appreciate a quiet moment with someone without the urge to flood the air with conversational filler, it's never awkward. In fact, it's the ultimate comfort, because when you’re in love with someone, moments of silence are never truly silent.
“Relationships are awkward in the beginning because your brain is on high alert. Its job is to determine if this is someone you want to risk falling in love with,” Dawn Maslar, a biologist who specializes in love, previously explained to Bustle. “Once you fall in love, parts of your brain deactivate and the awkwardness goes away.”
You Don’t Mind Conceding Sometimes
Being in love doesn’t mean you never argue. Loving someone means wanting what’s best for them and for your relationship, and sometimes, conflict is the only way to achieve results. However, when it's real, arguments usually won’t last. You could be bickering over where to get takeout, and before long, you'll realize that getting your way is no longer a priority for you. Loving someone means conceding at times and not minding, because you know compromise is all part of a successful relationship.
"Healthy compromise is part of growing together to achieve a common goal,” Susan Ball, self-love activist and women’s freedom coach, previously told Elite Daily. “Healthy compromise does not have a winner or a loser ... It is really about how can we make this work so we are both feel happy and fulfilled."
You Don’t Look For Apologies
Love is quite ironic. When you’re in a relationship with The One, you'll probably be eager to apologize, even when you feel like you’re in the right, but you may not always expect apologies in return... at least, when it comes to trivial matters. Despite what some people may think, love doesn’t mean never saying sorry, but love can mean letting go of grudges if necessary, because you know resentment only hurts your relationship. Of course, apologies will — and should — always be welcomed, but they should never be necessary.
“In love means that you've weathered the storms of your partner's negative qualities, and still choose to remain in the relationship," Winter previously explained. "Your love is unconditional. It's all-inclusive as you accept the positive and the negative aspects of your mate."
You Can’t Stop Thinking About Them
Once you find real love, everything will remind you of them. You could be watching Roger Federer serve during a tennis match, and suddenly bam! You’re thinking about them, simply because Fed is from Switzerland, and you know how much your boo loves Swiss chocolate. If the person you’re seeing is living rent-free in your head, then chances are you’ve got it bad for them, especially if you feel like every experience would be made better if only they were there with you.
As clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., previously told Elite Daily, when you’re in love with someone, "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.”
You Want To Spend All Your Time Together
You could be the most asocial, introverted, anti-people-person on the face of the planet, but that tends to go out the window once you find someone you love. The solo nights you once cherished — for the sole fact that you were alone, away from all forms of human life — will eventually assume the form of date nights with them, and you won’t mind it. While space in a relationship is healthy and sometimes necessary, you may find you don’t cherish your “me time” as much as you do your “we time” once you fall in love.
"'The one' makes you feel loved and secure," Lesli Doares, couples consultant and marriage coach at Foundations Coaching, previously told Elite Daily, adding, “There will be a feeling of comfort, like you fit together. You can be yourself without fear of rejection or criticism. No aspect of their life will be separate from you.”
You’re Willing To Put Them First At Times
Relationships built on love require some sacrifices, and when it's real, you won't even mind making them. And while you shouldn’t be letting go of your core values or passions to make your relationship work, you should be willing to skip the annual NBA Dunk Contest if Valentine’s Day falls on All Star Weekend so you can take your lover out to dinner instead. Loving someone means you won’t always get to follow your whims, and you’re more than OK with that.
"Loving someone becomes evident when our actions in a relationship supersede our emotions, meaning, even if I don't feel 'in love' I will choose you, what is best for you, and what is best for us,” relationship specialist Jen Elmquist, MA, LMFT, previously explained.
You Miss Them When You’re Not Together
Again, while needing and wanting time away from your SO is totally normal, you’ll find that you get more joy being with your partner than away from them when you’re loved up. When you find the right person, you'll miss them as soon as you say goodbye, and you'll constantly be looking ahead to the next time you can be together. But it’s important to note there’s a difference between love and attachment, and it comes down to the quality of the connection you have.
According to sex therapist and sexuality educator Kristen Lilla, “Being in love means there is a connection while being attached implies dependency. I think it is important to ask yourself the question, ‘Do I have to be with this person, or do I get to be with this person?’ If you feel like you have to be in a relationship, perhaps it is out of an attachment issue, but if you feel like you get to be with someone, and it is a privilege, you may be in love.”
If these signs sound familiar, then congratulations are in order: You are experiencing the privilege of being in love, my friend. Enjoy every minute of it.
Susan Winter, author and relationship expert
Dawn Maslar, biologist who specializes in love
Susan Ball, self-love activist and women’s freedom coach
Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist
Lesli Doares, couples consultant and marriage coach at Foundations Coaching
Jen Elmquist, MA, LMFT, relationship specialist
Kristen Lilla, sex therapist and sexuality educator
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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