Your attraction is magnetic. You feel an amazing connection. But, is it love or something else? It can be difficult to be sure if what you are feeling is love, and even more difficult to be sure what the other person is experiencing. When you meet someone and begin to know them, there are several critical passages you navigate on the way to real love. Some may experience only one components of love. Others may not know the difference between complete love and its individual components. So how can you be sure your love is complete, real love and nothing less? The following reveals the path to real love with all of its components, along with the most common detours or roadblocks that may be experienced along the way.
The reasons we enter a relationship are many and not all of them are related to love even when we believe they are love. Often infatuation (physical attraction, chemistry, a spark, friendliness) is enough of a reason to enter a relationship and remain for a period of time. Some appreciate this for what it is, others think it is love at first sight, yet others simply hope it will grow into more than infatuation. But, usually, infatuation has a way of wearing off when both people begin to reveal their true selves versus their projected best self. Beyond excitement, infatuation usually brings one great component of love into the mix—passion. Infatuation can be the spark that leads to love, given chance to grow to develop into a greater bond.
Need is another reason people enter into relationships. When two people have needs in common (companionship, raising children, overcoming a split or divorce, loneliness, finances, sex, security, status/ego, etc.,) it may feel like love because some or one of our many needs are being met. We become content–to a point. Often people compromise their desire for rich, complete love and settle for having only some of their needs met. However, when new needs arise that go unmet, dissatisfaction results. Relationships built on need often occur with people who have suffered a past hurt (e.g. the fear of hurt and loss can drive someone to seek a “safe” companion they like or care for but do not love deeply in an attempt to avoid pain and maintain control). Needs become magnified under these circumstances. Others may choose to meet some needs instead of love after having been without a good relationship for a period of time (e.g. loneliness drives a need for companionship). Still others seek to meet more obvious needs (financial, home or family support, status, etc.). Over time, having some of our needs met will not fulfill our hearts and new needs will inevitably arise. A special subcategory of need drives dysfunctional relationships (narcissism, co-dependency, etc.). In some relationships, a lack of inertia or a desire to give up on love can cause someone to confuse an attachment created through simply proximity, shared experiences, and time together as love, however this is not at all the same as love.
So how can you be sure that what you are experiencing is whole, complete love instead of only a small part of it? The first way to find real love, and have confidence what you are experiencing is real love, is to first do some self work. Heal past hurts through forgiveness of yourself and the other person. Overcome insecurities by building your self-confidence and self-esteem. You may never be immune to pain or insecurity, however, by working on these areas you will create a self that is ready for love. It is true–you really must love yourself first before you can fully experience love of another. Be ready and willing to overcome your fears and become vulnerable. Share your true authentic self with your partner. Real love only exists in loving the whole person. None of us are perfect, nor should we be expected to be. The beauty of shared authenticity is the ability to see the true person and the big picture and love that person for exactly who they are, not who you might want them to become, and vice versa. Authentic love an acceptance brings out the best in us.
The second way to find the love you desire is to choose a partner you truly respect and appreciate. Infatuation can distract you from seeing many qualities that are below the surface, and these can be something you find non-negotiable. Take your time and be sure they are someone you admire and respect. It also helps if you have many shared interests or other commonalities you both appreciate. It builds a common bond and helps maintain that bond ongoing through experience and shared ideals. Respect for each other is crucial to build and maintain any relationship and this is especially true of love.
Third, complete love requires a foundation of friendship and trust to go the distance. Friendship and trust enable a strong bond to be forged and maintained. Friendship provides the basis for all that you share and enjoy. It amplifies your love on a daily basis. Friendship and respect are crucial, but love must also include strong passion from both partners. Love ignites enduring passion that can take many forms or ebb and flow with day-to-day stress, yet with love it always remains. There is joy and fun in sharing the intimacy and pleasing each other in new ways when passion is truly present. All of the qualities present in complete love (friendship, passion, respect, trust, connection, intimacy, affection) are terrific in and of their own strengths, but when combined and shared between two people, a rare, complete love is formed that will go the distance through time and any adversity. We hope for you to find real, complete love and not settle for only a part of the whole.
What are your views on real love? Have you experienced this love? How do you define love and what is most important to you? Have you opted out of love for something less? Share your thoughts with our readers in the comment section.