By Elizabeth Arthur
True love isn’t felt in a heartbeat or in a second glance.
True love takes time to take shape.
And contrary to popular belief, love at first sight isn’t really love at all.
In fact, love at first sight is nothing but an infatuation.
It’s a strong surge of romantic and sexual emotions that overwhelm you.
Before you wonder what true love is all about and what the signs of true love really are, you need to understand that it’s very important to take things slow in a relationship if you want to ensure its success.
When you first start dating someone or fall for someone at first sight, what you experience isn’t love.
As much as you feel like you’re head over heels in love, you really aren’t.
You’re just experiencing the first stage of love, a small part in the stages of love known as the infatuation stage.
What is true love then?
True love, ironically, can’t be defined.
It’s the kind of love many of us chase after, but few truly find or realize it until it’s too late. So what is true love really?
True love is the kind of love and affection you have for someone that isn’t bound by the laws of human behavior. Human behavior is simple to understand. When someone hurts you, you get angry with them. When someone gets lucky or gets a better job, you get jealous of them. And when someone shatters your ego or humiliates you, you want your revenge. This is human behavior, because these traits are engrained within us.
But when you experience true love with someone, your primal instincts and behavior change only towards this person. True love transcends typical human behavior. It makes you a better human being towards a special someone.
When does one experience true love?
True love takes time to bloom. What you experience in the first year or so of a relationship is infatuation and sexual attraction.
As the bursts of infatuation start to fade with the first few arguments and the first few misunderstandings, that’s when love starts to enter the picture. And this is where most couples start to drift away emotionally, or even end up breaking up because of incompatibilities.
If you’re in a relationship where both of you truly understand each other and feel compatible with each other, and most importantly, love each other, chances are, you’re experiencing true love already.
Experiencing true love in your life
Is true love a once in a lifetime experience? Not really. You can experience them many times over, and with many people at the same time. You can experience true love with your spouse or your lover, your children and any other person you’re attached to in your life.
But true love too, can fade with time. For most of us, our first love is the first time we would have experienced the purest form of true love. We aren’t afraid to let this special someone into our heart and we aren’t afraid to experience heartbreak because we still don’t know what heartbreak feels like. We’re fearless in love and we love passionately with all our heart.
But when the first romance dies, the true love we had for our first partner too eventually fades, even if it takes years and several new relationships to overcome. And as we enter more relationships, most of us split into two groups. One that believes in true romantic love and the other group that convinces itself that true love doesn’t exist. The kind of relationships you’ve had in your lifetime can play a big part in your understanding of, and expectations from, true love.
And if you’re wondering whether true love and romantic love are the same, it really isn’t, even though we almost always associate true love with romantic love. True love is love in its purest form, while romantic love needs sexual attraction to stay alive.
True love can’t be forced
True love has to be experienced naturally and wholeheartedly. You can’t fake true love no matter how hard you try. If a couple fails to pass the test of compatibility in their infatuation stage, it’s pretty hard for both of them to ever experience true love.
On the other hand, if both partners can understand each other and relate to each other, they’ll start to love each other’s company and start to become inseparable. And eventually, this bond will turn into a pure and selfless love that we call true love.
The 12 signs of true love in a perfect romance
True love may be hard to define, but the signs to read true love can be clearly seen in every perfect loving relationship.
If you’re in a relationship and want to know if you’re experiencing the purest form of love, use these 12 signs of true love to find out for yourself.
1. Give and take in love
You give to the relationship wholeheartedly, without any desire or expectations of getting something back in return from your partner to justify your actions.
2. Pure happiness
Just watching this special person smile or laugh out loud fills you with intense happiness, even if you’re suffering or having a hard day.
3. Pain and anger
You get terribly hurt when your lover upsets you, but their actions never anger you. You may get annoyed or frustrated now and then momentarily, but you just can’t stay mad at them for long because staying mad or giving them the silent treatment hurts you more.
You make sacrifices for their happiness or wellbeing, even if they may never realize it.
5. The right effort
You go to great lengths and make an effort to improve the relationship, and play a conscious part in trying to please your partner and make them feel loved and special.
6. You can’t ever hurt them
When you’re truly in love with someone, you can’t even imagine hurting them, emotionally or physically. Payback is a strong human instinct, but true love makes you completely selfless.
7. You keep your promises
When you make a promise to them, you stick to your word even if this person will never find out if you broke their promise. When you experience true love, your moral conscience becomes very strong when it comes to this one special person.
In a perfect relationship, it’s good to have your own space to grow as individuals. But at the same time, if you truly love your partner, you’d see them as a part of your life. When you think of your future, you can’t help but see them by your side.
9. You share their burden
And you do that even if you don’t really have to. You can’t bear to see this special someone suffering. If they’re dealing with some issue, you’re always willing to offer them a helping hand even when you have your own difficulties to look into.
10 Pride and jealousy
You beam with pride when they achieve something, even if it’s the same thing you failed at. You may get jealous of a friend who outdid you, but when you love someone, jealousy never enters the picture.
You’d be willing to suffer, just to see them happy.
12. Their perspective
Everything you do, you keep your lover in mind and think from their perspective, be it about planning a surprise party or hanging out with your own friends after work. You don’t ever want to hurt your lover, so you always think from their point of view before making any decision that involves them in any way.
Are you experiencing true love?
If you’re in a relationship and aren’t experiencing these true love signs, don’t fret. Perhaps, your relationship hasn’t reached the state of emotional maturity that surpasses physical attraction or the stage of infatuation.
Take your time and test the waters. You can’t fall in love with someone by forcing yourself into the relationship. If it’s not working out, try to understand each other better. And if nothing you do can bring happiness back into love, perhaps both of you would be better off dating other people.
But at the same time, if both of you are already happy in the relationship, don’t try to change anything about it. Sometimes, selfless and unconditional love takes time to materialize. Remember, you can’t push yourself into the next stage in love unless both of you are ready for it.
As long as your lover and you are happy and understand each other, you’re already experiencing the perfect kind of love!
Use these 12 signs of true love to understand what true selfless love really means. And even if you’re not there yet, don’t worry about it. It’s only a matter of time before a happy romance goes the true love way!
A mom of two who’s currently working on a novel, Elizabeth Arthur lives in Cornwall. And when she’s not chasing her boys around the house.
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