It can be wild and it can be sudden and it can truly overwhelm you, no matter your age. It’s just an amazing feeling to love and be loved by another person. It’s like an overdose of candy, and I wish everybody could feel like that every second of every day! How awesome would that be?

But…we’ve all been young once. We’ve all been taken hostage by the love bug. And we’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way. Nothing to be ashamed of. It happens.

The question, this time around, is…how do you ‘KNOW’ when what you’re feeling is really love? I mean…how do you know that it’s not just a heavy infatuation? Maybe he’s extremely HOT. Maybe you like his body, or his sex appeal, or his sense of humor. Maybe you share some common interests and a few passions that create a bond between you. And, of course, it might just be that you’re super horny and attracted to one another. But how do you know when you can call it ‘love’?

We live in an era where you can easily find companionship if you want to. You can put an app on your phone and swipe right or left to hook up with someone in your area if you really want to. But isn’t love the ultimate goal? Someone that you can embrace and be yourself with? Not just sex, not just a pretty face, not just a couple of laughs and a close proximity…but true love.

When do you know for sure that what you’re feeling is the real thing? If you dive in too early, it might just be a heavy crush that’s destined to end in heartbreak. But if you wait too long, then you might be holding back on any type of real commitment…and you might end up missing out on something special.

So where is the line? When and how do you know that what you’re feeling for the guy or girl you’re craving is actual ‘love’, or something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

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“To reply to this, I want to start off with a short experience that I had growing up. My best friend, Mike, and I have been buds since we were 14 years old. And I was CRAZY about him! Oh God, I had it so bad. Hehehe! Looking back on it, I must have looked so crazy to him at times. However, I didn’t say anything. I was way too scared. And we would hang out all the time, and we were so close, and had so much in common…but as far as me being head over heels for him for years, it was just sort of understood (in my mind at least) that i was just going to have to suck it up and remain a tortured soul for the rest of my life. Sad, but true.

Then…came Mike’s 21st birthday. Now we were only born a week and a half apart, and he actually waited for me to catch up so I could come visit him in college and we could celebrate together. And BOY did we celebrate! Ahem…the alcohol was pouring pretty freely that night! Hahaha! Here’s the thing…anybody getting sick and throwing up…NOPE! Couldn’t do it! I will run screaming from that sort of thing. Can’t stand it. Blecchhh!

But that night? Mike got really sick. Multiple times. And while most of his college friends were cringing pretty much the same way that I usually did…I went into the bathroom to check on him. And something that normally would have had me turning tail and heading for the hills, it just didn’t mean more to me than he did at that moment. And I stood right there with him. Even rubbing his back to keep him somewhat comfortable through it all. I had to practically ‘carry’ him home and put him to bed that night, but it just made me think about things differently.

I’m sure that it started out with me thinking he was super cute, and later it turned into a serious crush, and then we started hanging out together and laughing and sharing a lot of good times together…and things got worse. But, the honest truth is…I don’t think I realized just how much I loved him until I was willing to push aside my own comfort and best interests just to make sure he was ok. I thought back to sleepovers and times when we went to the movies and times when we laughed until our bellies hurt…and things just kind of ‘clicked’ from there. I really was in love.

And to this day, Mike is still one of my very best friends. And I’d still do anything for him and vice versa. We’re there for one another, we tell each other off when we think the other person needs to hear it, and there’s no such thing as a ‘favor’ when it comes to asking for help. You want it, you’ve got it. Just give me some time to put it together.

I think that’s the test when it comes to love. I think that’s how you know. When you’re more concerned with what you’re willing to do for them, instead of worrying about what they’re doing for you. Sex is GREAT! And beauty is exciting. Common interests and deep conversations are truly satisfying. But when you can actually trust someone to be there for you when you fall, when you know that you’ll move heaven and earth to keep them safe, when you can lose a bunch of your secrets and gain a confidant…that’s when you know that true love is possible. Not obsession, but love.

I’ve made some mistakes in my past, and thought that I was in love when I wasn’t. But I can say that I’ve truly had some mind-blowing experiences that let me know what true love feels like. You know? It’s not as common as we may make it out to be. But I’ve had a few people that I was willing to give my whole heart to, and I made sure to tell them as often as I possibly could, just to let them know. What can I say, I’ll always be a big romantic at heart. Hehehe! But I make no apologies for it. I’m proud to have lived through those moments, and going to bed with a smile at night, just knowing that I could share my true self with those who left me so breathless.

