So you’ve been seeing this guy for a few weeks or months, and you’ve got one word on your mind: LOVE. But…how do you know you love him? Is it just infatuation? Lust? Hormones? Or is this actually turning into something real?
You find yourself singing Whitney Houston’s old gem, How Will I Know, in the shower:
There’s a boy I know, he’s the one I dream of Looks into my eyes, takes me to the clouds above Ooh I lose control, can’t seem to get enough When I wake from dreaming, tell me is it really love
Okay, that’s super cheesy, but my point is: the question “how do I know if I love him?” is eating at your brain. So allow me to help you get to the bottom of this all-important mystery.
How do you know you love him? The following are signs you’re in love with him, so if any (or all) are true, then you probably do!
1. You Talk About The Future With Him
Next Halloween, we should do a couple’s costume.
Hey, do you wanna take a three-week road trip in the spring?
Our kids would be so damn cute!
Topics like these come up with your boyfriend fairly regularly, and he doesn’t run screaming. Neither do you. Huh.
The thought of a future with this guy is something you’re starting to take for granted as a given, which is a pretty good sign you’re in love with him or are falling in love with him.
2. Everything Reminds You of Him
You’re eating a peanut butter sandwich: This sandwich reminds me of Tommy. He eats peanut butter.
You put on your favorite green shirt: I wore this three days after my first date with Tommy.
You go out for tacos every Tuesday: Tacos start with the letter T! Just like Tommy!
These examples are a bit ridiculous, but they illustrate a point: if you have Tommy (or whatever your guy’s name is) on the brain 24/7, there’s a good chance you’re in love.
And this isn’t just me saying that when things remind you of him, it means you love him: Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and a leading expert on the biological basis of love, found that people in love focused on trivial events and objects that reminded them about the objects of their affection. Likely, she surmised, this was due to elevated levels of central dopamine and a spike in central norepinephrine.
So if every little thing makes you think of your sweetie…yea, it could be love.
3. You Find Yourself Always Talking About Him
You’re kinda disgusted with yourself. You’ve become that girl. The girl (woman, really) who talks incessantly about her man.
Tommy and I were at IKEA the other day…
Tommy loved that recipe. I made it for him this weekend.
I’ll ask Tommy what he thinks about that.
Thing is…you can’t help yourself! It seems like his name falls out of your mouth without you even meaning it to. You try to curb mentions of him to keep your friends from murdering you…but it’s a challenge. How do you know you love him? Ask your friends how many times you’ve said his name in the last hour!
4. You Re-Read His Text Messages & Scroll Through His Photos
It’s the weekend and you’re ready to curl up on the couch for a good read. But instead of picking up that memoir that’s gathering dust on the coffee table…you grab your phone.
You love reading through your past texts with your man. It’s like reading a romance novel. You love scrolling back a mile to when you first started texting to see what the conversation was like way back when. You enjoy seeing when he started sending that kiss-blowing emoji your way.
And while no one else will join you in watching a slideshow of Tommy Pics, you love nothing more than to flick through your photos to gaze adoringly at his face. Here’s Tommy drinking a glass boot of beer. Here’s a selfie of the two of you on the beach at sunset. Here’s Tommy sleeping (er…we might need to have a different conversation if you have one of these!).
And if you wonder why reading these texts and looking at these photos feels so good…science shows that when people look at photos of loved ones, there’s an increase in dopamine (that feel-good drug) in the brain.
So…yea. This is your brain on Tommy.
5. It Never Feels Like You’re Wasting Time With Him
How do you know you love him? Here’s another clue: every moment you spend with your guy feels significant…even if it wouldn’t normally. Maybe in your past life, you wouldn’t have been caught dead staying in on a Friday night and Netflix bingeing with a boyfriend…but now it seems like a fantastic way to cuddle up to the man that you adore.
Even watching him fix his car or play rugby with the boys feels like a good investment of your time. Never a dull moment and all of that.
6. You’re Constantly Curious About Him
While you went through all the what do you do/tell me about your family/what are your pet peeves conversations early on in dating this guy, you’re still surprised to keep finding out little nuggets about him.
To me, this is the good stuff: all those thousands of little data points that help you really get to know someone you care about.
You find out he’s allergic to clams. That he makes a whimpering sound when he’s having a nightmare. That he’s oddly afraid of cats. That his dream career would be a sushi chef. None of these are very important in the grander scheme of things, but you find them fascinating, and they draw you closer to him.
7. You’re Comfortable With Making Little Sacrifices For Him
If your friends had told you a year ago that you would be waking up at 5 am every Saturday to go for a three-mile hike, you would have said they were insane. Yet here you are, training for a 5K with good ole Tommy.
Or maybe you quit drinking because he can’t drink. Eat vegan because he’s vegan. Whatever the sacrifice you’re making, you’re happy to do it…because you probably love him.
