How Do You Know When You Are In Love?By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
The answer to whether or not you are really in love depends upon which part of you feels in love and which part of the other person you are in love with.
"How can I know when I'm really in love?" asked Ruby, a client of mine. "How can I know if what I feel for Jim is really love or just infatuation? How can I know if this feeling will last?"
Ruby and Jim had been dating for 11 months and were considering marriage. Ruby, 32, felt "head over heels" in love with Jim, but she had felt head over heels in love with Adam, as well as with Mark.
"That feeling didn't last with Adam or Mark. How do I know it will last with Jim? How can you tell when it's the real thing?"
"Ruby," I told her, "the answer to this important question depends upon which part of you feels 'in love' and which part of Jim you are 'in love' with."
Loving External or Internal Qualities
I explained to Ruby that she can be in love from her ego wounded self, or she can be in love from her true self - her core self, her essence, her soul self. If she is in love from her wounded self, it will be about external things, and the love will not last. But if she is in love from her soul self, it will be about internal things, and it is very likely that the love will see her through all the challenges that come up in relationships.
"Ruby," I asked her, "What do you love about Jim?"
"I've been thinking about that a lot," she answered. "It's kind of funny some of the things I love about him. I love his walk and his smell. I love the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles, and I love his laugh. I love just being next to him. There is something about his energy - I don't quite know how to talk about it - that I love being around. I love his touch. I love his kindness and sensitivity and his deep caring for people. Even though he would not be considered a handsome man, I love how he looks. There's something about his mouth and the look in his eyes that just fills me with love. And I love the passion he has about both his work and his hobbies. I love his playfulness. We laugh a lot together. "
"How is this different than what you loved about Adam or Mark?"
"I think that with both Adam and Mark I was pretty much blown away by their looks - they were both hunks. Both of them were also very successful and very social. They took me to nice places and great vacations. Jim is not as financially successful nor as social, yet I feel much safer with him. I think I also fell in love with Adam's power in the world. He really seemed to have it together and his sense of power turned me on. But he wasn't always nice to people, and he wasn't always nice to me."
"So it seems that with Adam and Mark, your wounded self was in love with their wounded selves - their more superficial qualities of looks, money and power. But it sounds like with Jim your essence is in love with his essence. The qualities you say you are in love with are qualities that won't go away over time, because they are soul qualities. People can certainly lose their looks and their money, but it is unlikely that Jim will lose the qualities that you love in him, especially if you frequently express your appreciation for these qualities."
"So I really am in love with Jim! This really is different than my other relationships. You know, I think that because of my Inner Bonding practice, I've finally grown up. The more superficial qualities just don't seem to be so attractive to me anymore!"
Deepen or Heal your relationship with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.
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Do you believe that if you punish someone you love with anger and withdrawal, they will change and be the way you want them to be? They may sometimes do what you want to avoid your anger or withdrawal, but they will not love you more - you cannot control their love. Today, remember why you love them.
By Dr. Margaret Paul