Hollywood movies paint a picture of love as a consuming, passionate feeling that causes a person to feel butterflies in their stomach and an intense longing to be with the other person. But like everything with Hollywood, this depiction of love is a fictionalized one.
What the movies are depicting is infatuation. The true love that powerful and long lasting relationships are built upon is something deeper that takes time to develop. Understanding the definition of love and knowing how to identify it can help you determine if what you are feeling in your relationship marks the beginning of a strong foundation.
What It Means to Be in Love
When you first meet someone you are attracted to In terms of looks and personality, your brain starts to produce a range of chemicals that make you feel excited and happy. This is infatuation and it can often precede true love, but it also all too often gets mistaken for love and when the feelings of infatuation begin to fade and reality sets in, people wonder where love went.
The true definition of love is what occurs after this step. Falling in love can feel great in the moment. Being in love is what is truly fulfilling. When you experience love in this way, your feelings will include:
- Acceptance – Nobody is perfect. As you get to know your partner better, you will learn things about their habits and personality that may annoy you. With love, you recognize that these are less than ideal, but accept them as a part of your partner.
- Intimate Knowledge – When you are first getting to know someone during the infatuation stage, you will likely only know a few surface characteristics. Love means you will know your partner better than others. You will understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as being vulnerable enough to share a similar intimacy.
- Comfort – Infatuation can prompt many people to crave time and attention from their partner almost endlessly. Love will cause you to feel comfortable on your own because you know that your partner is consistent, even if you are not physically together.
- Priority Shifts – During the infatuation phase, most relationships still consists of two individuals. As your love deepens, your priorities will begin to shift so that your partner and your relationship become more important to you than individual priorities.
Long Island Psychology offers relationship counseling to help you strengthen the love you feel in your relationships. Attend counseling or with one of our experienced therapists at our new location in Roslyn Heights, or at either of our offices in Garden City and Rockville Centre to get started.