I've grown up on rom-coms, but I'm not so sure true love is like what I've seen in the movies. For one thing, it happens in 3D, and movies are (mostly in 2D). For another thing, it lasts longer than two hours, and movies almost never do that! So, if movies aren't a perfect depiction, then what does true love feel like? I spoke with several women who've been there — the ups, the downs, the sleeplessness, the passion — and they shared their stories about that thing 50 First Dates makes a valiant effort to describe.
True love is different for everyone, and there's no single way to tell. If you feel like you're in love, then that's all you need to know. Still, hearing the stories of others in love can help you to understand your own feelings. I've been in love before, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, I notice it not because of what I do feel, but because of what I don't feel — fear, insecurity, anxiety. No matter what form love takes for you, your heart may warm when you hear about the stories of others who've had it for themselves.
Read on to find eight touching stories of what real true love feels like.
1. Good Drama
I guess I think it’s true love because of how happy I am when I’m with him or when I remember things he’s said or some small, kind gesture. Also, we rarely have drama, and when we do, we fight clean and calm. I never feel like I have to win him over, which is something I felt constantly in my past two relationships. Like, I’m not fighting to keep him. And Taylor Swift's 'You Are In Love' guts me every time, no matter how many times I've heard it.
— Adrienne, 21
2. Home Is Where The Heart Is
About a year ago, I had dinner with a woman that I met online, and we had this insane chemistry right off the bat. I'm not generally a believer in 'love at first sight,' but I have no other way to explain the magnetic attraction that we both immediately felt. We live across the country from each other and text every day and get to see each other a few times a year. Whenever we see each other, we both feel like we're home. To me, this is what true love is — feeling like home is being in the arms of the one you love, regardless of where you happen to rest your head at night.
— Steve, 41
3. A Shared Sobriety
I’m head over heels in love with my partner. He and I are both sober, so we connect on a deeper level than I’ve ever experienced in any other relationship. Our shared recovery creates an honest space for us to communicate effectively.
— Tawny, 33
4. Stopping The Fantasies
True love for me means I stop fantasizing about what my life could otherwise look like. I like it right here, right now.
— Karen, 28
5. Maximum Comfort
I'm never uncomfortable around him. Even if we're fighting or exhausted or annoyed, I just always feel good and comfortable being around him. I'm not insecure anymore.
— Claudia, 24
6. No More Buzz
It’s like the buzzing in my head finally took a breath and just kept on breathing, in and out.
— Laura, 30
7. Love Listens
I think I knew I was in love with my fiancé was when I had a panic attack. He was in LA, and I was in DC, and we have been casually dating for a couple of months. I was still kind of in that phase where I didn’t want to show him that I had more emotions than just cool and funny, but I had just found out my dad needed to have surgery, and all I could think of doing was call him. Dave stayed on the phone for nearly three hours, listening to me cry and unburden myself with all of the fears I was feeling. He asked me what I needed him to do, and when I told him to listen, he did. He then talked with me about trying to fly over when he had his surgery, and that he loved me. He didn’t try to fix things or make it about himself. He’s continued to be this steady, stable light in my life, and at that moment, I knew that whatever happened, we would be able to walk that road together.
— Alessandra, 31
8. No Fear
I think I know I'm in love because the idea of being with my current partner for the rest of my life doesn't scare me. If anything, it makes me happier. With my ex-fiancé, I was terrified of growing old with him. It felt like the exciting part of my life was over, and I didn't have anything else to look forward to if we got married (probably a red flag, in hindsight). With my new partner, I don't feel like the excitement is gone.
— Jessica, 34
So there you have it — love comes in all shapes and sizes. There's no single perfect way to know you're in love, but when you know, you'll know. If you grew up on rom-coms like I did, you might assume that love is what comes after you eat two gallons of ice cream, or maybe that's just for Sandra Bullock. Whether you're in love or not, enjoy these stories, and just know that you'll feel that magical, true love feeling for yourself soon (or right now!).