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William Shakespeare, “Where art thou?” Who could better frame and answer the question of “What does it feel like to be in love?”
But in Shakespearean spirit, I will attempt to describe the intense feelings of love in a compelling and dramatic way.
The feeling of loving someone is so profound that its intensity does not diminish in time. The nuances of stirred feelings of devotion remain indelible in my mind’s eye, and I recall every detail of what preceded them.
Roger and I met at the freshman orientation event on our college campus. It was a typical introduction and get to know everyone session.
I had an instant fixation on him. Although I’m not the superficial sort, his piercing, deep brown eyes, wavy blond hair, and athletic build captured my interest.
And during that meeting, where I spent more time looking at Roger than the meeting’s facilitator, I could not help notice he was staring right back at me.
Could this be possible?
I had such low self-esteem and lack of self-regard then that I fervently believed that the college experience, much like high school, would be devoid of any male companionship.
But small butterflies of hopeful anticipation reared to the surface when he walked toward me after the meeting.
He confidently extended his hand and said sweetly, “My name is Roger. What’s yours? I have a feeling we’re going to be great friends.”
I smiled, and teasingly responded, “We already are.”
The rest is history, as they say, and without knowing it then, I found my souldmate.
My Initial Basic Instinct — Crush not Love
I remember calling Mom that day, letting her know I found the man of my dreams.
She listened intently and only responded with motherly devotion:
“Deidre, you’re a wonderful girl! Others will come to the same conclusion.”
But I wanted Roger to think so, too… yesterday.
I was so worried as I was falling head over heels with him that this would be unrequited love.
But in retrospect, at least at first, I was not really in love with Roger. I just did not know him well enough.
I was in love with the prospect of a loving relationship, something I witnessed others enjoying throughout my life.
Moreover, I was starved for attention, especially from the opposite sex. Somehow I needed someone else to fill that emotional void of lack, where I was unable or unwilling to give to myself.
So, between the head and heart battle, I thought it best to cautiously wade the waters of my infatuation with Roger.
I identified the early stages of love or infatuation almost as an outside observer.
“It’s the excitement of early romance,” I thought to myself.
When you first meet someone and your time together is intoxicating. Everything else feels dim by comparison, and you can’t wait to be together.
“Recognize you have a crush on Roger,” my inner voice advised. This does not mean you’re in love with him and helplessly devoted to him.
Love is a feeling of intense affection and caring, whereas a crush is that feeling of intense attraction and interest for someone. The major difference between the two is the time span during which they exist.
A crush lasts for a relatively shorter period and disappears once you realize that the person you had a crush on was not right for you, or the other person knows you’re not right for him.
Alternatively, when the stars align, that crush turns into majestic, unending, mutual respect and love.
Love is not just an intense emotion which makes you go crazy about the other person; it’s a way of making each other happy.
Love also involves knowing about your partner’s expectations and fulfilling them with no complaints—at least the ones that seem reasonable.
But I’ll get to what love encompasses for me in more detail.
Know that it took me about a year to transition from crush and infatuation to endless love and a lifelong commitment to my partner.
Here are 11 ways I knew I was in love. Many overlap infatuation and perhaps the only difference I could clearly recognize was that I wanted my life to be intertwined with Roger forever.
During “crush phrase,” I did not see a sustained future with my heartthrob.
So how did I know I was in love?
Let me count the ways:
1) Love is All Consuming and Intense
Love feels like butterflies in my stomach when I hear his voice or see him text me. I feel a compulsion to smile when I see him smile.
When people ask me what love feels like, I notice a little skip in my heartbeat. I look at the clock and see that 10 minutes have already passed since I saw him, and I can’t believe another second has gone by without talking to him.
Love overtakes most of my senses and consumes my body and mind. It’s such an indescribable feeling, which is why when people ask me what love feels like, I can only reply by saying, “you’ll know when you experience it.”
Love can be so intense and so strong that I forget everything and everyone around me and I live in a world full of love and happiness where nothing else matters.
When you fall in love, it leaves you with a feeling that you’ve never felt before… fall in love and feel the intensity! It’s exceptional!
2) Love is Comforting
Love feels like a hug. I feel as though I’m safe and can forget everything for a moment.
I feel the sensation of a big, warm embrace around me, basking in the glow of light and security. I feel so at peace and happy in it, immersed in blissful comfort.
