After years of getting it wrong, your new relationship has you wondering, did you get it right? Is this relationship The One? Do those butterflies in your stomach mean you're in love? Or are you in infatuation? There is a difference – but they can feel the same at first. Compare your relationship to this checklist to see if you're ready to walk down the aisle with Mr. Forever. Or if you need to kiss a few more toads before you find Prince Charming.
Love versus Infatuation: What's the Difference?
It sucks to admit it, but most of us have horrible track records with relationships. We could win awards for our battle stories. Some past relationships might be worse than others. But you learned things from each one. You learned what you value in a relationship, and what signs will make you tuck tail and run.
Our high expectations can make dating more difficult, but it also weeds out the weak. You're done wasting time with meaningless relationships. And you're done getting hurt. You swear you won't let anyone else into your heart until you're sure it's right.
Then you meet someone who seems different. You start to get excited at the thought of seeing him after spending time apart. You enjoy spending time together. Your love life is amazing. Everything seems perfect. But, after some time, the excitement begins to wear off. You start to fall into a routine. Now, you're starting to notice things that irritate you.
It can be something minor like he snores, or he spends hours playing video games without talking to you. If you start thinking about breaking up with him over something like this, go ahead and do it. You're not really in love.
If you can consider the idea of breaking up without it causing you a meltdown, you don't love your partner. You just got caught up in the honeymoon phase of the relationship when everything is perfect.
When you're really in love, you'll have these signs.
1. You Make Sacrifices
When I say you make sacrifices, I don't mean in an unhealthy way. You'll never do something you completely object to because you love someone. And if someone loves you, they would never ask, nor allow you to go against your values for their selfish gain.
I'm referring to healthy sacrifices. Maybe both of your favorite football teams are playing at the same time. Your team is winning against your biggest rival (let's say LSU versus Alabama for example. Hey, a girl can dream that her team can bring Bama down a notch, even if it's a long shot). Your partner's team is trailing by three, but they have the ball.
If you love your partner, you will switch the game over so they can watch their team. You'll root right along with them while keeping up with your team's score on your phone. I knew I loved my boyfriend the day I started supporting his favorite team as much as I do my own. Memphis Tigers – LSU Tigers. I still get to scream Geaux Tigers, regardless of which game I'm watching! It's a relationship blessed by the football gods.
2. Mr. Right Will Make You Want to Be a Better Person
You may not like to admit it, but we're all works in progress. We all have things we need to improve, to change. That's part of life. If we didn't grow from our experiences, are we even living? What fun would life be if we stayed the same person, did the same things, and never learn from our mistakes?
You should never let your partner criticize you or try to force you to change. These signs point to him being a controller, and that is not a healthy relationship. Take it from a 10-year veteran. If your partner makes snide comments about your hair or your weight and tells you what to change, walk away. You answer to your bosses at work because you have to. You shouldn't have to have a boss at home too.
The right person will inspire you to change things about yourself that you find lacking. But they will never ask you to change in any way. Let's say your girlfriend is into protecting the environment. Now, you've become more eco-conscious and find ways to do your part. Not because she told you to, but because she inspired you to make a positive change.
Or your boyfriend likes to do things outdoors, but you're more of the indoors type. But one day, you decide to take a walk around a park to kill time while you're waiting to meet up with some friends. During that walk, you may realize it's actually pretty relaxing to be exercising outside. So you make it a part of your daily routine, whether he's with you or not.
3. Good or Bad, You Want to Be By His Side
When you're in a new relationship, things can get awkward when life gets messy. Like if your partner lost their job or they had a death in the family. If you aren't willing to offer support in their time of need, you're wasting your time with the relationship. It's not true love.
When you love someone, you want to be there for them, no matter the situation. You want him to know he can lean on you. To understand that you'll be by his side to help him with whatever he needs. You may even step in and take control if he seems like he's too lost to do it.
But if it was you going through something, he would be the same way. If your dog dies, the right person would be at your house with a box of tissues and a comforting embrace. You can ugly cry all you want, and they'll just stroke your head and hold you: no complaints, no sarcasm, no avoidance. The right one is going to be with you through thick and thin. The same way you'll be there for them.
4. You Can Be a Weirdo in Front of Them
We all have a goofy, weird side that we only show to a select few people. Maybe it's the girl you've been best friends with since you were both swimming in your mother's uteruses. Or maybe it's your frat brother, who's closer to a brother than your biological bro. The point is, we all have a side we hide from the public eye.
