Some say falling in love is the closest we mortals have to magic.
There's no explanation for it, no rationale for it. The idea that two human beings can confidently swear themselves to each other forever is so implausible that we can only chalk it up to other-worldly forces making it possible.
Some say falling in love is just biological, that it's what happens when clusters of pheromones collide and randomly, by the graces of science, connect two people together.
No matter where you land on the romantic/cynic spectrum, it's hard to put love into words, to pinpoint exactly what it feels like when your and your partner's heart and soul and body and mind are all in perfect agreement with each other.
But that sure as hell hasn't stopped us from trying.
Last week, in my own personal attempt to do so, I asked people to describe the exact moment they knew they were in love with their partners. The responses were uplifting, hilarious and gave us all a little hope that real, true love is out there.
Now, I've asked people to describe the qualities their partners had that made them fall in love. And the responses were just as inspiring.
"Sense of balance."
Her empathy and patience. She's incredibly sweet and understanding of so much. I also loved how we ying-yanged each other in a lot of ways (me being spontaneous and pretty ridiculous, and her being a planner and a bit more conservative).
-- Tommy, 26
I'm pretty reserved -- never the center of attention -- and he is the exact opposite of me. He's so outgoing. Since high school, he was always the leader of his group. He always wants to be doing what no one else is doing, and he always seems so confident. I'm normally pretty good at playing the whole "hard to get" act, but he made it seem like getting his attention was the challenge, which was never the case with other boys I dated; he was the first person to challenge me.
-- Leah, 21
Control, stability, serenity -- everything I am not. I think it is important for relationships to have a sense of balance. Otherwise, I feel competitive toward my own partner. When I look back on my true love, which was, indeed, my first, it worked because he was my opposite. I am a loud, over-the-top kind of guy. I look for someone who takes me down a notch.
-- Jimmy, 27
He makes me silly. I tend to be a pretty tight-laced person with a sarcastic sense of humor, not goofy by any means. But he never fails to make me laugh and make me feel incredibly loved. He is the kindest man I have ever met, and every day I feel amazingly lucky.
-- Maggie, 22
I fell in love with his sense of humor, willingness to take on any challenge, kindness and intelligence. His viewpoint is always different than my own, so I'm always learning.
-- Alex*, 23
"It wasn't about the qualities."
For me, it wasn't about the qualities my partner had. It was just the visceral feeling gradually increasing after spending more time together. I could list qualities of my partner that I like, but they didn't make me fall in love with her. The totality of "her" (which I guess you could say is all of her qualities combined) was what I fell in love with.
-- Blake, 34
It's hard to describe certain "qualities." We were best friends before we had started dating. He made me want to be a better person, a better me. I really was my best self whenever I was with him. Though it didn't end the way I wanted it to, he will always have a special place in my heart.
-- Jackie, 20
He was charming and funny. The kind of guy everyone wanted to be around, but all he wanted to do was be with me. I loved the way he looked at me, like I was the only thing that mattered. Even in the middle of a crowded room, he would always look for me.
-- Harrie, 24
"Sense of humor."
Depth, sense of humor, quirkiness.
-- Marissa*, 22
He was extremely funny. Our sense of humor was the same. And he was thoughtful, very sweet. We just clicked.
-- Lola*, 23
I like that he was patient with me and could constantly keep me entertained by his interesting commentary and humor.
-- Kelley, 24
A good sense of humor, yet knowing when to be there for you when something serious happens. Oh, and a smile that you continuously wish to see on her face.
-- Jordy, 23
I think one of the biggest things is that he's incredibly goofy, and he doesn't hide it. He also loves to learn and is always reading the news or a book to find new things to store in his ridiculously impressive memory.
-- Emily, 22
He's hysterical. When I'm crying, he makes me laugh with just one word. He's never afraid to try new things and is the most outgoing person I've ever met. He doesn't care what anyone thinks, and he's always there when I need him. I can feel that he loves and cares about me every single day.
-- Danielle*, 21
Knowing that he could take a joke and the relentless barrage of horrific insults that I consider flirting. He's cute and he smiles and he is nurturing.
-- Nina*, 26
Sense of humor, loyalty, innocence.
-- Brie*, 21
I love that he is smart (science nerd), incredibly artistic muscially. He is also extremely driven, and that's a big deal for me because I need someone who will grow WITH me and not someone I'll leave in the dust.
-- Felicia*, 24.
He's sweet, caring, super funny, and his ice-blue eyes literally make me melt. He's also extremely driven. He wants to succeed at achieving his personal goals and also motivates me to complete mine. We are the ultimate power couple.
-- Tina, 23
Brandon is very loving and genuine. It is crazy to me that he almost knows me better than I know myself. I don't even have to say anything, and he knows exactly how I am feeling at any given time. He is also extremely self-motivated and driven. It is a turn-on to me knowing he is always trying to better himself now to create his future success. I love that by doing that, he is also able to motivate me to want to better myself as well.
-- Rachel, 21
She's loyal, unconditionally loving, puts everyone else's needs before her own. She's not the type of person to order a salad and only have two bites of it. She's just the most selfless person I know. Oh, and she rips some danky mean farts.
-- Chris, 26
Because his ultimate goal was to make me happy.
Wildly opinionated, super attractive, hyper-confident, strong and secure.
-- Zara, 29
Loyal. Dependable. Funny. Planner. Caring. Strong, both emotionally and physically. Unflappable. Protective.
-- Blair, 28
He has a big heart without being sensitive. He's incredibly intelligent, but knows just the right amount to goon out. But above all, getting him mad is close to impossible. I definitely have my sassy side, so being with someone who holds his cool no matter the situation is the most attractive quality I've ever experienced with another human.
-- Joana, 25
"Willingness to be vulnerable."
He is beyond dedicated. He's such a "manly man," but seeing him breakdown his walls and be soft with me -- it's amazing.
-- Mac, 20
Patient, loving, gentle, kind, a willingness to be open to me and a willingness to be vulnerable.
-- Camille, 23
His dedication to doing what he loved, his lightheartedness and ability to see the good in life even in the worst situations and, of course, his passion in between the sheets
-- Sheena, 25
Responsible, smart, generous, sweet, kind, handsome.
-- Eduardo, 27
His harsh honesty, his huge butt, his laugh, his kindness, and his love.
-- Theresa, 20
Passionate, our physical chemistry, stubborn, blunt, tender, didn't put up with my bullsh*t, challenged me, scared me (in a good way, like made my stomach flip), saw me, deep, intense, serious, imperfect, charming, argumentative, protective, loyal.
-- Noa*, 25
She was very sexy, really energetic, enthusiastic and very sharp.
-- Sandy*, 19
She is everything. She redefined the qualities I looked for in women. She is one in a million. She is caring, smart, open, mature, motherly, cultured, lovely.
-- Aristotle, 20
*Name has been changed.