5 Signs of True Love – How to Know When It’s the Real Thing

Are you in love or lust? Is it true love or infatuation? Here are a few signs of true love, to help you decipher the difference between the two.

Signs of True LoveIf you’re still wondering if you’re in love or addiction, you may find Is It Love or Is It Addiction? helpful.

The answer to the “is this true love?” question is that it is probably a little of both. In that regard, this book is for anyone wanting to improve important love relationships, whether they are with children, parents, friends, peers, siblings, partners, or lovers. Love addiction is an inclusive term in that it includes men and women, both heterosexual and homosexual, who have been referred to as “addicts” and “co-addicts,” “codependents,” and “love avoidant.” It is for the single and the coupled. Love addiction may or may not include a romantic high or intimate addiction.

Here are five ways to tell if your love is the real thing…

5 Signs of True Love

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

And there, my friends, is one way to tell if you’re really in love: you’re looking in the same direction as your partner. You need to be focused on the same life goals if you want to stay in love for the long haul.

Your experience goes beyond your feelings

Be honest: do you like talking to your sweetheart? If you weren’t sweethearts, would you be friends? Can you see yourself accepting his or her foibles and weaknesses just as they are right now, in 10 or 20 years? Infatuation is defined by obsessive feelings and how you feel; true love is about how you act towards your sweetheart, and how he or she acts towards you. It’s not about feelings – if you’re in love, it’s about your actions.

You have similar life goals

If your life goals include living in Africa and your sweetheart’s goals involve staying put, building a home, and raising a family…then you might have to have a conversation about the future. I’m reluctant to say this, but it’s a myth that “love conquers all.” Infatuation is about short-term desires; true love is about long-term life goals and plans. One way to tell if it could be true love is if you’re both willing to compromise so you can both achieve your life goals.

A reader recently asked about declaring his love to someone who is moving away. If you’re in a similar boat, read Starting a Relationship With Someone Who is Leaving the Country.

You have the same core life values

Do you have similar spiritual, moral, or ethical beliefs?

Signs of True Love

5 Signs of True Love

Relationships in which one partner is, for instance, Jewish and the other is, say, Muslim, make it difficult to forge a strong life together. Of course, if you both have lukewarm spiritual beliefs, then it may not matter if they’re in opposition…but if you follow your faith faithfully, you’ll need to address it sooner or later. Infatuation and love addiction ignores spiritual differences; true love makes your spirituality stronger.

You feel accepted and good about yourself

Do you feel good about who you are and where you’re going in life when you’re with your sweetheart? When you’re not with him or her, do you feel secure, confident, and happy with your relationship? Infatuation often involves feeling insecure, self-conscious, or unhappy about who you are; true love is about feeling supported and accepted.

One sign of true love is whether you can disagree without feeling unloved.

You aren’t on the rebound

Sometimes people fall into relationships because they feel insecure or sad about a previous relationship breakup. If you’ve recently broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, read about avoiding love on the rebound. Infatuation is about attraction for the wrong reasons; true love involves accepting and loving your sweetheart because of who he or she is.

I welcome your thoughts on true love versus infatuation, but I can’t offer relationship advice. It may help you to share your experience here, though. Writing can bring insight and help you see your relationship differently.

To learn more about the signs of true love, read Are You Really in Love? 8 Signs of a Serious Relationship.


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25 thoughts on “5 Signs of True Love – How to Know When It’s the Real Thing”

  1. Thanks for your thoughts on true love, Jeff! You have a beautiful website, and I’m grateful for your words here.


  2. The most common source of problems in marriages is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after about 5 years, and wondering where the love went.

    It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has nothing to do with attraction. Love is a promise to do 4 things.
    1. To accept everything that you know and do not know about him now.
    2. To accept him as you both age – for better of worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health for as long as you both shall live. Even if he is disfigured by an accident or crippled by illness, you accept him.
    3. To forgive him later. Since neither of you is perfect, you both depend on each others’ forgiveness.
    4. To encourage him to improve. This 4th one gives purpose to your relationship – otherwise it will get boring.

    If you are both ready to make and keep these promises to each-other, then you are ready to love. When you keep them, you demonstrate your love for each-other.

    Source: Attraction is a feeling. Love is a Promise. by Grenville Phillips, president of Walbrent College. (Loveisapromise.wordpress.com)

  3. Dear Love and Lost,

    If you and this guy have a real connection – if it is true love – then you will be together! If it’s meant to be, it will happen. You can’t do anything to make it happen, other than to be open to opportunities to get to know him better and to be yourself with him.

    He may be going out with one of your friends right now, but that will change. Many people date, and later realize they’re dating the wrong person! Finding true love takes time, and experiencing what it’s like to be with different people.

    I know I’m not being as helpful as you’d like, but I don’t know what to tell you — other than be patient. If this is true love – if you have a real connection with this guy – then he will see it too. I don’t think you should do anything like try to break up his relationship with one of your friends. I think that’s wrong, and will come back to haunt you. It’s bad karma!

