How Do You Know That You Are In Love?
Ah, this was a nearly irresistible request. This question seems like it would elicit a simple answer, something like, "Well, you know that you are in love when..." Wouldn't that be nice? Maybe if we all came with little lights on our foreheads that started to blink when we were truly in love, relating would be a lot easier. But we don't, and it's not. So, without further ado, let's have our discussion. Let's talk about love (hey, you knew that was coming).
First, let's go ahead and identify what we talk about when we talk about love (another one, I'm on a roll). Well...um...yeah. What is love? Probably, if he or she has really given it some thought, any person you ask that question will give you a unique answer. Bob from accounting might think that love is a similar taste in food, wine, and favorite activities. Sarah the writer might think that love is fodder for conflict (yes, there are people that love conflict, and thus expect their relationships to be full of discord or, as I've heard it affectionately referred to, "spice"). Tommy might love a girl he hasn't seen for two years, based solely on a memory. I've heard it said that love is a chemical in your brain with a three year shelf life, that if no positive interaction between the person and the object of their affection happens in a three year span of time, love is lost (i.e. the chemical goes away). The point is, love is particular to the person experiencing it, kind of like beauty, if the saying is to be believed...
So, if the ways and the reasons in and for which people love are varied, is there some universal sign that shows when a human being is in love? Recall the absence of the forehead light. I've known people who experience love through giddiness and nervous sweating. I personally find the love that I have for my wife calming in every way. Some people respond to the onset of love with intense fear, or with an unreasonable obsessive infatuation. Some people don't recognize love until it is too late, or never recognize it at all. Again, with signs of love, they can be as varied as the expectations and the experiences associated with the very feeling.
I know, this is starting to sound like a cop out. But, truly, this isn't. There is a very real freedom in knowing that your personal experience being in love is, well, personal. Take, for instance, my relationship with my wife. I knew that I loved her when I asked her to marry me. Actually, I knew that I loved her after a week of knowing her. In retrospect, the "how" is not important. My chief reason for feeling this way is that, while I did love my wife then, I love her differently, more fervently, now. And I would be truly disturbed if I woke up tomorrow feeling the same way about her that I did, say, three years ago. Did I not love her then? Was I wrong? No. But love is changing, ever evolving. There's a concrete answer to your question, I guess. Love is never the same thing twice, always different day to day. And, truly, that's as honest an answer as you'll get.
Ultimately, you might as well ask, "How do you know you are angry?" Or, "How do you know that you are happy?" These feelings, their associations, mean different things to all persons. Knowing that you are in love is completely possible, but it is nearly impossible for someone to tell you how, when, or even if you will know it. That's part of the fun, the adventure. It's a large part of getting to know yourself, and knowing yourself is integral to contributing to a loving relationship. Revel in it, seriously. You won't regret it.
I hope this has been of help. Thank you for your honest question. It has been a pleasure. All the best, and I hope you find what it is that you are looking for.
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