By Amber Scott
I have been in love on so many occasions. I have been lustfully attracted and infatuated to people and I have been the recipient of love and infatuation. I always held on to these unrealistic expectations that come with being a product of 1990s romantic comedies and the boy band era. Like so many, I based love expectations on the first kiss that made you feel as though you could physically levitate. I never quite understood love until I met the right one. I always thought that being in love and loving someone was all the same emotion, but I was very wrong. As I skip through the fields of romance holding hands with all my starry-eyed readers, I decided I should start tackling one of love’s deepest questions: How do you know if it is love?
When one feels “in love,” it is most often accompanied by sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, fluttering heart, and anxiety. We excitedly plan our future together, and write our first names followed by their last. In this time period, we are consumed; we lose contact with our friends, and we become immersed in these lingering moments and promises of forever. We see the world through rose-colored lenses and everything becomes a love song that is stuck in our head for days, just like the soundtrack of a movie. These feelings are so often confused with love that we end up broken-hearted and sobbing into a pint of ice cream trying to figure out what went wrong. This is not love. This is in love. This is being in love. This is feeling justifiably real emotions that have been tainted by unrealistic notions that love is how it is painted in fictional novels. Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful, but it is only a part our love journey.
True love is sneaky. We don’t know it until we feel it, and it is different for everyone. It is doing something for someone without them asking; it is putting their needs before your own; it is selfless; it is redefining the ideas of being in love, and sometimes it accompanies symptoms of being in love. True love is what is left after the butterflies find another stomach to disturb. It is how people stay married for sixty years. It is a type of friendship; an eternal bond that is never broken.
When I saw love for the first time it was so visible; painted across a forehead in legible letters. I never experienced something so true until that moment. Love isn’t in the words spoken or even the gestures made; it’s the looks given in the most intimate moments where they talk without moving their lips. So, how do you know if it is love? You will know. It will hit you like a ton of bricks. You will be talking about someone and mid-sentence you will realize that they complete yours.