I’ve never dated. How will I know when I’m in love – and if he loves me?
While we all experience love differently, our elder has some tips and strategies.
Hi! I just turned 18 last week and I’ll be honest, I’ve never had a boyfriend. I was raised by a single father most of my life and wasn’t allowed to date – it didn’t matter because boys were never interested in me anyway. I’m kind of shy, modest, and a lot of people say I’m wise beyond my years but the truth is I don’t think I’m that wise but I do have common sense. The truth is, I one day would like to have a boyfriend and maybe have a husband who loves me and grow old with, but I’ve never seen a relationship or marriage actually work out, and was taught by women that all men want is sex and that they don’t think about anything else about it.
My questions are: how will I know when I’m in love and how will I know when he’s in love with me? How will I know when he’s being honest with me and not just telling me what I want to hear or how do I know I can trust him and know he’s the right guy? What do I do if we break up or he leaves me for someone else and breaks my heart? Love just seems like the most confusing thing in the world and to be honest, I’m scared to date because I hate feeling heartbroken and that’s what I’m most afraid of, is getting hurt like my friends and parents did.
How to find that partner who you can love and who loves you is a question that many of us have asked. Unfortunately, neither I nor anyone else can tell you when you will find someone who will be a good fit for you (the one). Only you can answer that question.
I understand why you are questioning your feelings. They are overwhelming. I understand why you are asking questions such as: What is love? How will I know when I am in love? How will I know if he really loves me? What makes you want a romantic relationship with one person and not another? How does your heart choose a partner? Why does love end?
There’s no single way to know whether you’re really in love. Everyone experiences love differently, and at different times. Determining whether you are in love is very subjective and personal. What feels like love to you may be nothing more than attraction to me.
There are many different kinds of love and there’s no single way to know whether you’re really feeling love or just a serious infatuation.
Being infatuated comes from a completely different place than being in love. Being infatuated comes from a place of being needy and empty within. There is a belief that you can be filled through external means such as physical intimacy, attention, and approval from someone other than yourself.
Let’s back up and try to answer the question, “What is love?”
Everyone must define what love means to them.
As an example, my wife and I define love as: caring about all aspects of each other as a person; having a romantic desire for each other that transcends infatuation and/or lust; having intimacy – an emotional bond that is formed by our need and desire to share parts of ourselves with each other; being attached – possessing that long term love that appears after the initial stage of lust and infatuation fades; commitment – knowing that the we have each other’s back, no matter the circumstances; collaboration – treating each other as an equal partner and focusing on win-win cooperation to solve problems; resolution – developing ways to resolve conflict in a way that’s truthful, without resorting to righteous blame or personal character attacks; and giving and receiving – the ability to create a relationship based on equality, fairness, and balance.
Likewise, you must define what you are looking for in a relationship:
In my opinion successful relationships share some common traits. These are:
- Trust – Is your boyfriend reliable and dependable? Can you count on him as the “rock” in your life? What about you for your boyfriend?
- Honesty – There can be no trust if there is no honesty in the relationship. Even the “little white lies” can chip away at the fabric of your relationship.
- Intimacy – Are you and your boyfriend closely connected physically, emotionally, and intellectually? Do you share activities?
- Mutual respect – Respect in your relationship means that you and your boyfriend value who the other is and understands and does not violate the other’s boundaries.
- Effective communication – Is communication in your relationship effective and uplifting? Effective communication focuses on issues and not on attacking character.
- Conflict resolution – Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let it go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Once the matter is resolved, they forgive and forget. Most importantly, successful couples have the ability to learn and grow through their interpersonal difficulties.
Traits of a good relationship partner (you and your partner):
- Be in a relationship to give more than you get.
- Be emotionally mature.
- Be open and willing to be vulnerable. Willingly expresses your feelings, thoughts, dreams and desires, which allows you to truly get to know another person.
- Be willing to change. Realize that you are not perfect and that there is room for improvement.
- Be honest and have integrity. Understand that honesty builds trust between people and strive to live a life of integrity so that there are no discrepancies between your words and actions.
- Be humble – willing to admit mistakes and work to correct them. Be willing to work to resolve conflict in a constructive manner.
- Respect and value your partner’s independence. Be supportive of their life and goals separate from yours. You are not clingy or needy.
- Be empathetic.
- Be affectionate.
- Responsible. You are able to take care of yourself and your responsibilities which includes being able to manage his finances efficiently.
- Positive about life. You focus on solutions and not problems, find opportunities in obstacles, look at the brighter side of things and are mostly cheerful.
- Able to see the humor in life.
How to find love:
Love does not just happen. There is work to be done to attract love. Consider these tips and strategies to find love:
- Instead of focusing on finding love, focus on building a great relationship with yourself. Before you can find love, you must first build a trusting and loving relationship with yourself.
- Stop believing that you will never find love or build good relationships with people. Believe that you are good enough and worthy of being loved. Your thoughts create your reality, so train yourself to think positively, expecting the best.
- Understand what you have to offer. I believe that love means sharing yourself with someone else who accepts you for who you are. Therefore, if you expect someone else to accept you, you must know what self you are projecting.
- Build confidence. Be confident about what you have to offer. When it comes to finding love, there is no right personality type, no special trait that will get you ahead. So know what you have to offer and own it. Improve your self-esteem.
- Learn to be vulnerable and show gratitude and pleasure to a partner openly and without feeling ashamed or guilty.
- Know what you want in a partner but realize that chances are very slim that you will find anyone who meets every item on your checklist. Know what your relationship needs are in friends and romantic partners.
- Learn to be an effective and honest communicator. Ask yourself, “Am I honest and sincere with myself and with a potential partner or friend? Am I expressing myself in full integrity to what I truly think and feel?”
There are no guarantees in love. Love is loaded with risk. However, every time you love, you grow. So start to know and accept yourself (This doesn’t mean you do not continue working to be even a better version of yourself). Figure out what love means to you (This means there will be failures and heartaches, but growth). Determine what you want in a partner and a relationship. And last but not least, understand that love and relationships are dynamic. As you grow, all of this will change and grow with you. So get out there and learn, laugh, live, hurt, love, and be loved. It will be okay.
Article #: 471294