Love feels warm and accepting, like a blanket on a chilly winter’s night. It’s a feeling that wraps me completely in a way that makes me feel safer than I have ever felt before.
I’m not saying I can’t be alone, because I can, but there is something about being apart from my significant other that makes me feel lost. It’s strange to say, but it feels like love helps protect me from life’s downward spirals, or at least softens the blows.
3) It’s the Way Toward Your True Self
It is psychologically and physically satisfying to be in a healthy relationship with someone whose values and beliefs are like yours and shares similar sentiments with you.
But even during disagreements, love dissolves any fear of being true to myself. I know he will not condemn me for expressing contrary views.
I can be myself — my best self — when I’m free to share my perspectives in an atmosphere of loving acceptance.
I don’t have to be perfect.
I don’t have to meet or exceed his expectations, although I may want and try to.
I can be myself, with the accompanying highs and lows, knowing that I’m loved unconditionally.
4) Love Underscores the Notion There’s No Place Like Home
Love makes me feel like home. It is a home from which I can always return. It is a haven from the world around me.
I may not do well, at times, navigating this chaotic world.
But it becomes an easier exercise knowing that I can seek the protective element of a loving bubble.
And when I can’t be physically home, I close my eyes, and just imagine domestic bliss soon awaits.
When I look into his eyes, I see my reflection ― but it’s not just an image of myself. It’s the very best image he sees in me.
I envision the soothing currents of romantic love ― it’s like a sweet beach in which familiar bustle has given way to peaceful relaxation.
I feel safe, secure, and loved in his arms. A sense of belonging overwhelms my senses and I drift off in the comfort of its warmth.
I’m never lost, as love helps me find my way home. It grounds me in its simplicity.
it protects me from having to weather the storm alone.
5) Love is Sacrifice and Compromise
My love turned me from a self-seeking individual to a self-sacrificing one. I can’t even imagine not loving Roger because my life is just so completely enriched and blessed by loving him.
Love is sacrifice because you have to give things up. It’s just that sometimes the things you have to give up don’t affect you at all.
But sometimes in a relationship, one partner sacrifices for the other. For example, I did not want to move to my husband’s hometown, but understood that he had to take care of his critically ill mother.
Sacrifices for others can strengthen relationships and drive most people to fall deeper in love.
But more often than sacrifice, the hallmark of loving partnerships is compromise.
Love is give and take; it’s partly about opening yourself up to others, but it’s also about accepting them the way they are.
Because love is both giving part of yourself away and allowing someone else to keep their own identity. Compromise is its essence, and it can be a balancing act.
Compromise is the art of managing expectations, resolving differences, and agreeing to live together despite your differences. More than any other skill, successful relationships are determined by the ability to compromise.
6) Love Brings Out the Best in You
You can more readily attain your personal best when you’re in love.
You become more generous and tolerant of the faults of others. Your sense of humor becomes more keen and your outlook on life becomes brighter.
Love can make you feel you can do anything. It is full of excitement, passion, and joy. It ignites your whole being.
Love gives you strength to overcome challenges that you never thought possible. It’s easier to deal with any obstacle when your partner offers uplifting reassurance.
People who are loved also are more confident and capable of achieving their goals. They will work harder at their jobs because they know there is someone at home depending on them.
They will take better care of themselves physically and emotionally because they do not want to disappoint those who love them and support them.
When people fall in love, they will often strive for greatness because they want to be the best person possible for their partner.
7) Love Creates a Sense of Longing and Missing
Love is a peculiar thing. It makes us feel a sense of belonging and a sense of longing, sometimes simultaneously.
When we fall in love, we feel a sense of high and low at once. Happiness, joy and fulfillment can be accompanied by anxiety, uncertainty and what feels like emptiness. This paradoxical mix makes falling in love such a profound experience.
The experience of romantic love is characterized by an intense longing for union with another, often accompanied by an acute sense of emptiness when separation occurs.
To love is to feel a craving inside that’s so strong it actually hurts. It’s an ache that rises from within, this hunger for the other person, the feeling that they’re special and unique, even when they’re just being ordinary.
Love is opening myself vulnerable to someone else, trusting them with layers of myself I didn’t know existed, feeling their heart beat intermingled with my own.
And when my loved one is no longer in my presence, I can feel my life is incomplete.
8) Love Feels Like a Rush of Brain Chemicals
Love is a chemical reaction in your brain, called “swooning”. Here is the scientific process of love:
Love activates the pleasure center in your brain, releasing dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the reward center in your brain. It’s responsible for feelings of euphoria and well-being.
