How do you know love?

The 12 differences between love and falling in love – how to define falling in love and protect yourself from mistakes in feelings?

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At the heart of almost all songs, movies, poems, and books is true love. It’s a sentiment that poets and artists have sung about and portrayed at all times. But true love is often confused with another feeling – falling in love.

COLADY psychologists will teach you to distinguish true love from illusory falling in love. It’s enough to know a few basic signs.

Elena Tolkacheva, COLADY psychologist and expert, tells you how to tell the difference between falling in love and being in love.

Elena Tolkacheva, the owner of an international dating agency and COLADY expert

Falling in love


It is born gradually, sometimes it takes a long time, because the object of adoration is studied from all sides. But it can last a long time, sometimes a lifetime.

It can turn heads to madness and irresponsibility in terms of actions (unprotected sex, dangerous adventures, strict diets, change of residence, including moving to another city, leaving the family, up to divorce, etc.).

If you don’t know how to tell the difference between love and falling in love, pay attention to.

1. What attracts and excites you most about the person?

  • Infatuation. As a rule, in this case you are mostly interested in your partner’s physical characteristics: his or her silhouette, eyes, stature, a slant in the shoulders, a man’s face, etc.
  • Love. You care about your partner’s personality in general. Physical attraction and attraction to the person is present, but only in conjunction with the personality characteristics and qualities of the partner. True love is the perception at all levels of all the qualities of the person. You care about his slight unshavenness, strong back, manner of drinking coffee in the morning and communicating with colleagues, paying at the store and chipping wooden figures on the balcony – everything, without exception.

2. What qualities appeal to you in a partner?

  • Infatuation. In this state, the number of qualities of your partner that you admire is very limited. Maybe they have an effect on you that makes the earth go away from under you, but these “head-spinning factors” are limited to a charming smile, the way they walk, or, for example, a perfume scent.
  • Love. True love is when you love a person not just “every crevice,” mole, and bulge. You love not only “every crack,” mole, and bulge, but all of his qualities, sides, and actions (admiring the good ones, and condescendingly teasing the not-so-positive ones). Any minus of a loved one is immediately turned into a plus, or simply accepted as fact, and accepted as is.

3. the Beginning of your romance

  • Falling in love. Sense flares up instantly – from a casually thrown look, a touch of the hand, a short dialogue and even a casual meeting, for example, in the company of friends. It is similar to obsession. Once lit by a match from a single smile of a partner, the feeling can also be quickly extinguished by the winds of change, barely a person’s character is revealed.
  • Real love. It always comes gradually. It takes time to understand, realize and fully accept a person. It is impossible to love with all your heart someone you know nothing about. You can, of course, delude yourself – “I love him, and that’s all, no matter what he is,” but true love always requires a test of time.

4. Continued interest in your partner

  • Infatuation. When this feeling is present, your interest in your partner is now blazing hot, then it subsides for days, or even weeks. The reason is that falling in love does not have deep roots, it is superficial, and underneath there is nothing that could fuel a permanent interest in the person.
  • True love. It never subsides. Not a day passes (sometimes even an hour) that you do not think about your partner. You constantly want to see him, to be near, to hear his voice. And if in love, the separation is easily tolerated, but for a truly loving person, even a day apart – can not be tolerated.

5. The effect of feeling on your personality.

  • Infatuation. Primitive infatuation with your partner (a proven fact) is disorganizing. It relaxes, reduces concentration, and displaces rational thought. Falling in love is known for spontaneity of action and a romantic veneer behind which, in most cases, only illusions are hidden.
  • True love. Genuinely deep feeling is a creative phenomenon. A person in love aspires to self-improvement, succeeds in everything, “turns the mountains” and crosses the sea “by wading”, showing the most positive sides and fiercely fighting with the negative.

