You’ve experienced the feelings that come with falling in love with someone new. The butterflies, the constant desire to chat with or text them, and the sudden need to buy a completely new wardrobe just to impress them—even if your wallet completely disagrees.
When you first start crushing hard on someone, the feelings can get really intense, and there’s a sense of excitement that’s difficult to put into words. It actually feels a lot like falling in love for the first time. As a result, it can be difficult to distinguish between romantic love, platonic love, like, and even infatuation. In this article, you will learn how to tell if you love someone or are just used to them.
When it comes to platonic love, things are a little easier. To begin, Merriam-Webster defines platonic as “a relationship characterized by the absence of romance or sex.” That means you can have meaningful platonic relationships with your friends, family, and anyone else you care about. Platonic relationships allow you to get to know someone and build trust in a safe, supportive environment. You can bond over common interests and hobbies, as well as provide and receive emotional and mental support when needed.
In a statement, Dr. Nikki Coleman, a licensed psychologist, said, “Platonic love is what we feel when there is trust, safety, and validation in a close relationship.” “In a relationship, it’s the feeling of being good and cared for.”
When it comes to romantic love, things can get a little more complicated, but it’s not always impossible to figure out. According to Maria Sullivan, dating expert and vice president of Dating.com, there are some really clear signs of how you know if you love someone or that will let you know when your feelings are genuine.
How do you know if you Love Someone?
How do you know if you love someone? You’ve probably heard that “love works in mysterious ways”—so how are you supposed to wade through all of that mystery and determine whether it’s real or not? Love, according to social media, movies, and pop culture, is supposed to feel like fireworks and butterflies. You should hear music and “see the light.” But the truth is that falling in love isn’t always so dramatic. Here are a few scientifically proven methods for determining whether or not you love someone:
1. You’re excited and a little nervous.
When you know you’re in love with someone, you’re genuinely happier. It’s almost as if you’re on a natural high. Spending time with your partner excites you, and just looking at the dozens of selfies you’ve taken together is enough to put a cheesy smile on your face. Being in love with someone, on the other hand, makes you a little nervous. You’re worried about what the future holds. Because you know how important it is for your relationship to last. “Many people compare love to something they cannot afford to lose or let pass them by, yet the uncertainty of its unknown outcome is exciting,” Maria says.
2. Everything is fresh and exciting.
Another way to know you’re in love with someone is that you’re excited to do things you’ve done a million times before because this time you’re with your partner. They’re the first ones that come to mind when you see a romantic movie trailer or when you’re planning a quick trip to the nearest fast-food restaurant. You’d even sit through four hours of a sporting event if it meant spending time with them. Maria explains that this is because love causes a new change in you. “When you’re in love, the foundation of your perception shifts.” “It reminds me of being really awake and excited,” she says. “You’ve found someone who makes everything feel new and exciting, even if you’re just sitting on the couch watching TV.”
3. Your relationship appears to be simple.
Being with your partner isn’t difficult. You don’t have to struggle to spend time with them simply because you want to. Even the arguments aren’t as heated as they were in previous relationships. While all couples argue and bicker, when you’re both in love, your relationship takes precedence over your pride. You aren’t concerned about being the first to cave or lose the argument because you can’t imagine your life without this person. Even one day apart feels like an eternity.
4. This person is literally on your mind all of the time.
To know that you’re in love, your partner is constantly on your mind. You may have a flash of inspiration to call them because you haven’t spoken in a few hours. Or perhaps you go into a clothing store intending to buy something for yourself and end up buying something for your partner as well. Love is unwavering.
“When you like someone, you can brush it off and go about your day,” Maria says. Also, when you’re in love with someone, you’re constantly thinking about them, but it’s not overwhelming. “When you love someone, you are physically, mentally, and emotionally influenced at any/all times” (s). “It is a calm and secure reality that you will crave on a regular basis,” Maria says.
