Many of us grow up on fantastical ideals of love, depicted in childhood stories and fairy tales or even by the poems and sagas in classical literature. As we have our own coming-of-age experiences, we often begin to realize that these ideas of love were unrealistic and that, in truth, there is much more ambiguity, confusion, anxiety, and yes- pain. You may question how to tell if someone loves you, and that is completely okay!
However, while those embellished tales of old may not have given us a complete picture, they weren’t entirely false, either, in their depiction of the possibilities of love.
It is not only possible but also quite doable to be in relationships where we feel secure and loved, even if the process of getting there isn’t straightforward, and that there are telltale signs of how you know someone loves you.
While the possibilities are definitely worth the effort, the process can be quite anxiety-inducing. Whether you’re in a long committed relationship, are just starting to get to know someone, or are in the middle somewhere, you can often find yourself asking whether someone you have feelings for reciprocates them back.
It is very normal to feel insecure about someone’s feelings for you or doubt your relationship’s nature. The good news is, doubt is no reason to panic. Doubt or uncertainty can always be a potential beginning for a process of learning. If you find yourself wondering whether someone loves you or not, start at the basics and as yourself these questions:
Do they offer you a safe space to communicate your feelings?
One of the ways we feel most loved is when we have a comfortable and safe space to be heard. This is key for offering emotional support (relating back to emotional intimacy) and shows that your partner cares for you. If you feel such a space is lacking, it is probably a good idea to think of what stops you when you want to express yourself to them but can’t? What sort of ideas do you hesitate to broach in front of them? Do you feel comfortable engaging in sex talk? Once you get a sense of what’s holding you back, you can have a conversation with your significant other regarding the issue and see if you can find common ground. The absence of such a space does not mean an absence of love. But it definitely means something needs alteration.
Do they appreciate and accept differences when they arise?
One of the telltale signs of a relationship where love is lacking, or perhaps a lack of perspective, is the inability of a partner to compromise or accept difference. This is why moments of conflict are so important to revisit and analyze in terms of how you felt during and after them. If you feel your partner can never see your perspective, or even when they do, cannot live with the difference in opinion, this might signal a problem. Again, this is definitely worth discussing with them; perhaps common ground or acceptance can be sought through discussion. Nevertheless, if you are in a loving relationship, it has to be one that allows space for differences to exist and even be encouraged. Part of loving someone involves wanting their happiness as much as you want your own, and this necessitates us affirming our loved one’s aspirations, even if we don’t entirely see the world the way they do.
Do they take an interest in your goals, aspirations, and dreams?
When you and your partner communicate, does your partner take an active interest in listening to what you have to say about your life? Are they willing to be open and listen to what you want from life, what you want in the relationship, and what you want outside of it in their careers, goals, and hopes? If the answer is yes, then you are most likely with someone who does love you. When someone chooses the act of loving you, they automatically want to get to know more about you. That’s where you build on the different types of intimacy in the relationship upon which the relationship then grows.
Suppose your partner, or the person you hope to have as a partner, takes an active interest in your life and is able to be supportive, be willing to go out of their way to help you achieve your goals, and work towards your aspirations together. In that case, the answer is probably yes!
This is one way to determine whether someone loves you — pay close attention and look at the way they respond when you share something about yourself. Next time you mention you want to do something, see if they’re willing to go the extra mile and ensure that you’re closer to your goal, assess whether they can offer you the support you need, and how that translates into your interactions. Watching closely can help you determine whether someone truly loves you or not, and is an excellent means to decipher between lust vs love.
Do they trust you?
Trust is an imperative step in building a healthy, loving relationship. Doubt is natural, but what one chooses to do with that doubt is up to them and a matter of freedom to make choices. If they trust you with the decisions you make in your life, and trust you enough to express vulnerability in front of them, and are able to let go of some o the control over a situation that involves both of you, then you are most likely with someone who does love you.
Remember that love cannot exist without trust, at least not in its most meaningful and fulfilling kind of way. Trust is necessary for love to grow and foster and for relationships to be nourished and enriched, and love and trust will always remain intertwined. Knowing that someone trusts you and that you trust them is a definitive means of answering how to tell if someone loves you.
Are you able to draw healthy boundaries in the relationship?
Drawing healthy boundaries in relationships is very important. It’s how you hold on to your individuality and make sure you are still your own person while being in a relationship with someone else. Boundaries drawn in relationships need to be respected and acted upon — someone who violates your boundaries repeatedly is not someone who loves you. Love cannot coexist with violation or hurt. If your partner truly loves you, they will ensure that you are not damaged and that they avoid doing anything that might upset you.
If you respect your partner’s boundaries, and they respect yours, chances are, you two are in love and are experiencing the purest form of love out there — one with respect, honesty, care, and trust.
Do they express love and care in day-to-day life?
Everyday acts of love are also an important indicator to keep an eye out for. Contrary to popular belief, love is not just a feeling, but also an active effort, a daily practice. Grand professions of love aside, what truly makes a lasting relationship is the work that is put in every day to sustain it, and the care that we show to our partner. This could range from things as small as saying thank you and please when requesting favors, or consciously thinking about our partners’ needs, how their day is going, what they would like to do later, if they need support or help in a particular issue, etc. If you feel your partner is there for you every day and that they put in the effort, without being asked, to make your life just a little better, then chances are they do really love you, and there is a solid base to work with in learning how to tell if someone loves you.