6. Attitude towards the people around

  • Infatuation. “To hell with everything! There is only him” – in short. Everything recedes into the background, friends and parents “do not understand anything in this life,” outsiders interfere, things do not matter. You do not control the feeling, but the feeling controls you. All those values that you used to live by lose importance, you sacredly believe that you can do anything, because you have a good reason, and besides this feeling nothing else matters. The result: friends “split off” and disappear, relationships with parents deteriorate, problems at work begin. But that’s later, but for now, infatuation rules the ball.
  • True love. Of course, he loved and loved is the most important in this world. But you won’t put him before your parents. You won’t leave your friends at the back of your life. You will make time for everyone, because there is true love in your big heart, enough for the whole world. Your love gives you wings to develop relationships with the world around you, and lights the way to prospects.

7. What others think of your relationship

  • Falling in love. Most friends and acquaintances and relatives (and especially parents) disapprove of your relationship. Blinded by the feeling, a woman does not want to see the flaws and even obvious defects, idealizing the object of his infatuation. From the outside, however, is always better to see. And if every other person asks you to change your mind, or at least take your time, it makes sense to stop for a minute and cool your head – perhaps the epiphany will come to you before the disappointment.
  • True love. If feelings are really deep, and decisions are made seriously, balanced and sober, people around you are not resisting and are not trying to impose their opinion. Either they just approve of your choice, or they clearly understand that your love will only grow stronger, despite everything. Read also: What to do if your parents are against your relationship?

8. Breakups and feelings

  • Infatuation. A woman infatuated enough 1-3 months to be completely “cured” of falling in love. The physiological longing for a partner lasts for a maximum of 3 months, after which thoughts of separation, of the meaninglessness of the relationship and that the blue-eyed handsome man in the next office is very nice.
  • True love. Neither distance nor time can stand in the way of that feeling. True lovers do not tear the threads that bind them, even after thousands of miles and years. They will text each other, communicate via Skype, write long letters the old-fashioned way and miss, miss, miss… waiting for the doorbell to ring. Because true love is when your partner becomes a part of you, and the two souls are intertwined so tightly that they can no longer exist apart.

9. Feelings and quarrels.

  • Falling in love. The more time passes from the day of acquaintance, the stronger and more serious the quarrels become. Why? Because underneath falling in love there is nothing but emptiness. There’s no spiritual connection, no common themes, no base on which to build strong alliances. In the end, after a while it turns out that you do not even have anything to talk about, and scandals somehow “diversify” the relationship. Read also: How to fight properly – the art of fighting with your beloved man or husband.
  • True love. Deep feelings disagreements – not a hindrance. On the contrary, they strengthen relationships that are originally built on mutual understanding and compromise. Love means giving in to each other. And a rift in a strong union will never affect the relationship itself. For example, a husband and wife, who have lived side by side for many years, can quarrel while patching wallpaper and immediately sit down to drink tea, laughing and joking with each other. Whereas a “in love” girl can “tell the hell” to her partner just because he bought a bed with the wrong system.

10. Your view of your relationship

  • Falling in love. The two of you are separate individuals. “I-him,” “mine-his,” etc. There is practically nothing in your relationship, except infatuation. The word “we” is not about you, it’s not even in the vocabulary of your relationship. You can easily go on vacation without him, have dinner without waiting for him from work, or fly off to your girlfriend’s house in Italy when he needs your moral support.
  • True love begins with the word “we. Because you – two halves of one whole, and even individually you do not perceive each other except as “we”, “us”, “us”. You are not burdened by spending vacations together or even working together, you are having dinner, crawling under the same blanket in front of the TV, and stirring sugar in a cup for him, while he slices sausage into your sandwich.

11. selfishness and feelings.

  • Infatuation. Behind the interest in and infatuation with your partner is a selfish interest. For example, because to be near this broad-shouldered tanned bogatyte with a fat credit card and a shiny expensive car – it’s prestigious (such a new fashion). Or because “better this than none. Or so that more respectable gentlemen drool over her, so now inaccessible. And so on. Regardless of the option, you always remain “the girl who’s on her own,” and you perceive any intrusion by your partner into your personal space as a personal insult.
  • True love knows no self-interest. You just give yourself wholly to his chosen one, wide open the door to his heart, home and refrigerator. You do not assert yourself at his expense, but simply love for what he is.

