The beginnings of every relationship can be hard to navigate. You’ve just met the person of your dreams- they’re amazing, attractive, and you start to imagine spending the rest of your life with them. But then, at the back of your mind, a small voice asks – “Is it love? Or is it just infatuation?” Do you truly love this person, or are you swept up in the wave of romance and chemistry?
Love and infatuation can be hard to differentiate, especially when you haven’t spent a great deal of time together. Both are extremely strong feelings that can leave you giddy and breathless, but while they can sometimes feel the same, they are two very different things. So how do you if it is love? Look at your relationship and see if you can spot these 5 signs.
1. You are your true self around them
It’s normal to want to appear your best self when you’re in a new relationship. You make sure you look impeccable and well-groomed at all times, and in conversations you let your good humour and wit shine through. It’s not that you’re putting on an act, but most people do amplify their best qualities and suppress their less desirable ones when together with someone they’re infatuated with.
If it’s love, you’ll find that you’re able to be your true self around your partner. No joke is too weird to crack, and it’s okay if you look terrible in the morning. You’re comfortable with being as you are, without being worried that they’ll think less of you. If it’s infatuation, you might be unconsciously holding yourself back a little, or putting a lot of effort into looking good. While there’s nothing wrong with that, don’t be afraid to let your true self show!
2. You know and accept their flaws
This is a huge difference between love and infatuation. When infatuated with someone, having a glimpse of their flaws or less desirable qualities might shatter the image you have of them. You may find yourself wishing that they would change, that they wouldn’t continue behaviours you find difficult to handle. When this comes to a boiling point, couples choose to break up.
If it’s love, you should already know your partner’s flaws, and love them in spite of them. This still doesn’t mean you should put up with a partner who is abusive however. For example, if you’re always punctual while your partner has a completely different perception of time, you’re able to find ways to cope with problems that arise without resorting to ending the relationship.
3. You are comfortable with space and distance
When infatuated with someone, you’ll want to spend as much time possible with them and for some people, distance apart can be agonising. Some might even start getting suspicious of their partner when they’re not physically together.
If you love someone, often you don’t give too much thought about the space and distance between you, as long as it’s normal. You can recognise that your partner might need some time on their own sometimes and not take things personally, and even when you’re physically far apart, you know your relationship is still on solid ground.
4. You feel like they’re your best friend
This might sound like a cliche, but it’s definitely true. Think about the role your best friend has in your life – are you able to share your deepest thoughts and worries with them? Do you enjoy whatever time you spend together? Do you crack inside jokes and can make fun of each other? That is exactly the role a partner you love will have in your life too.
You can drop all pretences because you know your best friend will love and accept you no matter what, and arguments can be resolved amicably with the two of you always making up at the end of the day. So if you feel like your partner is your best friend, then it’s love!
5. You want to be with them, even when they annoy the hell out of you
Partners can make us feel a whole spectrum of emotions. No one can make us as happy or as annoyed as they can, and yet, there’s no one else you’d rather be with. Whether they’re pulling dumb pranks on you, leaving their dirty laundry on your clean floor, or simply making your daily life just a bit more difficult than it is when you’re alone, you sometimes feel like the only thing they do is push your buttons. You might sigh and complain, but you don’t think about going out to meet someone new, because you know they put up with you too- and that’s love.
The next time you find yourself asking “Is it love?”, look at your relationship and see if you can identify these 5 signs, and they’ll tell you all you need to know!