When people talk about love, it’s often spoken of in terms of butterflies and sparks, feeling swept off of our feet and falling head over heels. All the clichés really speak to the infatuation felt in the early stages of dating someone. The anxiety and anticipation of seeing them around the corner, the late nights spent getting to know one another better, the giddiness we feel when they walk in a room. It’s all well and good and an important part of relationships, but that so-called honeymoon stage fades and hopefully what’s left in its place is something deeper, more real, and longer-lasting. That real love can be hard to define, but when we feel it deep in our gut, we know what it is.
On the flip side, it’s just as important to know when we’ve fallen out of love and are over the relationship entirely. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, because we’ve been with our partner for so long and settled into a relatively comfortable routine. Getting to know what love looks like – and what it’s like when we’ve fallen out of it – is important to guiding our future (and present) relationships.
20 We Can’t Stop Staring
Like a beautiful painting, we just can’t take our eyes off our SO. We memorize everything about them: their favorite scars and freckles, the way their eyes crinkle up at the corners when they’re really laughing, the funny cowlick in their hair that can’t be tamed no matter how hard they try. We’re fascinated by them and can’t stop ourselves from staring at them to commit every one of their features to memory.
They don’t even have to be conventionally good-looking to attract us; it’s just something about them and the way all their parts come together that makes them appealing and impossible to turn away from.
19 We Can’t Keep Our Hands To Ourselves
Like not being able to keep our eyes off them, we also find it difficult to keep our hands to ourselves when we’re around someone we really, truly love. This doesn’t mean that we’re constantly groping them in public, but we feel the need to touch them in any way, including soft and subtle forms of physical contact.
Ruffling their hair, touching their knee in the car, brushing against their hand when we walk down the street. It’s all a way for us to remind ourselves that this person is real and that they’re ours! It’s an immediate sense of connection when we physically touch them.
18 We Bring Out The Best In Each Other
In a truly loving relationship, it should feel like a partnership where we’re both on the same team. Because of that, we’ll know that we’re really in love with a person when we bring out the best in each other.
A relationship where each person walks away feeling crummy or angry all the time isn’t good. In this one, we feel light and at ease, and as though we can conquer the world. They fill in all of our gaps and we do the same for them, like two puzzle pieces that fit together in a way that is complementary.
17 We Know Arguments Aren’t The End Of The World
In the past, every argument with an SO may have felt like the end of the world – or at least the end of the relationship. There would be a period of silence or total shutting down, or arguments that lasted for days. In this relationship, however, we know that little fights here and there aren’t the worst thing, and can instead foster more clarified communication, which benefits the relationship in the long run.
Knowing how to fight well without actually hurting the other person tells us that we’re really in love with our partner. We may have to man up and apologize, but they will too, and everything will go back to normal.
16 We Make An Effort To Like His Likes
Maybe we’re not so into baseball or sci-fi movies, but we make an effort to give them a try because they mean a lot to our partner. Part of a relationship is melding our lives together, and in doing so, we’ll learn more about their hobbies and interests.
If it’s important to our SO to occasionally watch baseball games with them, then we will, and it won’t feel like a chore because it’s something that means a lot to them and something that they genuinely enjoy. We’ll even give an honest attempt to learn the rules and perhaps pick favorite players! And hey, who knows, maybe we’ll end up liking it for real!
15 We Genuinely Want Him To Be Happy
Relationships go through rough patches and sometimes, it’s actually the ending of a relationship that is the healthiest thing for both partners. Love is a selfless act, and sometimes breaking up is the most selfless thing we can do, if doing so means that they will be genuinely happy.
It can be difficult for us to do the thing that is right when we care about the other person, but we’ll know that we’re truly in love when we make the hardest decision that's for their own best interests. Being compassionate is one of the most important parts of a relationship, even if it comes at a cost.
14 It Feels Effortless
While other relationships felt like a series of mind games that left us feeling worse off than when we started, this relationship is different. We never have to think of conversation topics when we see them, because everything flows naturally. We don’t feel the need to force milestones upon us because we’re certain that they will happen in their own good time. We don’t have to watch what we do or say because everything just unfolds naturally.
Feeling entirely ourselves means that we feel safe enough in our relationship and secure enough in our love for him, because we know our partner appreciates us for who we are.
13 We Enjoy The Parts About Him That Make Us Crazy
Contrary to what some people might say, we don’t have to love everything about our partner. However, aspects about their personality or habits (like, say, leaving their socks around the apartment) aren’t quite as irritating as if they had been done by someone else.
When we’re in love, we see everything through rose-colored glasses, including any parts about our SO that would normally drive us crazy. Our partner isn’t perfect and neither are we! Loving someone with their flaws, not in spite of them – because that’s what makes them who they are – is a good sign that it’s the real deal.
12 We Jump To His Defense
When we care deeply about another person, we can’t stand the thought of anyone talking negatively about them. Like jumping to the defense of a sibling when someone tries to criticize them (even if we might say the same thing), we are defensive of our SO, and they will always come first.
Rather than defending them because we’re in denial of their faults, we defend them because we feel the need to protect them. We’re aware of their flaws, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay for other people to point them out. And besides, we love them anyway!
11 We Want To Know All About Him
Like an obsessive schoolgirl with her first celebrity crush, we want to know everything about our SO. What was their childhood like? What’s their favorite movie or genre of music? Do they have any geeky hobbies or interests? We want to know their entire story, the tale behind everything that makes them who they are.