12 Between Earth and Heaven

  • Love is an “earthly” feeling, involving, for the most part, earthly pleasures, thoughts, and actions.
  • True love always soars above the “earth. There are no barriers for it, any trials are divided in half, and sunrises for two and spiritual closeness is more precious than all earthly goods.

Has there been true love in your life? Share it with us in the comments!

About the Author

Social psychologist, graduate of Bologna University

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Ask your question to an expert or give your opinion!

Hmmm…Overall the article is pretty good and true. I have been married for 4 years and in my case there was not a crazy crush at the beginning of my relationship with my husband, but a friendship that developed into love. By the way, in a relationship healthy selfishness does not hurt, either (I am talking about the article) – For example, I could easily have dinner without waiting for her husband from work (he sometimes comes late). So it’s all individual.

I happened to look at this site and I was curious to ask something, just in case. In that case, a man can also have two feelings that are different, i.e., he too can be both in love and truly in love?

I categorically disagree with the point about everyone having to approve and believe in your relationship in order to call it love. On the contrary, true love can be so paradoxical that you can’t even imagine two people together and believe that they can be together. And why would they do that? And the article also gives the categorically incorrect statement that a person in love capriciously refuses everything, while a person in love does everything for everyone, even can move mountains. In the absence of a loved one, the person in love withers, becomes a living corpse, is not interested in anything, because he sees no meaning to his existence. There was a case where a guy gave up everything, lay motionless all day long, he was expelled from the institute and eventually died of a neglected disease within two years. Love is selfish, but not that selfless. And love is often unhappy and bitter, which is why it is rare.

What is called true love here looks like a co-dependent relationship.and poets and singers and writers just in their works describe love addiction.

Good article, I liked it very much!

No, AZAT, it is NOT co-dependence. It is the addition of one to the other. One is more calm, which the other needs, more intelligent, which the first needs, more energetic, and both are saturated with energy. Yin and Yang Two different planets complement each other. But so much is similar between these two, as if you could see yourself from the outside. Each takes on itself what is necessary, one thinks over all the little things, but necessary and freeing up the time of the other. The other takes care of the main thing – the material. Each one enriches the other spiritually, these two are like a mirror where you can see both. It is comfortable for both of them, they do not need extra words, they can see their faces, their thoughts and tensions, and they are far away from each other. Each thinks of the other, no matter where they are far away. And the longer the separation in time, the sharper these feelings are. The thought is transmitted at the same time, even if the two are apart. Love is the nourishment of the Soul for two. Devotion, loyalty, both in joy and in sorrow. The material side is absent from this relationship. The soul is open and everything else is. And such encounters are not accidental. It is like a Gift for Two, earned from the Almighty. It comes in the mature years, when two Souls have learned a lot. There is a feeling that people have met before and have known each other for – a long time!!! Blood type is the same and both own left and right hand, i.e. the pair work equally with the right side of the brain and the left! Both logical and emotional! The images of each other are mirror images! At the same time intellectual richness of two is necessary. Develop, learn all your life, be saturated Spiritually and the fate of such will thank you with a kindred Soul in reciprocity.

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What is love: 10 signs of true love

For centuries, people have tried to understand what love is, because everyone has at least once encountered this inexplicable feeling that fundamentally changed their lives. But even today, despite centuries of searching, there is no unambiguous and generally accepted interpretation of this concept. Nevertheless, we will try to give the most accurate definition, consider the 10 main features of love, and thus get as close as possible to a true understanding of what love is. Let’s begin.

What is love?

Love is a lasting and strong sense of affection, which implies sympathy for the person, the desire to be near and experience joint emotions, as well as make you happy.

Everyone who has experienced this feeling knows that love implies the strongest affection. A person in love simply cannot imagine life without the one for whom he or she has romantic feelings. Interestingly, even today psychologists and other scientists cannot unequivocally explain the nature of love and the mechanisms of its emergence.