5. You become a little envious.
It’s natural to feel a little jealous. Jealousy becomes dangerous, however, when you become obsessed with what your partner is doing; to the point where you do things like look through their phone without their knowledge. That is toxic behavior, and it could indicate that you are not in a healthy relationship.
6. You develop a stronger attachment to them.
Another way to know if you’re in love with someone is if you’re always attracted to your partner; so it’s natural to want to be all over them all of the time. You want to be affectionate towards your second half, whether it’s simply holding hands or turning your cuddling into an intense make-out session. That’s something to consider if you’re completely repulsed by them.
7. You want to introduce them to your family and friends.
When you’re truly in love, you want to include your partner in all aspects of your life. Because you genuinely want your relationship to last, you want to introduce them to your family and friends.
8. You develop feelings of empathy for your partner.
When you’re in love with someone, you begin to see them as an extension of yourself; so when they’re hurt, nervous, or overjoyed about something, such as being accepted into a school or program they really wanted, you feel the same way. Empathy for your partner makes you want to make small sacrifices for them, such as getting up and going to the store for soup and medicine when they’re sick. Small gestures like that are simple to carry out when they are for someone you care about.
9. You’re improving as a person.
When being with your second half makes you want to improve yourself in some way, whether it’s setting new goals or having a more positive attitude, you know you’re in love. Your partner should encourage you to improve, but not in a constant negative manner. “If a partner isn’t building you up, you should consider looking elsewhere for love – regardless of what other characteristics he or she may have that you adore,” Maria says. When you’re truly in love with someone, you want them to succeed just as much as you do because you want to create a secure future for both of you.
10. You begin to make plans for the future.
When you truly love someone, you know you won’t let them go anytime soon because you love them, if ever. So you begin to include them in all of your future plans, whether it’s going on vacation or deciding what you want to do after high school. You begin to consider your partner when making major decisions because you want them to be present for everything. When you’re in love, your significant other becomes your permanent “plus one.”
How do you know if you Love Someone or are Just Used to Them?
In any case, “using” implies dishonesty and manipulation, which can have serious consequences. Manly claims that “the deception factor causes significant mental and emotional harm.” “It’s natural to feel sad, upset, and angry when you realize a partner has been using you. Using another person is completely disrespectful, and being disrespected, especially by someone who claims to love you, never feels good.”
Here are signs of how you know if you love someone or are just used to them.
1. They Display Disinterest
If someone maintains a relationship with you while showing little to no interest in your daily life, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
According to Tina Sadri, LMFT, a licensed marriage, and family therapist, “most often when someone is using another, they will show signs of disinterest in conversations; in the other’s activities of choice; and in their likes and dislikes.”
It may appear that your partner is not fully listening when you speak, or that they frequently forget to ask how you are, despite claiming to care. Their disinterest may manifest itself in less obvious ways, such as asking other people to accompany them on dates, according to Sadri.
This is frequently done to distribute attention across a group. If you go on dates with other people, your partner will not have to devote as much time or attention to you. They will, however, be able to claim that they “took you out” in order to maintain the relationship.
2. They Become Suddenly Extremely Nice When They Want Something
A partner who is using you will likely come on strong when they want something, even if they appear distant and uninterested most of the time. They’ll go from being checked out to super nice — and then ask for a favor shortly afterward. That is not to say that a partner who requests assistance is automatically a “user.” There’s nothing wrong with helping someone you care about out of a financial bind, taking over one of their chores when they’re too busy, or putting in more effort into the relationship when they’re going through a difficult time. These actions are expressions of love and support.
3. They Have Surprisingly High Expectations
If your partner is abusing you, they may have unrealistic expectations of your accomplishments; however, this is not because they are rooting for you to succeed. Rather, they’re invested because they want to know what you can do for them. “They may, for example, expect to be invited to events that will benefit them socially or financially,” Sadri says.
It’s why your partner wants to accompany you to work events or invites you to hang out with a friend who knows someone in a field they’re interested in. It will all be about networking and moving up for them. They may also try to persuade you to take higher-paying jobs and then guilt-trip you if you say no. It will appear that they are encouraging you, but this is only because they see something in it for themselves.