In other relationships, we may have used our partner as a sounding board or echo chamber, someone we could talk at rather than talk to. In this relationship, we want to know all about our partner to get a better understanding of who this person is. Everything about them, the tiny details of their life, fascinates us.
10 We Can Tell Him Anything
In a solid relationship, our partner should operate like a best friend, where we can tell them anything. We can be our real self with them, and that means discussing all the messy parts of our life that we might otherwise have kept locked up to deal with on our own (or with the help of an expensive therapist).
Unlike relationships that don’t run as deep, we’re past the point of wanting to appear flawless and easy to understand. Now, we feel secure and comfortable enough with him to tell him some of the more complicated parts of our souls, and invite him to do the same in return.
9 We’re Happier Doing Nothing With Him Than Something With Anyone Else
Back in our single days or in our days of casual dating, we may have always been itching to make Friday night plans in order to have something to do. Nothing made us happier than going out dancing with the girls! Now, though, it’s a different story.
Rather than spend hours and tons of cash picking out the perfect outfit to stand around in at a club, we’re much happier sitting at home with a takeout pizza and Netflix, cuddled up with our SO. We’re so content to be in their presence that we’re much happier doing nothing with them than anything else with anyone else!
8 Everything Makes Us Think Of Him
When we’re in love with someone, they become a vital part of our life. They are almost always on our mind, and so we can’t help but think about them when we go about our day and they’re not around. We’re not talking about just thinking about seeing him later, we’re talking about seeing someone eat a bagel and remembering our SO’s bagel order; or seeing a poster of their favorite sports team and taking it to be a sign.
We think about the big stuff too, like what they might say about a specific problem we’re dealing with, and how we know we’ll feel better once we talk to them about it.
7 We Feel Totally Secure
Previously, relationships were a source of instability for us. Sure, we might have made it FB official, but that didn’t stop us from feeling as though the other shoe was going to drop and we’d be dumped in a snap.
In this relationship, we feel safe and secure. We don’t panic if they don’t text back right away or freak out if they like someone’s photo on IG. We don’t worry that they’re going to think we’re “crazy” if we unload some emotional issues on them, because they have made it clear to us how much they care about and love us – flaws, neuroses, and all. Love is about trusting someone, and we trust their feeling for us.
6 We Dislike The Thought Of Losing Him
When we really, truly care about someone, the thought of losing them is unbearable. Love is a very vulnerable thing, and in loving someone, we’re opening our heart up to the risk of it getting cracked. This person has the power to hurt us, we feel for them so deeply, and that’s a very difficult emotion to feel!
Even if we feel stable and secure in our relationship, it’s the idea of losing them to circumstances beyond either of our control that has us gasping for breath and feeling something heavy in the pit of our stomach. It’s a gut feeling when we love someone so much that the idea of losing them takes our breath away.
5 Conversations Are Painful
Communication is at the core of any healthy relationship, but when we’ve fallen out of love with our SO, conversations with them can feel downright painful to endure. What was once so easy and effortless that it made time fly by now feels exhausting. It's tiring to learn anything new about them or have enough subject matter to cover over increasingly rare dinner dates out of the house.
When talking to our partner has stopped feeling like it’s worth the effort it takes, it’s a red flag that we’re over the relationship. We don’t want to try as much anymore, even if it’s just talking, because we no longer see the point.
4 He’s Constantly Getting On Our Nerves
We used to love all the quirks that made our SO who they are, but now we have to stop ourselves from criticizing them whenever they do just about anything, because they’ve become so annoying! Those habits used to be cute, but now they make us want to grind our teeth in irritation.
Everything they do (or don’t do) is a nuisance. If this sounds like your relationship, it could be because you’ve fallen out of love with your partner. Do yourselves both a favor and cut them loose for someone more compatible.
3 We Feel Alone In The Relationship
A healthy relationship is one where you both feel like you’re on a team, taking on the world together. Ideally, it’s a case of love between two people who grow to become best friends and family.
If this doesn’t sound like your relationship, it could be because you’re feeling more alone than together, like you’re two separate entities entirely. Our partner is someone we should be able to lean on during difficult times, but if we’re handling everything on our own and not letting them in anymore, it might be because our feelings for them have considerably cooled and we don’t think they should know that part of us anymore.
2 We Don’t Care If He’s With Someone Else
Jealousy is a normal feeling in a relationship, so long as it doesn’t mutate into harmful or controlling behavior. Feeling a little nip of jealousy at a person who checks out our SO is totally understandable, and means that we feel protective over this amazing person we get to be with.
When that goes away, it could be because we’ve fallen out of love with our partner, and don’t even mind the idea of them getting with someone new! This apathy is a huge sign that the relationship is over, because we essentially don’t care about our SO since we’ve already checked out of the relationship ourselves.
1 We Don’t See A Future Together
When we’re truly, madly, deeply in love with someone, we’ll imagine a future together with them. Whatever that involves depends on the people in the relationship, but usually, when things are going well in a relationship, we’re not imagining the end of it.
That changes when the relationship has lost its spark or we’ve fallen out of love. Instead of imagining a wedding or shared family vacations or kids, there’s just blankness. We no longer have any hope or excitement for our shared future because we don’t really want them to be in it anymore. In fact, we kind of want to be alone.