In analyzing the nature of love, psychology considers three key manifestations of this feeling:

  1. The Inner Drug . Our well-being and mood are determined by a complex set of chemicals that can affect our nerve cells. The states of love and falling in love cause powerful releases of substances that make a person happy. It is as if the nervous system is giving us a clue: “There he is! You feel good when he’s around. Remember this!”
  2. Nervous Illness . Despite the rush of energy, a person in love has difficulty concentrating, his memory is impaired, and his actions often become illogical. The brain functions in an unnatural way, not allowing the person to fully control their own actions.
  3. Habit . The riot of hormones and neurotransmitters eventually subsides. But by this point, people remember who they feel good with, so they continue to love each other, but in a quieter and more balanced way. At the same time, they begin to act rationally again, and mutual feelings no longer interfere with their work and other important matters.

10 Signs of True Love

Love is a complex complex feeling that is not always noble and unselfish. Often people call love selfish possessive feelings, the desire to possess a person or the desire to get the prettiest girl that all classmates were in love with. Real love, on the other hand, is completely devoid of selfishness. The person in love feels responsibility to the loved one, the desire to help him in every way, to develop for him and protect him. To get the most accurate picture of true love, let’s look at the 10 signs of true love:

  1. Caring . The first sign of true love is being attentive to your loved one’s needs, wanting to protect them and improve their quality of life.
  2. Unselfishness . True love does not allow selfishness. A loving person gives feelings and care freely, without paying attention to who is more invested in this relationship.
  3. Responsibility . The person in love voluntarily makes certain commitments, giving up certain opportunities for the sake of the one he or she loves.
  4. Freedom . True love will not allow one’s loved one to be deprived of freedom. Jealousy and selfishness should not be allowed, as they can destroy any feelings.
  5. Trust . Love without complete trust is impossible. Any petty suspicions accumulate, gradually destroying feelings.
  6. Respect . True love makes you respect the views of the person you love, accepting even non-obvious and incomprehensible arguments.
  7. Intimacy . People in love grow closer in every way. They become close emotionally, intellectually and physically, sharing interests and tastes, combining habits.
  8. Development . Love motivates change and improvement. A person in love does not “launch” themselves, but constantly strives to develop in order to become better and be able to give the one they love more.
  9. Awareness . A person in love should clearly understand what they are ready to do for their beloved, so that they do not commit impulsive and irresponsible actions or make unrealizable promises.
  10. Change . Love is always in flux because it involves two people with changing interests, ambitions and desires. Therefore, true love is never afraid of or opposed to change.

How is love different from falling in love?

There are thousands of works in world literature that describe the one and only love that lasts a lifetime. In reality, it’s more complicated than that. Virtually all of us first experienced romantic feelings when we were in high school, but then bound our lives to an entirely different person. This can be explained by the fact that people are inexperienced in their youth and often perceive their first crush as love.

What is infatuation and how does it differ from true love? It is a strong liking that usually occurs in adolescents and young people who do not yet have experience in a personal relationship. When they look at the person they like from the outside, they create in their imagination an idealized image that does not correspond to reality. When a relationship develops, the perfect image crumbles and the feelings fade away.

An important characteristic of love is the desire to take care of a person, to give him all kinds of benefits and provide emotional comfort. And while falling in love is not a selfish feeling, it implies mainly a desire to spend time with a person rather than live for their sake.

The difference between love and falling in love is best described by a Chinese proverb: “Falling in love is when you pick and carry away the flower you like. Love is when you bring water every day to water it.

Love is different from falling in love because it is conscious. A person in love doesn’t need an ideal and is willing to put up with flaws. True love “matures” much longer than falling in love, but it is almost impossible to destroy it by petty misunderstandings. We are ready to forgive the person we love more than we forgive ourselves.

Falling in love makes a person idealize the object of his affection, which is why it often causes unhappy marriages. Young guys and girls, when they fall in love, do not see the disadvantages in their chosen ones. They hurriedly create a family, believing that they have already met the love of their lives. But living together sobered them up very quickly, and they realize that they are strangers to each other.