That love never went away. Some of the objects of my affection have moved on, and I wish them well. But the love is still there. I hold on to it, and it makes me feel good to know I gave it my all when I had the chance. That, to me, is how you know when it’s love. When you’re willing to give yourself to them to the point of exhaustion…and have faith in knowing that you’ll get it back. It makes you fearless in a way, you know?

When I love you…I’ll let you know. Believe me. I mean, I might have to shake out those nervous jitters first, hehehe…but if I tell you I love you, it’s real. It’s not something I take lightly. not anymore.” – Comicality

“To be honest I don’t think I have ever been in love. I’ve “liked” someone allot. But going by how everyone else describes being in love then no never.
I hardly ever date and even then never for very long. I’ve always been ok with short term flings and even those I rarely do.

I’ve always considered allowing ones self to be in love or that deep into a person means being out of control.. no surprises…” – Dom

“So where is the line? When and how do you know that what you’re feeling for the guy or girl you’re craving is actual ‘love’, or something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

I don’t really know. It’s hard even for me, when I evaluate my past relationships, if and when I have actually cared so much about someone I would call it love. My internal defense mechanism usually prevents me from getting too close to other people and I find it hard to really connect with someone so profoundly. I’m kind of glad that’s the case though, I don’t have a string of heartbreaks or grief.

That said, it might have happened once or twice. My first serious boyfriend, I probably did love him. But love’s a blurry concept, and hard to define, which is why I can’t really answered the question.

If love means that I wanted to touch and hold him and missed him when I wasn’t with him, and I felt really sad for a while when we broke up, then I guess I loved him. I remember feeling love sick because I was missing him so much. But now I feel nothing for him. Now, I can barely remember how I felt for him back then. Was it just puppy love? How can it be compared to the love of a married couple who have been together for years?

Then again, maybe the length of time isn’t the sole factor. I’ve seen older couples grow apart, and even those who’re still together, their relationships don’t seem to have the same passion of young couples. Who’s really to say who has ‘more’ love going on?
All I know is that it felt special at the time. Even if I now can’t ‘feel’ what it felt like anymore.” – Mike

“Tough question because it can mean different things for different people. Sure a crush can open the door, and it may take opening X number of doors before you find one that you just feel you “HAVE” to walk through. Your question is, how do you know which one? For me it involves having a sort of “Ah-ha!” moment. When I realized I had gone from the “Man, I hope he likes me” and “OMG, he’s so cute” to “I don’t want exist without him.” Which sounds a little dramatic but, you really begin to realize that there is a truth to it. And I’m not talking the “I’ll just die without him…” tragic kind of separation anxiety that some people can feel. It begin’s with the little things. You go from looking forward to time spent together to not knowing what to do with time spent apart. You go from realizing how happy you can be in the presence of someone, to forgetting how you were happy before that source of happiness was within your reach. You see a source of amazement in the small things you never noticed before in another person and it overshadows all those quirky little things that normally would irritate or turn you away. You realize that with this person in your life, you like who you are a little bit more. I always defined “True Love” as having all that be true, as well as having it all be mutual and acknowledging it. Even giving yourself to it freely. Does that mean all sunshine and flowers? God no. You are still two separate beings with different personalities and likes and dislikes… But your existence becomes a co-existence that overshadows the need to be “Just Me”.

We all need to be “Me” and learn to become just that as we mature. Then we learn that the “Me” becomes something treasured when you realize it has become “Us”. My mother once told me, when an early crush turned out to be nothing more than just a crush: “If you are driving a car, it’s nice to have a passenger to talk to. Friends and crushes keep you company on the long drive and help to pass the time. When you find love, you find the passenger who does all that AND also shares in the driving.” As a kid I didn’t look deep enough into what she was saying. Its companionship mixed with trust and for everyone, it is a different path to find both. Hope that makes sense.” – JeffsFort

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If you guys ever want to add your two cents to any one of the ‘Q & A’ sessions for future issues of Imagine Magazine, we’d LOVE to hear your input and your personal stories on the forum! Feel free to attach your screen name, or do so anonymously! Drop by “The Shack Out Back” forum on the 1st of every month for a brand new topic of conversation! We look forward to hearing more from you! 🙂


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