As relationship professionals, clients regularly ask us how they can tell if they are in love. If you were to ask 100 people, you would likely get 100 different answers. Attempting to define the emotion of love with words is like trying to catch water with your hands—just when you think you have articulated all there is to it, it slips through your fingers. Let’s give it a try though.
Here are some of the ways love is commonly defined: infatuation, a great sexual connection, feelings of exhilaration, passion and elation, an inability to eat and sleep and concentrate, butterflies and stomach swirls. Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person”. One of the more memorable definitions we’ve seen is “a little itch on the heart that you can’t scratch!”
However you define love, most agree that it’s a wonderful feeling, and once they experience it, they want to keep it. So, here is our best advice on how to attract love with the right person and when you do, how to increase your chances of maintaining a loving relationship.
1. Know who you are, what’s important to you, what you must have in a relationship for it to work for you, and where you are willing to negotiate.
2. Look for people who connect with you regarding values, lifestyle, family, interests, etc. Your differences should create balance, not dissension. Keep in mind that sometimes, the very differences that initially draw you together can be the same ones that ultimately tear you apart.
3. Try not to get intimate too early in the relationship. Often a sexual relationship and strong chemistry can cloud judgment and compromise objectivity.
4. Don’t get into an exclusive relationship too quickly. There should be a period of time—a “cooling off” period—where your head has a chance to catch up with your heart. We recommend at least 90 days.
5. Slow down. If you have an overwhelming sense of urgency, you might give off an unpleasant odor of desperation.
6. Look honestly for red flags. When you find one, dig for more. Don’t close your eyes to bothersome traits and troubling issues that arise just to keep the relationship going. They will likely rear their heads again, and you will have to contend with them anyway.
7. Be authentically who you are, right from the beginning. If you try to change yourself to suit whomever you are dating, then be prepared for the consequences of that deception when the “real you” shows up, usually under stress or after the early infatuation phase quiets down a bit. If who you really are doesn’t appeal to your date, wouldn’t you rather know that right away? If you have to suppress or exaggerate personality traits, behavior, opinion or even style of dress in order to keep a person in your life, odds are great that relationship won’t last.
8. Love should be easy. If it’s too much like work, it’s not working.
9. Expect challenges and be committed to working through them knowing full well the payoff will be great.
10. Be sure that you have concluded old relationship business and are clear about why past relationships did not work. Learn the lesson and don’t repeat it.
11. If you continue to be attracted to the same types of people and those relationships have failed, stop and take a hard look at why you are drawn to that personality type. Then be open-minded and try a different personality type on for size to see if you can connect. You may be pleasantly surprised.
12. Relax and enjoy the process!
Relationship experts agree—love has a better chance of surviving when two people are clear about who they are, what they need, where they’re going in life and, very importantly, when they communicate that information to their partner openly and honestly.
If a love relationship is built upon a foundation of honesty, trust and communication, it has a better chance to survive the test of time. Remember though, just because you capture the prize does not mean you should put your feet up and coast. Relationships move and change, so regular attention and care is essential in order for them to thrive. When you find a relationship that makes your heart full, cherish the splendor of it all and handle with care.
Sheryl Spangler is a RCI Certified Relationship Coach for Singles, Life Coach, Matchmaker and certified DiSC behavioral consultant, helping mature singles prepare for and find lasting long-term relationships.
Lisa Manyoky is a Certified Life Coach, Relationship Coach and trained in DiSC, helping mid-life adults to successfully navigate the processes of separation, divorce and dating. www.maverickinspired.com
Copyright ©2010 by Sheryl Spangler and Lisa Manyoky. All Rights Reserved for all media.
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