According to Elaine Hatfield’s research, “passionate love or infatuation, is an intensely emotional state associated with tender and sexual feelings, elation and pain, anxiety and relief.” On the other hand, true love (also described as compassionate love by Hatfield), that can arise from infatuation, is a love where there is a long-term relationship based on commitment and compassion. That type of love is also called compassionate love and research found that it is more lasting than passionate love.
Here are the five ways to know if it’s really love.
1. Understanding each other
According to research on love, infatuation (or passionate love) if often driven by the need to fulfill our own emotional needs, while true love is more about understanding our partner’s needs and contribute to his emotional experience in a positive way. In addition, during the infatuation phase, we often ignore the communication issues because we feel “so in love” when we are together. Often, we choose not to communicate our needs because the problem disappears when the feelings of love returns. Unfortunately, this “so in love” feeling will not last and you will be facing a communication breakdown sooner than later. True love means that you are open to understand each other and allow the space to clearly communicate what you need from your partner.
When two individuals in a relationship are committed to each other, it is more likely going to be a long-lasting relationship. Commitment can be as simple as using the three powerful words “I love you” to undertake sexual fidelity. According to Dr. Kelly Campbell, a Professor of Psychology at California State University who examines couple relationships, commitment is a concept that can differ from one person to another. It is imperial that both individuals in the relationship have a clear understanding of what it means to be committed to each other and what are the behaviors that demonstrate that commitment. When those behaviors are not followed, it is a break in commitment which can easily lead to the end of a relationship unless there is an agreement based on forgiveness and acceptance.
During the infatuation phase of a relationship, it is easy to lose yourself to please a mate. Being able to be yourself and loving who you are when you are with your partner is crucial when experiencing true love. True love means unconditional love and it means that you are loving one another with compassion and acceptance. Being able to stay in your integrity during the beginning of a relationship is extremely hard because we are often raised learning about conditional love, behaving in a certain way to be liked by others. According to a research article called “To know you is to love you”, accepting your partner and perceiving him or her for who they truly are is a good indicator for lasting and happy relationships.
4. Emotional Safety
Insecurities in regards to the relationship itself is often a sign that you are infatuated with the other and feel that your relationship is unstable when you are not in the presence of your partner. It is important to observe your emotional state when you are not with your partner. When you don’t have emotional safety, you are so focused on the feeling that as soon as you don’t get that instant gratification, you fall in the mindset of not feeling safe. In true love, you are able to work on your insecurities because you feel safe with your partner and you know that even if you are not physically with your partner, love remain.
We save the most important aspect for last, trust. Trust is at the basis of a strong and lasting relationship. If you can’t trust your partner, you can’t be away from each other without having that sense that you are safe, committed and loved. Without trust, you will likely challenge the integrity of your partner and his or her commitment to the relationship. According to John Gottman, a relationship expert, trust is not only the most desirable quality we look for in our partner, it’s also the number one reason why a relationship is healthy. Here’s also a fun fact from his research. Trust is related to the cuddle hormone (oxytocin) a hormone that is also secreted during orgasm. This gives you one more reason to build trust!
The good news is infatuated love can transform into true love as long as both partners are committed and open to each other. By clearly communicating your needs to each other, committing to the relationship, being yourself, provide emotional safety and trusting one another, you will increase the compassion toward one another and increase your chance of building a lasting relationship.