Love: An elusive feeling that is both different and the same each time you experience it. There are no universal rules for when and how love chooses to find you in your life, or how you find a way to express it. There are, however, some acts of service or admiration that are totally reserved as signs you're in love with your partner.
When you're in love, it's more than thinking about your partner each morning when you wake up. That's an important part of it, sure, but love is also enacted through the small actions that you give another person. Love manifests in its strongest form when people are at their least flattering, their most stressed-out, and their most vulnerable. Because if what you're feeling isn't real, those are the times when it's going to flee.
If you have done one of the following acts of service for your partner and haven't wound up resenting them, then you know your love is real. And if they would return any of these favors without question, then I suspect your love is built to last:
1. Give Them Rides At Inconvenient Times
I don't know about you, but if I am going out of my way to drive a person somewhere, they either better a) be my close friend whom I love and feel emotionally indebted to, b) be going to the hospital, or c) be somebody with whom I am so madly in love that inconveniencing myself doesn't actually feel like an inconvenience, because that's how much I care for them. I can't think of any other circumstances. Maybe if the apocalypse happened and we were all fleeing the city together anyway.
If I am in love with you, my car is your car. If you sleep over on Sunday, I will get up early on Monday morning and drive you back to your house so you have time to get ready for work. I will even make us coffee and put it in travel cups for you.
I don't even need to know I am in love to do this act of service. But I do know this: There are only two things that can actually make me get out of bed before 7:30 a.m. If there isn't a fire, then by process of elimination, I'm in love.
2. Inspect Their Weird Skin Ailments
For some reason, when you're in love, you aren't grossed out by, say, yeast erupting on your lover's shoulders or a zit popping up on their buttcheek. “Does this look like an ingrown hair or a pimple?” they will ask you, leaning forward and parting their dandruff-spangled scalp. And you will look. And you won't flinch. Depending on your boundaries, you might even squeeze it for them. Afterward, you will still have sex probably.
That's what happens when you are close to someone else's body. The boundaries between you blur. Your lover's flesh-prison doesn't feel so far away from your own. In fact, it might even feel like an extension, depending on how closely you are entwined together.
If your partner has done something gross in front of you, and you don't feel like shoving them as far away from you as possible, then you either have a very high resilience for body stuff or you are in love. I'm betting on the latter.
3. Be Their Drool Pillow
You know how it goes: You've been seeing someone for a while, and you head over to their place to Netflix and chill — meaning, actually watch a movie and cuddle. It's Friday. You've been working all week, and you're exhausted. As soon as you finish your takeout Indian, you lay your head on their chest, and your full stomach lulls you off to sleep.
When you wake up two hours later, there's a lake of drool spreading across the chest of their shirt. You sit up and wipe your face. They know you've been seeping spit out of your mouth. I mean, it was getting damp down there. But they just laugh and change their shirt.
What? Why aren't they dumping you right now for being a human who fell asleep with her mouth open?
Then, the next week, they do the same thing to you. And you know why you don't mind. It's because you love them so much that you would rather let them sleep and drool all over you then disturb them. That, to me, is what true love really means.
4. Admire Their Bad Selfies
Do you know this phenomenon of people sending selfies too soon? I mean, I will be exchanging texts with someone whom I have never met in person before, and suddenly, I'll get a picture of their face, lying in bed, and usually at a bad angle. My friend even told me about one dude who sent her a “severely angled” selfie of himself holding a bouquet of flowers, signaling that he was on his way to pick her up. She ghosted him.
I admit that whenever I get a selfie from a pretty lady, I get this fluttery feeling in my tummy, which usually means I love her or am crushing hard, at the very least. I don't get that feeling with selfies from men. Usually, I just want to teach them how to know their angles.
If I get a poorly angled selfie from someone, I know I love them because I still admire their face. I don't care whether their neck is rippled with folds from holding their phone beneath their chin. (Side note: Why do boys do that to themselves?) I'm still happy to see their face appear.
That's why there should be a rule where you don't exchange selfies until you've told one another how you feel. A selfie too soon can honestly make or break a relationship.
5. Help Them Move
There is nothing to gain from assisting someone with moving. It's hot, it hurts your back, and it's stressful. You are both going to end up smelling, and you will probably have at least one stupid fight about how to properly angle a dresser to fit through a doorway. If you are willing to help someone move, then it can only be because you love them, and you think they are worth spending an entire day in discomfort.
If your partner asks you to help them move and you answer, “Sure no problem,” then forget about anything else — you are in love. Short of being a masochist, there's just no other way that you could be convinced of engaging in such a selfless act of service.
Obviously, these five things are not the only proof that you can be in love. There are exceptions to every rule. Chances are, if you have reached this level, then you know you've been in love for quite a while. And if you're not there yet, at least now you know there is a drool-sodden shirt out there you can aspire to.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!