Love also raises levels of norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter that makes you feel excited and alert.
Love also raises serotonin levels. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter most commonly associated with feelings of contentment and well-being.
There are many other neurotransmitters involved in the complex emotion of love, including phenylethylamine, endorphins, anandamide, and oxytocin.
These chemicals create intense physical reactions to positive stimuli, like when you’re in love or when you see your loved one across a crowded room.
The feeling of being in love is essentially the brain’s natural stimulant. It floods the body with chemicals that are powerful enough to open your heart, raise your self-esteem, and even alter your perception of the world around you.
9) Love is Possessive
The possessiveness of romantic love is not, of course, restricted to sexual fidelity. It also encompasses a need for emotional closeness and commitment.
A person in love wants his or her beloved to be emotionally committed to the relationship. The partner is valued for who he or she is, and it seems natural that the lover should want that person all to himself or herself.
If your partner is possessive, it’s usually a positive sign for both parties concerned because it shows that your partner is invested in the relationship.
However, if possessiveness turns into jealousy or fear of abandonment, these are red flags that your partner might have issues with trustworthiness.
For example, if your partner is possessive of you and constantly accuses you of cheating and only believes what he or she wants to believe, this is a toxic relationship which can eventually lead to breakups and divorce.
Usually possessiveness may be solved by communication between partners; however, some people simply aren’t able to handle this problem on their own and need outside help, such as individual, couple, or group therapy.
10) Love Looks Toward the Future
Love is a new beginning. It’s the idea of new experiences and a partnership of two halves becoming one.
You can love something or someone without being in love with them. You can give your heart to someone and then decide that they aren’t the right person for you, but you still care about them and their well-being.
And you can fall out of love as you fell in love.
But when you’re in love, it feels like you’re planning for the future with this special person. It’s the idea of a joined at the hip experience.
Even when things are going well in your relationship, there will be tough times ahead. That’s when it’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone.
If things are tough, you can lean on each other to make it through tough times instead of trying to go it alone.
11) Love is a Swirling Emotional Roller Coaster Ride
A roller coaster is a device that uses gravity and kinetic energy to thrill and frighten people.
Emotionally, we often feel the same — we climb with desire and anticipation and then go hurtling downward with fear and confusion, sometimes with stomach-flipping loops and corkscrews.
The most important thing in a relationship is to accept the twists, turns, ups, downs, loops, and off-ramps of your partner’s emotional roller coaster ride.
We need to remember that relationships are not constant; they ebb and flow like the tides. There will be times when you soar above the clouds in ecstasy and moments later when you plummet into despair.
It’s the nature of relationships — nothing stays the same for long.
These periods of emotional freefall — when we plummet — can be very frightening and even painful.
When we’re caught in an emotional freefall, it can seem extremely difficult to get out of our tailspin. That’s because getting off a wild ride isn’t easy.
But there is a way to do it: calm down before you get on board! This is what it takes to best deal with a wild ride: You have to stay composed during this entire ride or else you may never get back on again once you get off.
Final Words on What Love Feels Like
Love can feel differently for everyone. I’ve listed some commonalities, but love is ultimately an abstract concept, and it is hard to describe.
Love is a strong feeling of deep affection that’s unlike any other emotion I have ever felt. When I am in love, my emotions are heightened and the world feels amazing. Love makes me feel alive.
Love involves complete acceptance of another person or object, which isn’t always easy to achieve. Love means being able to forgive, forget about past mistakes, accept someone just as they are, and hope for their happiness.
Love means being patient with your partner even when they are not being the best they can be at that moment or time.
Love is comforting someone when they are down or sick, being there for them through thick and thin, laughing with them until your sides hurt, dancing with them under the moonlight.
It’s so much more than physical attraction or feelings of lust. Love is all these things combined into one beautiful experience… so many feelings that you would never expect to come all at once from just one word: love!
Love feels like a deep, meaningful connection.
Love feels like acceptance and trust.
Love feels like total acceptance of the other person.
Love feels like compassion and kindness.
Love feels like warmth and tenderness.
Love feels like a bond that cannot be broken.
No wonder why love is the most powerful emotion that exists!
If you’re in the process of deciphering your own feelings, trying to figure out if this is love, avail yourself to these expert dating and relationship tips.