Alright, let’s dive into this love territory because there’s a pretty big gap between just loving someone and being head over heels “in love” with them.
Loving someone is like this warm appreciation for who they are—digging their qualities, admiring their character, and cherishing the whole bond you’ve got going. But being “in love”? Now that’s a whole different beast, a deep-down emotion that can kind of take over.
Wrapping your head around this difference can be a bit tricky, especially when feelings are running wild. Lucky for you, there are these 8 signs that can help clear the fog. Ready to unravel the mystery? Let’s roll!
1) Comfort over passion
Here’s the deal: Comfort and familiarity can totally throw you for a loop, making you think you’ve hit the passionate love jackpot. You’re into their company, enjoy chilling together, and might even have this cozy routine that’s all your own.
But here’s the kicker—when it comes to that electric spark, that sizzling desire that sets your heart racing every time they walk in the room? Well, if it’s MIA, my friend, what you’ve got might not be the full-throttle love affair you’re thinking of.
Think about it like this: hanging out with this person is as comfy and familiar as grabbing your usual coffee and croissant at Blé Sucré every morning. Now, let’s say, this place closes down (which it doesn’t IRL). You’ll feel bummed for a short while. But guess what? You’ll find other places to grab breakfast. My point is: Genuine love is reserved for what you cannot imagine living without.
2) You don’t envision a future together
When you’re head over heels for someone, your mind starts playing the future movie reel. You dream about building a life together, traveling to awesome places, and sharing all those incredible experiences.
Take my past relationship with Sarah, for instance. We had a blast, shared laughs, and were like two peas in a pod. But when I tried to picture the long haul, I just couldn’t see her in the scene.
Growing old together, starting a family—those images just didn’t pop up. That was my cue, telling me that while I cared for her and loved our friendship, the whole “in love” thing wasn’t in the cards.
Bottom line – if you love someone but can’t paint a future picture with them, it’s a sure sign that the full-blown love bug hasn’t bitten you.
3) You don’t feel a sense of jealousy
Psychology says that jealousy is a complex emotion that can be triggered by a perceived threat to a valued relationship. Guess what? It tends to hit harder for couples who are “in love” rather than those just cruising with love vibes.
Jealousy is the kind of emotion that usually carries negative connotations. But it can actually be used to measure your level of emotional investment in a relationship. It’s that simple: When you’re not in love, the God of Jealousy can’t get under your skin.
Hold up, though. Being in love doesn’t mean you’re turning into some possessive detective. It’s just that a smidge of jealousy tends to tag along when you’re super invested and seriously care about where your partner’s attention is going.
4) Their happiness doesn’t affect yours
Truth be told: When you’re totally smitten with someone, what’s going on with them emotionally becomes a big deal for you too. You’re riding the joy train when they’re happy, and if they’re feeling down, it’s like a rain cloud over your own mood. It feels as if your emotions are doing a synchronized dance or something.
But, if you love someone, care about them, but the whole “in love” thing isn’t in the mix, their emotional rollercoaster doesn’t necessarily throw you for a loop. Sure, you want them to be happy, but if they’re having a rough day, it doesn’t cast a shadow on your joie de vivre.
My point being: If their ups and downs don’t affect your own own emotions, it might be a hint that the romantic love thing might not be in full swing.
5) You don’t feel the need to share everything
You don’t need a PhD in the study of relationships to know that when you’re fully invested in a romantic gig, there’s usually a strong sense of emotional intimacy and openness going on.
There’s often a natural inclination to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with them. It’s not about feeling pressured to give them a play-by-play of every single thing, but more like this excitement to share your world with them.
Now, if you catch yourself intentionally or unintentionally holding back the good stuff—like what’s going on in your head—it could be a sign that the deep emotional connection that comes with being genuinely in love might be missing.
6) You aren’t deeply affected by their flaws
When you’re “in love” with someone, their flaws can often affect you deeply. It’s not about being judgmental or critical; it’s about wanting the best for them and hoping they can overcome their imperfections.
You care so deeply about them that their flaws become a part of your world, too. You worry about how these flaws might impact them and your relationship.
But if you merely love someone, you’re more likely to accept their flaws without being overly bothered or affected by them. You acknowledge their imperfections but they don’t keep you up at night.
If their flaws don’t hit you at a deeper level, it could be a sign that you’re not wholeheartedly in love with them. You care for them but their imperfections don’t shake up your world like they would if you were truly in love.
7) You don’t miss them when they’re gone
When you’re “in love” with someone, their absence can feel like a piece of your heart is missing. Even if they’re just away for a short time, you miss their presence, their laughter, their voice.
In my experience, I once had a close friend who I cared about deeply. We spent a lot of time together and I truly loved her. But when she went on a vacation for two weeks, I didn’t find myself missing her intensely.
I was happy when she returned, but her absence didn’t create a void in my life. This was a wake-up call for me, indicating that while I did love her, I wasn’t “in love” with her.
8) You prioritize your needs over theirs
You know you’re “in love” in every sense of the word when your partner’s needs become as crucial to you as your own. Going out of your way just to keep them happy and satisfied becomes second nature to you.
But, if it’s more of a general love without the whole “in love” extravaganza, you might notice that your own needs and wants take the front seat. You care about them, but when things get real, it’s more about looking out for numero uno.
Now, don’t get me wrong—it doesn’t mean you’re some selfish or heartless person. It just hints that maybe that intense self-sacrificing emotion that comes with being “in love” isn’t the main event here.
Final reflections: Love is multifaceted
If you find yourself recognizing the signs mentioned in this article, remember, it’s not a cause for alarm. It’s simply an indication that your feelings might lean towards a deep affection and respect, rather than the all-consuming romantic love often portrayed in movies and songs.
It’s entirely okay to love someone without being “in love” with them. It’s a testament to your capacity for care, understanding, and emotional connection.
As you navigate your feelings, remember to stay true to yourself and your emotions. Love, in all its forms, is a beautiful part of the human experience. Reflect on your feelings, understand them and cherish them for what they are.
After all, as Lao Tzu said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”