4. You are uneasy in their presence.
According to Amalia Sirica, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker, your body can reveal a lot about someone’s intentions; therefore, pay attention to how you feel whenever you talk to or hang out with your partner. Do you experience jitters? Do you tensile? How often do you get angry for no apparent reason? Physical and emotional reactions like these could be a sign that your partner isn’t looking out for your best interests, even if you can’t pinpoint why.
5. They Infringe on Your Rights
If your body is reacting negatively, it could be because your partner pushes you past your limits. So keep an eye out for instances where they cross the line, both big and small. “The way someone responds to your boundaries can reveal a lot about them,” Sirica says. “A person in a relationship with you because they like you will usually respond to boundaries with ease and understanding, even if it takes them a minute at times.”
If your partner is manipulative or “using,” the opposite will occur. Sirica predicts that they will become enraged and push back against your boundaries, rather than changing their behavior as you have requested. In other words, they will not be courteous.”
6. The Relationship Is Unbalanced
Consider the balance of your partnership if you’re feeling used. “Generally, a partner who is using you will have a lopsided, inequitable approach in the relationship,” Manly says. “This can take financial, emotional, or physical forms.” You may feel as if you’re always the one who has to pay for things, plan things, buy gifts, and do chores — and they never seem to meet you halfway. “If your partner appears unwilling or uninterested in returning the favor, chances are they’re using you on some level,” Manly says.
7. They are entitled
Similarly, they don’t appear to feel bad about taking and never giving back. They may even find a way to make you feel as if you “owe” them something. “People who are users often feel entitled to give nothing or ‘get’ more than they give,” says Manly.
8. They’ve Instilled Resentment in You.
With all of the favors, guilt-tripping, and outlandish requests, you may begin to feel some form of resentment, clinical psychologist Kim Chronister, Psy.D. tells Bustle. This is not the case in a balanced relationship in which everyone’s needs are met equally. If you’re being used, you’ll begin to feel like a dried-up well.”When a partner engages only for superficial reasons — a desire for sex; to fill a loneliness void, or to have a companion for an event,” Manly says, “you’re being undervalued and under-appreciated.”
9. The Relationship Doesn’t Grow
Take note if your partner claims to want a “relationship” but doesn’t seem interested in actually committing. According to Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, a user will not want to move the relationship past the early stage where they get everything they want — sex, attention, someone to hang out with — without any commitment or responsibility.
There could be a variety of reasons for this. “We are a culture that values being in a relationship, and sometimes people want that feeling more than they want to be with the actual person,” Cohan says. “For someone who is being used, this can really take a toll emotionally because a person may feel like they are not good enough; that they are not a high enough priority for someone; that they can be easily exploited and question their overall sense of worthiness.”
10. They Become Defensive
If a partner is acting a little lopsidedly by accident, calling them out will result in an apology and different habits going forward. However, if someone is intentionally using you, you’ll notice that they become defensive and argumentative the moment you point it out, according to Keisha Pruden, LCMHCS, LCAS, CCS, a therapist and owner of Pruden Counseling Concepts.
Instead of being open to discussing finances, your sex life, or outside friendships, they will cut the conversation short. That is not acceptable. “If a person in a relationship is unwilling to listen to the other person’s concerns and work toward a mutually satisfying solution,” Pruden says, “it may be time to evaluate your situation and determine whether this relationship is beneficial.”
11. They behave differently when they are not in public.
If you’re wondering, “Am I being used?” you should also consider how your significant other acts in private. “Users can often be tremendously charismatic, and their appealing qualities can make it difficult to see what’s really going on,” says Manly. “However, partners who use others tend to give themselves away through a series of red flags that all have the same theme of being entitled.”
You may notice, for example, that they abandon the act of being nice behind closed doors after doing one nice thing. “A partner who is using you will frequently exhibit a sense of indifference,” Manly says. “A lack of investment in your thoughts, feelings, and needs is frequently a sign that you’re being used — and not being treated with the consideration and respect you deserve.”