But when you're in the right relationship, you can fly your freak flag without being judged. In fact, not only does it not seem to bother him, but he seems to enjoy seeing you lounging around the house with your hair in a messy bun and wearing Cheetos stained pajama pants. Being able to let your guard down and be relaxed with someone is a sign of trust. You trust that person to accept your snorts and your rambling babble because you know they love your little imperfections.
Chances are, your partner has things they're self-conscious about when you first start dating. But as you become more comfortable around them, they'll become more comfortable around you. Maybe your boyfriend hesitates to take off his shirt around you because he has a belly.
Once you find your groove, he'll start jerking his shirt off, popping you with it, swinging it over his head, then tossing it at you. Afterward, he'll probably grab his belly and rub it while doing a sexy little dance. If he's comfortable doing this, girl, that boy is crazy about you. He'll be the one you wake up next to fifty years from now.
5. You Enjoy Doing Stuff to Make Them Smile
Relationships can be tricky to navigate at first. You're not sure what the boundaries are, and you might find yourself questioning every action before you do it. You don't want to step on your partner's toes or cross an invisible line. Buying gifts is an example. Some men have an issue with women buying them things. They feel that it's unmanly. However, other men love to get gifts from their women.
The same goes for men. Some men feel that they shouldn't buy women anything because it's a sign of sexism. Women shouldn't need men to buy them anything. They can do it themselves. Other men, like my pain in the butt boyfriend, take delight in paying for everything. Some men enjoy being providers, and it takes a certain kind of woman to understand that it's not a sign of 'rescuing the damsel in distress' but a 'you're my Queen, and it's my job to take care of anything you need".
Queen or not, if you love your partner, you'll find ways to prove it with little gestures. Maybe you decide to cook their favorite meal. Or you bring over a chick flick and a bottle of wine when your girlfriend says she had a bad day at work. Regardless of what you do, you're doing it because you love your partner.
You're expressing that love by being thoughtful. These gestures often show you just how much your partner actually knows about you. You might be shocked at how much they know just from observing you. My boyfriend often brings me a Pepsi when he stops at the store on his way home from work. Just as I usually grab him a sugar-free energy drink if I stop.
We don't do it to score brownie points or because the other one did it first, and we're returning the favor. We do it because we love each other. It may seem insignificant to some people, but once you find a true relationship, small gestures like this mean more than a large anniversary gift. It's random, and it's selfless.
6. It's Natural
It's common to experience a bit of weirdness in the beginning stages of a relationship. You're feeling each other out, trying to see how well you two connect and if there's potential. You may need a learning curve before you can start relaxing around each other. But when it's the right person, you'll start to notice it from the beginning. You'll feel comfortable with them like you never have with another person.
You'll stay out of your head and live in the moment. You enjoy the time you're together. The way you balance each other out. You have a ton in common, and yet the things you differ in seem to be blessings. You still have your interests, so your entire world isn't wrapped up in theirs. But often, you'll find yourself broadening your horizons and trying new things together.
Neither of you will want to change anything about each other. You integrate into each other's lives like they were made to connect. You don't waste your time worrying about what's going to break you apart because now that you've found true happiness, you're not letting it go without a fight.
7. You Don't Fight – You Disagree
One of the main reasons that relationships fail these days is that people aren't willing to put in the effort to work things out when a problem arises. If you think every day is going to be roses and sunshine, you need to wake up. A real relationship will have problems.
One of you might have had a bad day and end up snapping on the other.
This behavior isn't a sign that your relationship is in trouble. Don't start panicking. Now, if you're arguing every day and it becomes intense, that's when you should start to consider moving on. But a slight spat is nothing to freak over. Ask any married couple. They will tell you it's not the fights that matter. It's how they made up afterward that matters.
If you're serious about a person, you give it all you've got. You make compromises. If you fight, you work things out, and you forgive each other. You don't hold the fight over their head for weeks or months after.
If you truly love someone, you do everything in your power not to cause them any pain or sadness. If your relationship is meant to be, you and your partner will fix problems as they happen instead of pretending they don't exist. Because being with each other is worth the effort.
Are You In Love Or Infatuated?
As you have seen, true love is a different kind of relationship. It's selfless and considerate. It makes you into a better person, and it can encourage you to go after your dreams. There is nothing you can't accomplish with the right person by your side, cheering you on. Don't try to force a relationship to be what you want it to be. The right relationship won't have to be forced or changed. It just occurs. And with a little work and open communication, you and the love of your life can live happily ever after.