How Do You Know If You Have Found True Love?

by Annie Mueller

Your personalities click. There's chemistry. You dream about him, your heart races when he calls, and you can tell he feels the same about you. So is it true love, or is it a great big crush that can fizzle and die at a moment's notice? Sure, you want chemistry and great laughs together, but you also need the loyalty, comfort and acceptance that will carry you through the most difficult times. Check your relationship against this list of considerations to get a clearer understanding of whether or not it is true love.

Communication

Make sure you can communicate well. If you can't talk to him about anything and everything, even the difficult things, this is a problem. Communication is the most important part of a relationship. There should be conversation, not just about the daily activities stuff of life, but also about the past, the future, your goals, beliefs and the deeper motivations that define who you are, as individuals and as a couple. You need to be able to share yourself without fear of censure, and you need to be willing to receive what he shares.

Trust

Make sure you can trust him. True love cannot exist without trust. Trust increases as the relationship deepens, but you can't build on a foundation that contains no trust from the outset. Maybe he's never cheated on you or told you a lie, but has he been completely honest, followed through on commitments and kept his word?

Self-Sacrifice

Ask yourself is he is self-sacrificing enough. Step back from the emotional tumult of the relationship and take a look at it from a practical perspective. Have you both put the other person's needs first and made decisions based on the other's preference rather than your own? If the self-sacrifice is all one-sided--either yours or his--you don't have true love. What you have is a relationship that could quickly become codependent.

Change and Acceptance

Figure out if your relationship is open to change and acceptance of changes. These may seem like opposites, but they are two sides of the same thing. True love includes a willingness to change for the person you love, whether it's a change in your future plans, your interior decorating preferences or your choice of restaurant. It also includes an ability to accept and a secure feeling of being accepted as you are. True love means that you can see your partner's faults, but you accept them as part of this person. And the acceptance should extend back to you: You shouldn't feel that you have to act, talk, dress, think or feel a certain way in order to be accepted by the one you love.

Respect

Gauge the respect in the relationship. Respecting each other doesn't mean always agreeing with one another, but it does mean that at a basic level you extend courtesy and tolerance to one another even in the midst of disagreements. You must respect each other's rights to be different, to be disagreeable, to be difficult at times. And you should find ways to compromise and tolerate each other during those times, even when you don't feel like giving way. In fact, a hallmark of true love is that you still choose to treat the other person respectfully and tenderly, even when you feel the opposite towards him.

Autonomy

Make sure that you both still exist as individuals. While true love forges a union, that doesn't mean you cease being an individual, nor should it. In fact, if you find that you can't think, talk, make decisions or maintain friends apart from your lover, there's a problem, and it isn't that you're too much in love. True love should make you stronger, not needier. Someone who truly loves you will encourage you to live, think, act, breathe, pursue dreams and take on challenges with his full support and love behind you.

Affection

Ensure there is enough affection in the relationship. Signs of affection are often physical, but there is more to love than physicality. How do you treat each other when one of you is sick, having a panic attack, is overwhelmed by life or is angry at the world? Look for those expressions of affection, whether it's a gentle touch, a shoulder rub, a call to say hello, a little help with the big project or even a comfortable silence.

About the Author

Annie Mueller is a professional writer and blogger. Since 2003 she has written extensively on small business, finances, parenting, education and personal growth, and has been published on Financial Edge and many other websites. Mueller attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in English from Mississippi State University.

Photo Credits

  • jonrawlinson on Flickr.