Home  >  Love Couch  >  Sweet Love

13 Signs to Help You Recognize True Love When It Comes into Your Life

We have all heard songs and poems about how amazing being in love is, but will you know how to recognize true love when it happens for you?

how to recognize love

Love is so confusing and mercurial, so how can you recognize love when it happens to you?

Love is immeasurable and cannot be quantified, and it is a magical and mystical feeling that is all-consuming. But, it can also be confused with a lot of other emotions such as projection, obsession, and infatuation. Love is so mysterious and overwhelming, how can you be sure to recognize love when it happens for you?

You may have had a crush. You may have really liked someone or been infatuated with them. But, is that really love? [Read: How to know if you love someone and learn to navigate your feelings]

How can you recognize true love?

Love may have a definition in the dictionary, but does an intense feeling of deep affection really describe it? After all, many of us have deep affection for a lot of things – our pets, our family, our cars, and our clothes. What distinguishes true love? What makes it more recognizable?

The difference is that true love isn’t exactly a feeling, the way you feel love for a cat or your bed. You can recognize true love because it is so all-encompassing that it is more a state of being than a particular emotion. 

Love is also very complicated. Sure, it can create joy in your life that you never knew was possible. But love is often the cause of less stellar feelings, such as depression, uncertainty, and more. 

So, if you are miserable, it could be love. If you’re happy, it could be love. But can you recognize the difference? True love is elusive and hard to describe, so you have to dig down deep to know for sure. 

Knowing if what you’re feeling is love is about focusing on the effects of love. Love is a mixture of both desire and connection. [Read: 23 facts about love that will definitely blow your mind]

The desire is what mimics a crush. It is what makes you feel like you have butterflies when you see them. The connection is that craving to be near them. You can have one of these without the other, but without both the feelings won’t be enough to sustain a relationship without intense stress.

Infatuation is something that can happen often in your life. This feeling of a high when you’re about to see someone can come with limited knowledge of them. You aren’t really in love with this person, but in love with the idea of them. That’s the main difference between true love and infatuation— true love is loving someone for who they are. Infatuation is loving the idea of someone, and is based more in fantasy.

Infatuation either ends in disappointment when you find the person doesn’t live up to your fantasy, or true love when you realize they do. An attachment can grow between the two of you, causing your feelings to deepen into all those things sappy love songs are written about. 

But to be able to answer the question, “Is it love?” you’ll need some more specific insight into your situation. [Read: How to know when it’s true love: Separating the casual from the real]

Is it love? Easy-to-recognize signs that its the real thing

Although love cannot be quantified, it can be seen and acknowledged. There are symptoms of love you feel that will help you tell the difference between a crush and the real thing

1. You think of them when they aren’t around

While this is definitely a sign of true love, it can also be a sign of a lot of other things. A crush, an infatuation, even jealousy can cause you to obsess over someone when they are not around. It all depends on your relationship with them and if it is reciprocated. 

Love is not you wishing they would text you back or notice you. This is when you’re at the grocery store and you’re thinking about what they would like. It’s when you see something funny and wish they were there to see it too. 

We often think about why our crush hasn’t texted back or where they are, but when it’s love, it is more caring than that. [Read: What is true love? The honest truth you didn’t really expect]

2. You want to be around them all the time

Do you want to call them right after you hang up? Find yourself wanting to spend more time with them than anyone else? Do you think about them all the time when they are not around, and think of nothing else but the two of you when you are together?

You can’t talk yourself into love and the reverse is true as well. When you are in love, you want to be with your beloved all the time. If you find that you text each other all day, talk on the phone, and are in constant contact but are still not tired of each other, then you must recognize it for what it is – true love. 

3. You feel safe with them

This is important. Feeling safe with someone isn’t just feeling like they wouldn’t put you in danger, but knowing that they would protect you from danger, whether physical or otherwise. It is an important tool to recognizing love.

Vulnerability and trust are cornerstones of any good relationship. Without them, you will crumble. Feeling safe is about knowing you can let go and be yourself without a fallout. That kind of safety is more than just comforting, it’s true love. [Read: How to know if your partner is truly supportive of your goals]

4. They are there for you

Love is great, but actions speak louder than words. If someone says that they love you, but cannot come through when you need them, their words will ring false. Love is a two way street and you have to get as much as you give in order for it to work. 

