The music swells up. It’s a big moment. Suddenly, you just know: this is love. Or, at least that’s the way it always used to work in the movies. In real life, the signs of love are a little more subtle ...
2. You like being together
As a couple, you don’t have to literally inseparable. “A couple who see each other at the weekend and call each other every day can still have a very close relationship,” says Sabine Wery von Limont. You don’t need a string of special events, evenings out and holidays to be happy and contented together—even though such things do add spice to life from time to time. What you like is to come home to each other or little considerate, affectionate gestures.
3. You respect your partner
In the early stages of a love affair, teasing is often part of the game, but as the relationship develops, less time is spent making fun of each other. As Sabine Wery von Limont says: “Though humour can obviously still have an important part to play, it is important for a couple to have mutual respect for each other,” and that includes considering your partner’s needs, remembering their birthday and not having a go at them in front of other people!
4. You just feel good
At the start of your relationship you were full of energy. You could talk long into the night without feeling exhausted the next day. But occasionally there were moments of deep anxiety: “What if he/she goes off me?” As a relationship matures, emotional rollercoaster rides like this become much rarer, being replaced, as Sabine Wery von Limont explains, “by a fundamental underlying sense of well-being …” Love makes you feel more stable, more in control; you are not so bothered by criticisms from other people. It all comes down to feeling confident in the knowledge that there is someone who thinks you are wonderful.
5. You feel you can be yourself
In the early stages of a relationship you feel the need to prove yourself. People have a tendency to talk themselves up a little, maybe aiming to make themselves appear just a little sportier, trendier or cleverer than they really are. That becomes much less of a concern in an established relationship as you put more energy into other areas of your life, knowing that your partner won’t leave you because you are slouching around in tracksuit bottoms rather than making sure you look your best.
6. You think about changing your habits
Maybe you watch a lot of TV, or, when you come home in the evening, you take your shoes off in the sitting room and leave them next to the sofa … It’s possible that you have some little habits which bother your partner. You don’t need to feel you have to change yourself radically, but, as Sabine Wery von Limont explains: “It says a lot about your feelings if you are really prepared to change yourself in some way or at the very least have a think about your habits.” This applies equally to your partner, of course. Your relationship offers self-development opportunities for both of you.
7. You’re ready to try something new
If you’re confident in a loving relationship, you might well find yourself more ready to take risks in other areas of your life. Maybe you’ll start applying for that new job you’ve been thinking about for ages, or perhaps you’d like to try out a new sport. (Do you have a gift voucher for a parachute jump sitting in a drawer somewhere?) With someone who loves you by your side you can feel ready to expand your horizons – and to undertake challenging new projects, like buying a home together, starting a family or just getting old together.`