    What do you think – what would you like to do? How would you like to approach this guy? Should you tell him you’re in love with him?

  4. Dear Laurie,
    I have this guy I have met at school who I knew I liked the first day he sat down at my table. But here odds the problem when I decided to finally pursue the relationship. He started to go out with one of my friends i was really let down but he had no knowledge of me liking him so they have been going out for two months. I can’t just stop liking him I really do think it’s love. When we sit down together there is a connection and I know he feels it too. I really don’t know what to do can you please help me??
    Thank you so much!!

  5. I think we can know the person loves us by how they treat us. Love cupid, does he want to spend more time with you than the other girls in his life? Does he respect you, and seek you out? Does he treat you well – and differently than he treats others?

    Sometimes the best way to figure out if it’s true love is to be bold, and ask where he thinks your relationship is headed. It’s risky, though!

  6. i still didnt know!
    how can we know that the person we love, loves us too??
    we are really good friends he doesnt want a girl friend like when girls ask him he will be like i’m waiting for my true love!
    thats what he said every day every night i think of him and of these things i wanna know the truth! one day i decided to ask him out but i really got a feeling that made me say no he does ask me out alot too!
    but i am confused my friend says its not true love cuz i am a teenager but my heart doesnt trust anyone except for him!
    i wanna know the truth i can’t keep waiting for him to go!!
    help me plzz!!

  7. Well I am only young but for about four years I have loved a very good friend of mine. We went to school together and we were always very happy in each others presence. When we would see each other at school we would run into each others arms and hug for a while, though it never developed into anything more. I love this boy and I cannot get him out of my head, he is the last thing I think about at night and when I wake up in the morning. He does not know that I feel this way, though a couple of years back I told him I liked him. we do not go to the same school anymore and we are both seventeen. He is the most beautiful and sweet and caring person I have ever met, and I don’t think I’ll meet anyone like him again. What am I supposed to do l, but love this wonderful person, who I never want to let go of.

  8. If your boyfriend insults or disrespects you, it’s definitely not true love! If you feel like crap when you’re with him, it’s not true love.

    True love means being treated with respect, kindness, and gentleness. And it takes time to grow true love – there is no such thing as love at first sight!

  9. Hey,

    My ex broke up with me about 3,5 months ago.
    We were in a 4 year relationship and it was true love for us both.
    She was always controlling most of the relationship and the last few months i took back some control and she didn’t like it so she dumped me all of a sudden.
    A week after she dumped me an old friend of her (that i also knew very well) showed up at her house and they started dating right away.
    They had 2 dates and then started a relationship wich they have for about 2 months now.
    I know this guy very well and he is the complete opposite of me.
    I’m a very loving, friendly and caring person who did everything for her and we shared the same interests.
    The new guy is very arrogant, selfish and has a short fuse so he get’s angry very quickly.
    I know from my ex’s mom that they don’t share any interests and that they go at a really fast pace, cause it took me almost a year till she fully trusted me and she already trusted him after a week in the relationship, and in the 4 years of our relationship she never had contact with him, we only saw him 2 or 3 times at a party and me or her never talked to him.
    I also know that he likes girls that are an emotional wreck so it was an easy target for him.
    When i was in a relationship with her we took things slow, we went to a theme park after 3 months and went away for a weekend after about 9 months and she already did those things with him within a month in their new reationship.
    I think it’s a rebound and her friends think so to, even her mother is on my side and tells me that my ex threw away something beautiful.
    My ex even told me a few weeks ago that she doesn’t know how her new boyfriend will react to her bad temper that she always has so she keeps it cool for now but her real character will show up sooner or later and the same with him.
    My ex also told me that she can’t start something new with me because she has a new boyfriend, so what happens if she breaks up with him?
    She’s also very cold and distant to me whenever i spoke to her through email but when i saw her in person she was warm, caring and very loving to me…
    I’ve seen alot of articles about rebound relationships and signs if it is a rebound and 9 out of 10 signs are true in her case.
    I think she just needs someone at this moment so she doesn’t have to think about the break up and our relationship.
    It’s also weird that alot of things that my ex didn’t want to do or wanted to be in our 4 years she does right now with her new boyfriend… I mean, she never wanted to hang out with my brother or sister, she didn’t talk that much about her feelings even though i always told her that i wanted her to be honest about it and more like that and now she’s in a fresh relationship and she’s open and honest to the new guy, she hangs out with him and his brothers and sisters and do fun stuff, she told me she matured but i know her personality and you can’t change that even though she’s trying to change for her new boyfriend, it’s not going to work for her, she’s to stubborn and likes things her way.
    I always agreed with most things she wanted to do and that worked but her new boyfriend is just like her, also stubborn, arrogant and very selfish so i think this is not going to work out for them!

  10. One can never experience true love, until one loves the person they themselves are, until one has gone inside to the depths of who they are, and has forgiven themselves and those that have caused pain … can one then be ready to fully love, it starts with the self, know thy self, forgive thy self , love thy self, deceptively simple. The truth will set you free (remaining true to your self) and then you will be free to fully love with-out conditions , to have real love.