How do you know if you Love Someone Quiz?
A lot of things change when you know you are in love with someone. You have a lot of dreams; do you feel like you’re in a movie most of the time when your love interest appears; Do you see the person you love as a god or someone who will save your life? Falling in love is magical because you idealize someone who is only human and are able to discover their unique characteristics. So, do you believe you’re in love? Take our quiz to know if you are in love with someone or just used them!
Questions & Answers
1. Are you envious of anyone who gets too close to this person you adore?
A. Certainly, always.
B. On occasion
2. Are you annoyed that the person you like isn’t paying attention to you?
A. Yes, on occasion.
B. The majority of the time
C. Not at all.
3. Do you ever lock yourself away for hours thinking about a specific person?
A. Quite frequently.
B. Not at all.
4. Do you frequently inquire about a specific person?
B. You’re only interested because you’re curious.
C. Not in a romantic sense.
D. Never, ever.
5. Do you intend to spend the rest of your life with that special someone?
A. All of the time.
B. On occasion
D. Right now, you don’t need anyone in your life.
6. Do you stutter whenever you see a certain person?
C. On occasion
D. You have no idea
7. Does your heart race whenever you are in the presence of this person?
B. On occasion
C. No way
D. You really can’t afford to fall in love right now.
8. Do you enjoy spending time with this person?
A. Quite a bit, in fact.
B. To a lesser extent
C. On occasion, but not in a romantic way
D. No, you’d prefer to be alone.
9. Do you feel lonely or lost when this person leaves?
B. Why are you feeling this way?
C. Yes, because you’re missing out on the conversation.
10. Do you prefer to sit next to this person all of the time?
A. Yes, it’s very close.
B. Sure, why not?
C. Yes, but it’s uncommon.
D. No, you can’t stand people at the moment.
How do you Know if Someone Loves you Secretly?
In an ideal world, we’d all be able to express our true feelings to the people we care about. However, there are numerous reasons why we may not be forthcoming with our emotions. One of the most common reasons is a fear of rejection or a reluctance to risk a workplace friendship.
Furthermore, some of us were raised in families that actively discouraged emotional outbursts or declarations of love. It’s also important to remember that men are taught to be calm and rational at all times and to suppress their emotions whenever possible.
So, how do you know if someone is secretly in love with you? Here are some warning signs to look out for:
1. They immediately come to your aid.
Someone who cares about you will go out of their way to assist you when you are in need. They will defend you if they see or hear other people insulting or mistreating you. They will also jump at the chance to assist you in practical ways, such as running errands or fixing things.
2. They appear to be fascinated by you.
Consider the last time you fell in love. You probably wanted to ask your crush a lot of personal questions. If someone behaves similarly to you, especially if they are interested in the minutiae of your life, they may be developing intense romantic feelings.
3. You appear to encounter them on a regular basis.
Stalking is obviously pathological behavior and not a sign of true love, but someone with an innocent crush on you may manipulate social situations so that they are likely to run into you. For example, they may decide to arrive or leave work at the same time as you. If you’re both going to the same party or meeting, don’t be surprised if they suggest walking or driving there together. In essence, they will look for reasons to spend time with you.
4. They look for any opportunity to touch you in public.
This can be quite deceptive. For example, they may quickly touch your forearm to get your attention or punch you on the shoulder to make an important point in the conversation. Of course, if they touch you inappropriately, this is harassment and should not be tolerated.
5. They make inside jokes that only the two of you understand.
In-jokes are an excellent way to build intimacy. They are attempting to form an emotional alliance with you if they frequently refer to events and ideas that only you understand.
6. They will always listen to you but will appear uneasy when the subject of your relationships is brought up.
There’s no getting around it: hearing about someone’s love life isn’t fun when you have a crush on them. If your friend or colleague usually enjoys listening to you but appears upset or jealous when you discuss your current or previous relationships, this is a sure sign that they see you as more than just a friend.
