3 Ways To Tell If You Love Him Or Just The Idea Of Him

by Megan Nolan

Having been raised on Disney movies and force-fed stories about how "true love" is a cure-all, it's easy to assume why each person we date — or even just get emotional about — is someone we think we love. While you very well may love a person, how can you know for sure?

How can you tell if you’ve found a head-over-heels, always and forever kind of love? Or, are we just to assume that our minds, fed with sentimental hope, have tricked us into believing that we are madly in love with each person we date?

Is there a way to tell the difference? Is there a way to know if it's "true love" or just the idea of love being projected onto a person?

I'm the type of girl who falls hard and fast, so each time I get into a situation that leads me to think I'm falling, I take the time to gauge how I see the relationship.

The Fights You Have

I've been in relationships where we never fought; I’ve been in others where every day was a battlefield. Upon scrutinizing each relationship, I saw a common theme.

We didn't know what we were fighting for:

People who love each other don't always fight fairly, but they fight with purpose. They fight and they learn things about each other and about the relationship.

They fight and hold each other at the end, praying they never fight that way again because they don't want to cause their significant others any pain. They fight and they forgive.

People who love the idea of a relationship (or the person they're with) aren't always willing to let go of pride. We are all wrong at some point, and if you can't admit it to the person who smells your morning breath without judgment (perhaps that's what you're fighting about!), to whom can you admit it?

If you fight to win because you need that deep-cutting right jab, you probably don't really love your significant other.

You never want to see someone you love in pain; it's that simple.

Your Friendship With Others

Friends can prove to be challenging when dating. You love them and they love you; your boyfriend hates them and they hate your boyfriend. It happens.

People are people and they don't always get along, no matter how much we'd like them to do so. But, you would never let your boyfriend talk sh*t about your best girl, ever. It breaks the first rule in the girl code handbook.

If you let your girls talk sh*t about your man and allow their opinions to change your relationship, maybe you need to introspect a little better to figure out what you want.

You Vs. Them

Love isn't a selfish act, by any means. It's not about the way it makes you feel (though it is a very wonderful feeling). It's about waking up each morning and finding ways to make someone else's day better without expecting anything in return.

When you're all dolled up to go out and he comes home after a hard day and just wants Chinese food and Netflix, do you leave him to it or are you there when he needs you? Do you let him have that man date without the guilt trip, even if you really wanted to spend time with him?

Granted, this sounds a bit one-sided, but it applies to both sides in the love game. Life is hard enough and it isn't always easy. But, when you care deeply enough for someone, you should want happiness for the other person, as well.

If you don't — if you'd rather just “do you” without taking someone else into consideration — then you shouldn't be with someone else.

(Side note: I do believe that "doing you" is necessary whether you're single or in a relationship; it's very important to be your own biggest fan and supporter before anything else — or nothing else — falls into place the way it should.)

Love can be a choice as much as it is an emotion. And, no matter how much you love someone, there will always be days when you don't feel it, but you choose it, anyway.

I leave you with a quote from Mother Teresa: "Love, to be real, must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self."

Photo via Tumblr