Is it true love, just lust, or something in between? Here are 5 ways to tell the difference.
How do you know when you’ve found “the One?” Allow me to first dispel a common myth. Most of us have more than one “the One” in our life. With very few exceptions, we will all experience more than one great love in our lives. Each person who shows up as a great love is there to teach us a lesson (or two) and to bring us closer to unconditional love. Everyone who shows up as love in your life is one of your soul mates. Did you know you had more than one soul mate? We all do.
Another common myth is that you can discern true love within the first 3-6 months of a relationship. I’m sorry to say, it's just not possible. What you’re feeling in the first 3-6 month (aka the Honeymoon period) is a potent cocktail of hormones designed to make a man and a woman want to copulate to propagate the species. It feels sexy, but it’s really just Darwinism in action.
Please do yourselves and the population a big favor by not falling for it. I don’t mean to sound negative. There are lots of great things about that potent combination of oxytocin, serotonin and other chemicals. I’m just saying that if you think you’re thinking clearly while under the influence of the honeymoon hormones, you’re mistaken.
After the honeymoon phase begins to wear off, here are some things you can look for to help you determine the staying power of this One:
- Are you truly yourself around him? Does he understand (or at least humor) your handbag obsession? Does he really know how much you drink, smoke, shop, or eat Twinkies, and is he truly comfortable with it? Do you act the same way with him when you’re around each others’ friends?
- Is he truly himself around you? Do you know about his Three Stooges fetish? Do you know how many hours he spends gaming, and are you comfortable with that? One way to gauge how authentic he’s being is to check out if your friends see him in the same way you do. Obviously they won’t know him as intimately as you do, but they should have the general same impressions. Also, does he act the same when you’re alone together as he does around your friends?
- Do you trust him? Not just about monogamy (if that’s your agreement together) but do you trust him with your secrets, desires and ambitions? I believe that trust is a lot harder to come by than those emotions we call love. Trust is the number one barometer of longevity in relationships, in my experience.
- How do you fight? Do you, or does he, bring up old wounds, or do you fight in the present, about the current hurt? Can you disagree without attacking each other? Are you comfortable with disagreeing, or do you try to smooth things over? Couples in healthy relationships learn how to fight productively.
- If you weren’t having sex, how much would you still like him? Believe it or not, you will not always be wildly attracted to your partner. Even if he is an Adonis, familiarity tends to take the spark out of the eroticism in relationships. And while there are lots of remedies for bringing back the spark, the more you like about each other outside the bedroom, the easier those remedies will be to implement.
People tend to think that love just happens. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but long term love takes effort. It doesn’t just happen, but if you focus your time and energy on keeping your relationship healthy, the results will bring you a lifetime of JOY.
Click here to get a preview of the first chapter of my new book, The Soulmate Myth!