True love also changes. Passion and romance pass, but the couple still retains affection, respect, and other important feelings. The so-called “maturation of the relationship” takes place. In this case, the desire to be together remains, friendship and mutual affection strengthens, and the spouses have no doubts that they have correctly chosen with whom to create a family.

Famous psychologists about love

Many psychologists have researched and described this feeling in detail in their works. To better understand what love is, it is worth familiarizing yourself with some interesting thoughts of prominent authors.

Robert Sternberg (American professor of psychology) identified three main components without which love cannot exist: passion, attraction and responsibility.

Arthur Petrovsky (a Soviet and Russian psychologist) said that people in love must be passionate about each other, and sincere feelings are always clearly visible from the outside. He argued that love cannot exist in the presence of even the slightest distrust. He also believed that in order for love to exist, actions were necessary and that feelings alone were not enough.

Erich Fromm (German sociologist and psychoanalyst of the mid-twentieth century) called love a mutually beneficial commercial union. He believed that lovers should be fully committed to love, giving the maximum to the partner and getting the maximum in return. And if this approach to the relationship is reciprocal, then the marriage union will be successful, even when the initial passion fades away. Otherwise, love can immediately be considered unfulfilled.

Harry Sullivan (American psychologist of the early 20th century) believed that true love can only be spoken of when the lover exalts the loved one’s interests over his own.

John Gottman (American psychologist) suggested that one of the worst manifestations of love is the idealization of one’s partner. True love never blinds one’s eyes and does not prevent one from seeing the faults of the person one loves.

Henry Dix (British psychologist of the mid-20th century and founder of psychoanalytic marital therapy) argued that only indifference can permanently and irrevocably kill love.

Esther Perel (a psychotherapist from Belgium and a regular participant in TED conferences) says that in order to preserve love, it is always important to maintain a sense of self-worth.

Note that in these examples psychologists talk about love as an experience, but make no mention of the physiological aspects of this feeling. At the same time from the scientific point of view love is a purely physiological process. The attachment to the person is formed and fixed by the allocation of special chemicals in the brain, delivering pleasure and other sensations.

The 7 stages of love

A romantic relationship based on true love usually involves 7 stages of development:

  1. The confetti-bouquet period . At this stage, it is difficult to distinguish between love and falling in love. Two people are happy and try in every possible way to please each other. Their perception is distorted by raging hormones and neurotransmitters, so they idealize their partner. They strive to spend maximum time together and make love at every opportunity.
  2. Addiction . At a certain point, lovers become satiated with each other. Their bodies are tired of raging hormones and constant sex, and they want to rest and sleep. At the same time they start to notice each other’s shortcomings for the first time. Passion subsides, and the relationship becomes calmer and more adequate.
  3. Licking . According to psychologists, it is this stage that determines how successful the relationship will be. Lovers begin to carefully study and critically analyze each other’s shortcomings, deciding how acceptable they are to them. At this stage there are often conflicts, each of which can lead both to finding a compromise, and to the complete collapse of the relationship.
  4. Patience . When all the shortcomings are identified, it is time to learn to accept them. At this stage, conflicts arise much less often, because the unpleasant surprises are already over. Lovers slowly learn to respect each other and tolerate flaws.
  5. Convergence . The partners are getting closer, finally shedding their masks. The reached level of trust makes it possible not to be ashamed of shortcomings. At the same time, the loved one is perceived as the only one with whom it is possible to be completely frank.
  6. Friendship . Now the lovers have fully explored each other, they have no misunderstandings or secrets, so there is a real sense of friendship between them that reinforces love.
  7. True love . Only now that there is complete understanding between the partners and a strong friendship has been formed can we talk about true love. If a couple marries after going through all 7 stages, they have every chance of creating a strong family for life.


Scientists, philosophers, and ordinary people have tried to understand what love is throughout the history of mankind. It has been the most beautiful feeling known to man, yet it defies all logic. Even today, in the heyday of science, it is difficult to unequivocally explain how love arises. But this does not prevent people from building bright loving relationships and creating strong families for life. The main thing is that the feelings of a couple in love correspond to all 10 signs of true love described in this article.

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