You’re happy to make these little compromises (and he does the same for you) because you know that they’re part of what makes for a happy relationship.
Just a note here: small sacrifices like the examples I gave above are fine, but know where to draw the line. If he’s asking something of you that makes you truly uncomfortable, like lying for him, know that this isn’t love.
No man who loves you would ask you to compromise your integrity for him.
8. You Feel Safe When You’re Around Him
When a man is open and communicative, when he’s loyal and supportive, a woman feels emotionally safe with him. You may have been scarred in the past in a long relationship or even a marriage, so trust and feeling secure are even more important to you now.
Ask yourself: does he make you feel safe, both physically and emotionally? Do you feel like he is your protector, both of your physical wellbeing and your heart? Would he do anything to keep you safe? If so, congrats. You’ve got a good guy on your hands.
9. You Notice Things That You Know He’d Love
While you’re at the grocery store, you see the new Peeps Oreos and pick up a pack because your boyfriend loves all things Peep-related. Later that night, you tell him about a concert you saw an ad for online; it’s his favorite band.
It’s like you’re tuned into things that you know he’d appreciate, and it feels kinda awesome.
Again, it’s often not the enormous things that give signs you’re falling in love; it can be the smallest details like these.
10. You Lose Track of Time
One minute it’s Friday evening and you’re headed over to his house to spend the weekend together. You blink, and it’s already Sunday night. Where did time go??
Time flies when you’re in love. It can feel like there’s never enough time to soak up all of his energy, and you’re left wanting more. If only you could clone yourself so that you could both go to work and handle other aspects of your life…and spend 24/7 with him!
11. You Have More Energy
Since you started spending time with this man, you’ve felt powerful and full of energy…like you could conquer any challenge…climb any mountain.
It’s been good for other aspects of your life. Maybe you’re killing it at work, and your boss has given you a pat on the back for all your hard work. You’re working out more, and are in the best shape of your life.
The movie Conspiracy Theory might seem a strange place to find inspiration here, but read this quote:
Love gives you wings. It makes you fly. I don’t even call it love. I call it Geronimo. When you’re in love, you’ll jump right from the top of the Empire State and you won’t care, screaming “Geronimo” the whole way down. I love her so bad, I just… whoa, she wrecks me. I’d die for her.
You don’t really have this invincible I-can-do-anything feeling when you’re just in like. There’s something magical that happens when you start to fall in love that just amplifies everything you do. You are more confident. Heck, you might even be smarter. There should be a scientific study on the IQ of people in love!
12. The World Seems Brighter
It’s like you upgraded from a 1950s tv to the latest and greatest 4HD tv. Everything is just…tuned up. You notice everything. The birds tweeting in the morning. The vivid colors of a sunrise. Science shows that your senses are amplified when you’re in love, so if everything’s in Technicolor lately, this is another of the signs you’re in love with him. Enjoy it!
If you’re looking for how to know you love him, just pay attention to the world around you and see if it seems more amplified than normal.
13. You Even Love His Faults
He chews with his mouth open. He farts in his sleep. He leaves his underwear in the middle of the floor. Any little quirk that drove you insane with past boyfriends is somehow…cute with this guy.
What gives? Have you lowered your standards??
No, my dear. This is one of the signs you’re in love with him.
You’ve realized on some level that these flaws are so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. That if he treats you well, it doesn’t matter that he leaves the toilet seat up. And accepting your partner’s flaws is an excellent sign of a long and happy relationship together.
14. You Can Talk to Him About ANYTHING
Not that you have many secrets…but there are a few things that you’ve never talked to anyone about. Maybe you were too embarrassed or didn’t have anyone you felt comfortable with sharing these things. But this guy? He’s different. You can tell him absolutely anything. No judgment. Nothing but support.
You’ve opened up to him in a way that frankly surprises you a little, and it feels pretty good.
Stop for a moment and realize how lucky you are to have found someone who you can trust enough to share your deepest, darkest secrets and thoughts with. Not everyone gets that. How do you know you love him? You hold nothing back.
15. You Can’t Concentrate on Anything
You’re not hungry. You can’t focus at work. When your friends talk to you, you can’t for the life of you focus on what they’re saying. You’ve been bitten by the lovebug, and one of the side effects is the inability to concentrate on anything…other than his handsome face.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 60. This is a common sign you’re in love with him.
Just remember though: if you put all your attention on him, it may overwhelm him. Likely he was initially attracted to you because of your well-rounded interests and general kick-assedness. Don’t give it all up to focus on the male. Keep on doing all the important things in your life. This lack of focus will eventually lessen.
16. You Relive Your Highlights Reel
As you fall asleep at night, you play a movie in your head. Tonight’s showing might be that romantic walk on the beach you had last weekend…