Romantic love can be a wonderful experience. There's a reason why love has been a central theme in so many stories throughout human history.
Even so, love isn't always wonderful. In real life, things are frequently unpredictable, frustrating, and even painful.
While it can certainly provide numerous benefits, these benefits are rarely obtained without some dedicated effort and a willingness to accept some challenges as part of the process.
When you love someone, you choose to nourish the first stirrings of attraction, feeding those early feelings and fortifying them to withstand future stressors.
The work may not always appear to be easy. Nonetheless, many people consider the reward — mutual, lasting love — to be well worth the investment.
People frequently say that you will know when someone loves you. There is some truth to that, though it may not manifest itself in the extravagant gestures depicted in the media.
These 12 signs are typically used to identify genuine love.
Their presence makes you feel safe
The foundation of loving relationships is safety. A loving partner will not physically harm you or damage your possessions. They will also not threaten or pressure you into doing things you don't want to do, make decisions for you, or isolate you from social support.
Feeling safe also means being able to make your own decisions and express yourself without fear of being judged by others. When you share your thoughts and goals, you are met with encouragement rather than snubs or criticism.
Everyone feels irritated and angry from time to time, but it is possible to express anger in safe and healthy ways. A loving partner will not threaten you, use anger to punish you, or make you afraid.
If they do have an angry outburst, they might agree right away to get help — not just to improve for themselves, but also because they saw your fear and want to help you feel safe again.
They are the only listeners
A partner who cares about you will be interested in the details of your life.
Instead of immediately diverting the conversation to their own experiences, they will actively listen by asking questions and waiting their turn to share. Instead of being dismissed with a distracted "Uh-huh" or "Wow, that sucks," you get the impression they genuinely care.
While they may not hear or remember everything you say, they will have a good idea of what is important to you: your likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, friendships and family relationships, and so on.
Partners in a healthy relationship acknowledge both the good and the bad. When you bring up concerns or a relationship problem, they will take your feelings into account rather than ignoring you or attempting to minimize your distress.
They accept your differences rather than trying to change you.
You and your partner are different people, so you won't feel the same way about everything, no matter how much you share.
Someone who loves you will accept your unique ideas and emotions as a part of who you are. They may engage in some respectful debate, but they will show interest in your point of view rather than insisting that you take their side.
When asked, a loving partner may offer guidance and advice, but they will not try to control your choices or behavior. They will also not withhold affection or criticism from you until you agree with them.
In general, you'll feel more at ease when you agree to disagree.
The communication is easy is not always necessary
Love necessitates open and honest communication. This does not imply that you must share every thought you have. There are some private feelings that everyone has, and there is nothing wrong with keeping them to yourself.
Over the course of your relationship, your partner will most likely do something that irritates you, whether it's snoring or getting so engrossed in a TV show that they forget to pick you up from work.
Instead of picking at every minor annoyance, you might find it more productive to vent to a friend about these minor irritations.
Still, you can't read each other's minds, so if you want your relationship to thrive, you need to talk about the issues that really matter. A partner who loves you will recognize the importance of communication and will be present, both physically and mentally, when the time comes for a conversation.
Good communication involves a lot :
identifying and addressing areas of conflict
connecting through physical or emotional intimacy
checking in about relationship boundaries
tuning in to signals in body language
Communication is not easy for everyone. Rather than assuming that a partner who struggles to express thoughts and emotions does not love you, consider their willingness to learn and practice better communication skills.
They encourage you for your own stuff
Partners should, without a doubt, enjoy each other's company. A loving partner, on the other hand, will recognize your separate identity outside of the relationship and will support you when you want to spend time with friends or pursue your own hobbies.
They will also maintain their own friendships and interests rather than relying on you to entertain them or meet all of their social needs.
They may also establish boundaries for themselves, such as, "I don't want to hang out with you when you're drunk." Nonetheless, they will not attempt to control your friends, your choices, or your behavior.
You start to trust each other and that's genuine
Trust often develops alongside love, and you won't usually find one without the other.