That can mean keeping promises to each other, coming through in times of hardship, and generally being there for each other. Being there for you means something different for everyone, but it has to be right for you. [Read: 15 good qualities of a person that make them a very good human being]

A way to recognize true love is to see who is there for you when you need them the most. Depending on someone doesn’t mean you’re dependent on them, it means they will be there when you need them.

5. You are happy to compromise with them

Compromise is difficult. When you love someone, that desire for them to be happy makes compromising a lot easier. You are willing to give up certain things for love and the desire to be together.

It is important to note that the type of compromise also matters here. When you want to share the last slice of pizza instead of having it for yourself, it could be infatuation. But when you are happy to move further away than you planned so that your partner can pursue their dream job, it is love.

6. You can’t imagine breaking up

No one loves breakups. But in the case of infatuation, you could probably imagine yourself moving along fairly quickly. Sure, you may not want a relationship to end because of a fantasy, because you don’t want to be single, or for a ton of other reasons.

But when it is love, you don’t want the relationship to end because you don’t want to lose them.

It isn’t about you, your happiness, or even your fear. When you’re in love, you don’t want to be apart from this one person. You aren’t afraid of having to date, of being alone, of finding someone else, but of losing them. [Read: How to overcome the fear of losing someone you love]

7. You feel stable

Sometimes the drama of a tumultuous relationship can be fun… for a little while. But the roller coaster gets old fairly quickly.

True love is stable, it is calming and feels safe, not wild and volatile. Some people confuse a high level of emotion for love, *for example, oh they only yell at me because they care, etc* but this is a mistake.

Love isn’t supposed to be hurtful, or a constant cycle of breaking up and getting back together. You can recognize true love by its safety and stability. [Read: Infatuation vs love – how to know the vital differences]

8. They make you happy

This should be an obvious way to recognize true love, but unfortunately for many, it is not. Those of us who did not grow up in happy, stable homes may think that “love” making you miserable is normal. It isn’t.

True love doesn’t hurt you, physically or emotionally. Someone who loves you doesn’t attack your insecurities and doesn’t put you down and make you feel bad. True love is caring, and makes you happy.

Anything else should be let go– life is too short to be with someone who makes you miserable, even if they do it because they claim to love you. [Read: When is it time to break up? 15 signs to know for sure if it’s time]

9. You think about a real future together

Do you think about a future with your partner in a realistic way? Not fantasies of riding off into the sunset, but real concrete plans you could do together? Can you see a future with this person five years from now? What about ten?

When you are thinking about your future with someone realistically, it could be love. Especially if you two agree on planning a future together.  [Read: How to prove that you love someone the right way]

10. They know the real you

Just like you can “fall in love” with the idea of someone, they can fall in love with the idea of you. But this idea isn’t the real you. Instead, your partner may have an image in their head of what they expect you to be, and when you stray from that they become upset.

That’s not real love – that’s an infatuation, and it’s not built to last. Being compared to a flawless fantasy gets old very quickly. 

True love knows the real you. Both the version of you that you put out for others to see, and the version that you are when you are comfortable at home. True love recognizes all parts of you, and loves you just the same. [Read: Emotional attachment vs. love – Is there a difference?]

11. You are an equal partner

Being in control isn’t about controlling your partner. Being in control means you’re in control of yourself and being treated as an equal. Your partner treats you as an equal, and respects your differences of opinion.

This means they don’t make you do things you aren’t comfortable with. They don’t manipulate you into situations that you cannot handle. You feel that you get equal say in what goes on with your relationship– from where you want to get dinner to where you want to live. [Read: Are you being love-bombed? How to understand this manipulation of love early on]

12. Your partner makes an effort for things that are important to you

True love hangs out with your friends, even if they think they can be a little annoying. True love tolerates pushy members of your family, and doesn’t complain about your work.

That isn’t to say that true love doesn’t establish healthy boundaries, in fact quite the opposite. True love accepts the things that are important to you simply because they are important to you, and doesn’t try to change your priorities to suit them.

True love involves compromise. Even if your partner finds your pushy uncle annoying, they will still come with you to your family dinners– because they love you, and that’s enough. 

13. It feels right with them

This is an annoying cliche, but it has stuck around for a reason. It doesn’t help you make sense of how you feel, but sometimes when you’re in love, you just feel it. You can’t describe it but it just feels right, like it fits. You will be able to silence any nagging doubt in your mind, and know that what you are feeling really is true love. 

[Read: The real relationship facts to understand about true love]

So, next time you ask, is it love, check to see if you can recognize the signs. Chances are that if you have to ask, you know the answer already.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

LovePanky icon
Team LovePanky
The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...