In Love: How to tell if you’re really in love

in loveI’ve been watching The Bachelorette this season. Well, I watch it every season. Love that show! This season seems to be moving particularly quickly in terms of declared emotions and particularly slowly in terms of information. The men seems to already be announcing their love for JoJo without having much time with her, sharing much about themselves or learning much about her. Of course, there’s probably a lot going on off camera or on the editing room floor that we’re not seeing. Believe me, I know that reality shows are just slices of what’s really going on and often not the full picture. So, I don’t doubt that the emotions on the show are real. But, it did get me thinking that sometimes it’s difficult to tell when you’re in love or in lust. Here are some ways to figure it out.

You’re genuinely happy for him

A big part of true love is selflessness. If you’re honestly in love, you want your boo to succeed just as much as you want yourself to succeed. You guys are a team and his win is your win. When he gets a big promotion, finishes a project or otherwise leaps ahead in life, you should feel happy for him and not jealous at all. I talk to some women who say things like, “My husband doesn’t have to worry about (fill in the blank) and I hate him because I do!” That doesn’t sound like true love to me. You can be frustrated with your less than winning situation without being negative about his good fortune.

You’re excited for the work

In the immortal words of Chad Johnson, Bachelorette contestant and this season’s villain, “Life ain’t all blueberries and paper airplanes.” And neither is love. Being in love with someone and sharing your life can be a wonderful thing, but it’s also a hard thing that involves a lot of work and compromise. And those two things aren’t always fun, I get that. Still, if you’re in love, you should be eager to work with your man on your relationship. He should be a partner you trust to put in his best and you should be eager to put in your best as well. If you can’t imagine the work your relationship will take or maybe can, but aren’t excited to do it with him, then I think you’re dealing with lust and not love.

You lean on him and he leans back

True lovers support each other. They’re there for each other during their wins and losses. If you’re in love with your man, you should want to turn to him when times are tough. And you should be able to support him when he’s in a rough spot. If seeing your man weak or at less than his best is a turn off to you, it might be lust and not fully fledged true love. Love isn’t just there in the best of times, it’s there in the worst, too. And maybe even more present during the worst.

I hope that helped you figure out what you’re feeling. Lust isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can certainly grow into love. It’s just important to be honest with yourself about where you are emotionally and be sure you’re being reasonable with your expectations.