What Does Love Actually Feel Like?
Love is a crazy thing, and chances are, you've spent hours upon hours pondering life questions about the feeling at one moment or another.
What does love really feel like? Was I ever in love? Am I in love now? Does love feel the same to everyone?
It's natural to wonder about the one thing that millions of people can't stop thinking about. Songs are written about it, art is done around it, and it's the glue that generally holds us all together.
I'm positive I'm in love with my husband, but I'd say my own experiences of love are unique. What I'm feeling might not necessarily be what someone else is feeling.
So that's the thing: As a general thought, what does love feel like? How will you know if you are experiencing it for the first time? Even if you think you've experienced it in the past, you may not be totally sure.
Elite Daily spoke to a few experts to get an idea of what it really feels like to be in love.
It feels unique to you.
One of the important things to remember about love is that while there are similarities in people's experiences, everyone will likely feel something unique to just them.
Relationship expert and dating guru James Preece says that we experience love uniquely, because we see the act of loving uniquely.
"Love means different things to different people [...] we also experience it in a variety of ways," says Preece.
And what some of us don't find important, others value. In other words, we experience love in interesting ways for ourselves because we choose what we do and don't focus on.
"To some, it's the feeling of excitement when you aren't together and are missing them," says Preece. "For others, it's the slightly odd feeling that makes you a bit giddy. Your heart will beat faster or you might find yourself getting jealous over silly things."
Don't worry if you don't feel exactly what someone else is feeling - love is very individualized.
It feels like a roller coaster of several different emotions.
Since we all experience love in our own way, it's also important to note that we won't just feel a singular emotion of love. If I had to pick one feeling to pin down and call "love" that I experience with my husband, I wouldn't know how to.
Turns out, I might not be the only one who feels that way. Licensed psychotherapist LeslieBeth Wish, Ed. D, author of Smart Relationships and Founder of Love Victory, underscores that love isn't just one feeling, like some might think.
"The feeling of being in love can range in intensity from exuberance to peacefulness, " says Dr. Wish.
In other words, you'll experience lots of different emotions, all wrapped up in the bigger feeling of love. It's also important to note that the feelings of love will change over time.
"These feelings can also range based on when that initial mutual feeling of love happens," says Dr. Wish. "And on how long you have been in that relationship [...] A good analogy is that mutual love is like a car with multiple speeds that range from overdrive to cruising gear, depending on the situation."
So it's not only fast and slow, as if speeds on a car. Love can feel like an array of several emotions all at once.
It feels like an intense hit of joy.
As one might expect, love fills you with intense, overwhelmingly happy emotions, leaving you feeling like one giant dose of joy just hit you straight in the brain.
"When mutual love hits you - and sometimes it really does feel like a 'wake-up call,' you can experience intense feelings of being 'struck' - in a good way - or sensations of floating or joy," says Dr. Wish.
Preece agrees, saying it can be attributed to the chemical reaction that happens in our bodies:
When you are genuinely in love, the brain gets flooded with a chemical called dopamine. This makes you focus on one person and you start to forget about looking at any else. You will be daydreaming a lot about them and will play little fantasy scenarios in your mind.
If you feel like someone just gave you a very concentrated shot of glee, you're in luck: You may be in love.
It feels peaceful as time goes on.
Despite the roller coaster of feelings you may initially have when experiencing love, over time, the thrill will shift into a sense of peacefulness.
As the love evolves, so will your emotions.
"Over time, the intensity does not disappear, but, instead, it becomes one of many mutually positive feelings," says Dr. Wish. "Long-term, mutually happy couples in love say that they feel peaceful, confident, empowered, and other positive feelings."
True love feels like a calming wave that just washes over you.
It feels all-consuming.
That feeling of love and affection directed towards one person can be so strong that it has the potential to feel like it's taking you over.
Preece says it can lead to feeling "almost obsessive."
When you're in love, you will naturally be thinking about that person a lot. You may even start to allow your personality to evolve a little bit because of them - and these changes could throw you off track. Just remember that experiencing small shifts like that are natural when you're in love.
Stef Safran, a Chicago-based matchmaker, says there are a lot of things you'll do in relation to the object of your affection:
You enjoy talking to them and look forward to telling them about the ups and downs of life. You don't mind doing things for them that you mind doing for other people. You enjoy being physically affectionate with them. You enjoy alone time and date time with them.
Just make sure you remember that you're your own person, too! Being in love is wonderful, and it can feel like it consumes you, but stay true to you, and still do what makes you happy, first and foremost. That'll make your love grow even more.
Love - overall - is pretty amazing. Whether you are newly falling or happily in love for years, treasure it.
It's one of the best feelings in life you'll experience.