  11. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I think it’s important to define what “true love” means, because love means different things to different people. For me, a simple act of love is listening when I talk – not reading the newspaper, fiddling with tools, or getting distracted by an ant on the counter.

    So, I guess a sign of true love for one person may be a sign of disinterest or neglect to another.

  12. Isn’t is funny how we keep ourselves in denial? We suffer through the same inconsiderate treatment over and over again and when we finally tire of it we allow ourselves to be led back to the same insanity by simply being told what we want to hear. The truth may be staring you right in the face but once you hear those words you question the truth, you deny that he could be so cruel and uncaring, you tell yourself he loves you when you know that the way he treats you is not the way you treat someone you say you love. When you’re always made to stand at the back of the line and it doesn’t look like your position is going to be changing, know this, there will always be someone that will be allowed to cut in front of you. When promises are never kept his word is no good. When his disrespectful ways are always your fault, and you have many, and he never has anything positive to say about you, he’s just playing you. You have something he wants and as soon as he gets it he’s gone, he won’t call, he won’t write, he simply “walks away” and justifies it by making your fault. My only expectation of someone who says they love me, is too “love me”, I don’t see that as an unrealistic expectation but, as I have learned, it is. Thanks to my denial I am empty, for two years now I have been lost to love and loving, I am lonely at times but when I consider the alternative I’m okay with being lonely, it passes rather quickly and there’s definitely no denying it.

  13. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello fitness girl,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment! One of the best ways to tell if it’s true love — not just infatuation — is time. It’s hard to be patient, but honestly…if you can wait, time can be one of the best signs of true love.

  14. hi

    I’m in a relationship right now and we’re celebrating our monthsary this day but sad to say he’s not on my side right now because he’s far. And I don’t know if its for real or its just an infatuation just as what you’ve said, but still hoping for the right guy to come.

  15. Hi Laurie,
    Thanks for sharing, I found what you’ve written very useful.I’m in a relationship where we don’t have the same life goals or share the same faith. Moreover, even though he tries to give me advice to improve myself, I feel put down. This suggestion stem from his concern yet I don’t feel accepted when I hear this. I wonder if I should still continue this relationship.

  16. un chico de 13 años me dijo q si queria ser su novia le dije q lo iba a pensar pasaron dias y me encontre a su hermana y ella me dije q habia pensado Y LE DIJE Q YA LO HABIA PENSADO Y LE DIJE Q LE DIJIERA Q SI Y LE DI DE REGALO UNA VELA Q DICIA TE QUIERO DESDE ENTONCES LO VEO MUY POCO Y YA NO ME COQUETEA Y TAMBIEN EL PROBLEMA ES Q A EL NO LO DEJAN TENER NOVIA Y AMI TAMPOCO ME DEJAN TENER NOVIO POR Q YO TENGO 12 AÑOS

  17. I know i’m in love, but my ex, that I quite possibly just cannot get over. It’s not like i’m refusing to but i’ve tried, and anything and everything I do just can’t get him out of my head. I know i love him because all I do when I think about him is smile, I felt something for him, and I still do. I get a tingling warm feeling inside me, in my heart, when I think about him. It makes me happy when I think about him..but the thing I don’t know is..am I falling in love alone. I haven’t talked to him about all of this, but I would just like to know before I make a fool of myself.

  18. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Lacie,

    I don’t know how common it is for women to experience infatuation when it comes to buying or selling homes…but I bet it happens fairly often! Realtors are often attractive, charming, friendly, expressive, and extroverted — and those qualities make them very appealing.

    Sometimes infatuation can just be enjoyed. It doesn’t have to have the potential to become a true love relationship…it can just be fun and harmless!
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …Establish Good Financial Habits – 6 Ways to Make Money Saving Tips Stick =-.

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Kerrie,

    I’ve had plenty of crushes on guys out of desperation — and have stayed in relationships out of both desperation and infatuation! It’s hard to break those relationships off because we think the right guy won’t come along, or we’re too old to wait for him.

    But, it’s much worse in the long run to stay in a relationship that isn’t right for us, versus waiting longer for someone who is a good match.

    Best wishes with this new guy….I hope you can see clearly if he’s the one for you or not.


  20. Thank you, this helps. I’ve just started dating a guy and I keep thinking that he’s not the one, but I can totally see us staying together just because there’s nobody else on the horizon for either of us. Thinking in terms of love versus infatuation versus desperation helps.

    – Kerrie

  21. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for dropping in, Waiting4TrueLove…and I’m glad to hear that you’re waiting for the real thing! I hope it comes sooner rather than later :-)

  22. Even when you know it’s not true love, it’s just infatuation, it’s still hard to let go. I’ve been infatuated with people several times but never been in true love. Thanks for these tips, they help to figure it out. It’s not just about how you feel!

    I’m waiting for true love, no matter how long it takes.