7. They can’t take their eyes off you.
This one is straightforward. If someone can’t stop staring at you, they probably find you attractive. Another reliable indicator is intense eye contact during a conversation.
8. They are cool and confident in front of others, but they are a little awkward around you.
If someone is in love with you, they will want to make a good first impression. As a result, they may become self-conscious and even clumsy when speaking with you. Keep an eye out for nervous signs such as blushing or stuttering.
9. They consistently show empathy.
One of the pleasures – and annoyances – of being in love is being able to feel someone else’s emotions as keenly as your own. Someone who consistently empathizes with you, feeling content when you are happy and depressed when you are in pain, has developed strong feelings for you.
Physical Signs to Know Someone is in Love with you
Michelle Fraley, relationship coach and founder of Spark Matchmaking, believes that learning to read your partner’s body language can help you know someone is in love with you. “Nonverbals play an important role in healthy and loving communication,” she says. The following are six body-language (physical) signs that someone is in love with you, even if they haven’t said it yet.
When someone is in love, they will try to close the distance between you as much as possible. According to Fraley, you should think about the following four questions:
- How often do they make an effort to approach me?
- Do they get closer to me while I’m sitting?
- Do they place objects in your physical space, such as their drink or phone?
- When they talk, do they lean in closer or place their body (arms and legs) near your physical body?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, it’s clear that this person wants to be physically close to you. According to clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., for this proximity to be a love signal, it should feel comfortable and easy, not charged. “When someone is in love, they often lean in toward their partner in a way that feels different from being sexually interested,” she says. “It’s a lean-in that says, ‘I like you.'” ‘I want to be near you.'”
Consider this: You rarely touch people you don’t care about, whether it’s a kiss from your partner, a hug from your mother, or a pat on the back from your best friend. Keep an eye out for the potentially unnecessary use of touch, as this is one of the signs that someone is in love with you. “Do they make an effort to touch you?” Fraley inquires. “When they talk, do they brush up against you or touch your arm or hand?” If your partner craves your physical touch, it’s another sign they’re in love.”
3. Pay close attention
Have you ever wondered if your date is paying attention to what you’re saying? According to Fraley, “attentiveness is a huge sign that someone is falling in love; they’re enthralled.” “Love frequently brings tunnel vision,” she says. So, if it appears that your partner is able to focus solely on you and is not easily distracted by other stimuli, this is a good sign. Furthermore, Fraley adds that full attention is not only a sign of love but also of respect.
4. Make eye contact
Eye contact is so powerful that researchers have used it to elicit feelings of love. So, if your partner is looking into your eyes deeply and comfortably, it communicates a lot about their desire. “Because eye contact is such an intimate and vulnerable act, intense eye contact can be very meaningful,” Fraley says. “Deep eye contact, or holding your gaze for at least four seconds, may indicate love feelings.”
You might notice this gesture (or lack thereof) while standing, sitting, or following a heated conversation about your relationship. According to Dr. Manly, “crossed arms often indicate that someone is closed off to feeling loved or giving love.” “When someone is ready to love and be loved, their heart space will be open rather than closed.” One of the signs that someone is in love with you is a much more relaxed stance.
6. Protective actions
According to Dr. Manly, it is common for people in love to feel extremely protective of the person they care about. This can take the form of gestures or extra assistance. “When we love someone, we are concerned about their safety,” she explains. “A person in love will often take great care to protect [the person they love], whether it’s by opening doors, walking street side, or putting an arm out in front at a crosswalk.” If they appear to be extending an extra hand without hesitation, they may be in love. And if a person’s actions make you feel loved and cared for, you’re probably safe to say those three words without fear of being left hanging.
How to Know if you Still Love Someone
In relationships, there are often times when you are forced to reexamine your feelings for whatever reason. Perhaps you’ve been in a long-term relationship and believe your feelings have changed or faded. Maybe you’ve already broken up with a partner, but you’re having second thoughts about it. Do you still have feelings for them? Love isn’t always a black-and-white affair, and it can be difficult to discern your emotions when you’re stuck in the middle.