Unless you betray them, a partner who loves you will most likely trust you. They will not question you if you see friends, are followed or use your phone or computer.
If they have no reason to suspect you have been dishonest, they will not accuse you of lying or cheating, nor will they insist you go everywhere together.
Trust also implies that they feel safe enough to express their thoughts and emotions, open up about their problems, and seek assistance.
If you mislead, deceive, or betray them, this trust may be broken. Because love often remains where trust has been shattered, you can sometimes rebuild trust — but only with time, transparency, and hard work.
They will always make an effort for you
While attraction can happen in an instant, true love takes more time and effort.
It may appear romantic when someone decides you're "meant to be" or says "I think I love you" after only one day. However, this sometimes indicates a controlling or manipulative personality, rather than true romance.
With so many people on the planet, the concept of one-and-only instant love may appear flimsy. Sure, soul mates may exist, but it's important to remember that love doesn't usually happen overnight.
Someone who truly cares will want to build your love from the ground and shore it up at the seams by:
prioritizing time together
expressing an interest in getting to know you
being prepared to talk through disagreements or conflict
agreeing to try new things together
expressing their commitment to mutual growth as partners
You are aware of your ability to collaborate or compromise.
Conflict does not necessarily make a relationship unhealthy, but how you handle it does.
A “my way or the highway” attitude does not imply a loving relationship. Someone who loves you will not look at you with contempt, will not insist on being right, and will not listen to you.
In healthy relationships, both partners collaborate to find solutions to problems, such as communication or intimacy. You may make some sacrifices for the sake of your relationship, but you should not be the only one.
A partner who loves you will make personal sacrifices to find a solution that will satisfy both of you.
Maybe neither of you gets everything you wanted, but meeting in the middle can make you both happy.
They assist you in meeting your needs
While no single person can meet all of your needs, romantic partners can offer a lot of emotional support. Many people seek romantic relationships precisely for this reason.
A loving partner cannot (and should not) do everything for you, but they will celebrate your victories and support you when you fall. When they can, they will offer assistance, and when they can't, they will offer ideas or helpful suggestions.
If they are unable to assist you, such as with mental health symptoms, severe financial stress, or a workplace problem, they will encourage you to seek appropriate help.
Respect is the key
Respect is essential for the survival of loving relationships.
A partner who respects you will demonstrate their appreciation for you and your time together. They will also support your decisions, even if they do not agree with them.
Other signs of respect to look for include:
clear, prompt communication
polite and considerate language, even during arguments
no pressure to set your boundaries aside
You find hope every day
Perhaps your partner does not bring you lunch at work or lavish you with expensive gifts.
Every morning, however, they hand you a cup of coffee once you make it to the kitchen. They never forget your dates and always greet you with a smile when you walk into the room.
Love is most visible in the smallest details of daily life. Someone who loves you may simply be a steady, caring presence in your life, rather than sweeping you off your feet with lavish gestures.
They show up for both the good and the bad, demonstrating that you can count on their continued support.
These quieter expressions of affection may not thrill you in the same way that a public performance of your favorite love song would, but they are certain to linger long after the final notes of the said song have faded away.
They dream the best for you
Love does not always imply being "together forever." When love is still present, it is often possible to save a crumbling relationship, but irreconcilable differences may mean you are better off moving on to find someone who is a better fit.
Assume one of you desires children and the other does not. Or maybe you've always wanted to live on the East Coast near your family, whereas they can't imagine living anywhere but the Pacific Northwest.
When it is clear that your relationship has run its course, someone, who truly loves you will let you go.
Love isn't all or nothing, and romantic love can evolve into long-lasting friendships over time. Even if you can't keep a friendship going, it's never a bad idea to cherish that lingering positive regard.
A caring partner will share your desire to fortify your bonds and grow as a couple.
Relationship skills, on the other hand, do not come naturally to everyone, and some people require additional assistance in learning how to express feelings in healthy ways. Couples counseling can provide a safe space for you and your partner to explore this together.
In therapy, you can practice good communication skills, discuss future goals, and identify any areas of tension so that you can address them before they cause problems.