1. Recall the first time you questioned your feelings.
Feelings do not shift overnight. It probably took you some time to fall in love and form a committed relationship with your partner. Allow yourself enough time to interpret your feelings because acting too quickly can irreparably harm your relationship. Allow yourself some time to unpack all of your emotions without feeling guilty, and don’t try to rush to have it all figured out.
2. Evaluate your interactions with your partner.
Consider your levels of patience and physical attraction. Have you been snapping at them more recently out of annoyance? Has your desire for physical intimacy waned? Perhaps you’ve found yourself needing more and more space away from them. All of these are, of course, red flags. It’s natural for a relationship to cool off after the honeymoon period is over, but it shouldn’t become cold!
3. Consider what your life would be like without this person.
This must be done before taking any decisive action. Is this person in your ideal world when you think about your future? Even if they are the most important person in our lives, we can sometimes take our loved ones for granted. We don’t realize that their absence would shatter our world as we know it. When you imagine your life without them, be completely honest with yourself—would your life suffer or flourish?
4. Recall the reasons why the relationship ended.
If your relationship has already ended and you’re wondering if your love is still there, consider what caused the breakup. It’s easy to romanticize an old relationship, but don’t forget about reality. Sometimes people simply give up too soon without even attempting to solve their problems. However, there are some fundamental issues that simply cannot be resolved.
5. Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of being with this person.
Try to figure out how your overall quality of life changes when you’re with them and when you’re not. It may not be a healthy relationship if they become your #1 priority and your work performance, family relationships, and self-care all suffer as a result. However, if you truly feel like a better person when you’re with them, you don’t want that to go away.
6. Be brutally honest with yourself about why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Are you contemplating returning to this person because you are lonely? Loneliness, while painful and debilitating, is not a reason to spend time with someone. Jealousy is another strong emotion that can cause you to pine for an ex but doesn’t fight for them simply because you don’t want to see them with someone else. That is not the basis for a strong and long-lasting relationship.
4. Remove yourself from this person’s path.
Make time to do things that make you happy or that help you clear your mind. If you haven’t spent much time apart from your partner before, this is a good opportunity to experience what life would be like without them. It can also assist you in unwinding and determining whether the stress was causing you to doubt your relationship. Not only will some alone time allow you to sort out your feelings without being pressured by your partner, but it will also allow you to compose yourself and decide how to proceed.
5. If appropriate, discuss your feelings with the person.
If you’re in a relationship, communicate with your partner with tact. Because you don’t want to sound accusatory or hurtful, begin your sentences with “I” rather than “you.” Instead, talk about how you’ve been feeling in your relationship. If you are not currently in a relationship with this person, consider whether it is appropriate to express your feelings to them. It may not be appropriate if it has the potential to play with their emotions or if they have a new partner.
6. Decide on a strategy and stick to it.
In other words, get out of the horrible gray area. If, after all of this, you still want to stay together (or get back together), go for it. Break up completely if you want to. You must fully commit to whatever you choose! If you are in a relationship but are constantly doubting it, it will suffer. You can’t expect love to flourish if you have one foot out the door. If, on the other hand, you decide you no longer love the person, you must call it quits. You won’t be able to start a new, independent life if you keep asking yourself, “what if?
Attraction and affection can change and grow over time, and people express and demonstrate love in a variety of ways. Any type of emotional commitment can satisfy the human need for connection, as long as you put forth the effort to maintain it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I really love someone?
True love extends beyond the physical.
You will be able to see beyond the flaws. You will genuinely want what is best for that person, even if it is not best for you. You’ll be practical. You’ll notice their flaws, shortcomings, and weaknesses, but you’ll decide to stay.
What does true love feel like?
People almost immediately feel the desire to confess and share everything about themselves, whether negative or positive, in relationships that have the potential for true love. They simply do not want to be restrained in any way. They are immediately brave, wanting to know and be known regardless of the outcome.