What is love? It is undefinable. It cannot be tethered to one word, sentence or phrase. How do you know that you are in love? It arrives in the most curious of ways, in waves, electrifying bursts, an all-encompassing feeling.
Falling in love is one of the most exciting, rewarding and scariest things you could ever do. The only thing better than being in love is falling in love. Everything feels new, you aren’t quite sure if it’s really love yet, and you start waiting to see who’s finally going to say it out loud first.
Here are 27 ways to know if you might be in love — rather than in like — with someone:
1. When you say, “I miss you,” it’s because you really do miss him after only a day apart. It’s not just a cute thing to say, it’s a real ache that says he’s a part of your life now.
2. You can’t remember the last time you thought about your ex. Things with your guy now are so good you can’t be bothered with whatever’s in the past.
3. You’re comfortable with making little sacrifices for him. You wouldn’t put off your responsibilities for him, but if he’s sick and needs you to help take care of him instead of going to brunch one morning, you’re totally cool with that.
4. You feel safe when you’re around him. It’s hard to describe this feeling, but it really is the best thing in the world. Like nothing bad can happen.
5. Little things, like going to the grocery store, are better when he’s around. A walk down the cereal aisle can be a very romantic date if you’re with the right person.
6. You don’t freak out if he doesn’t text back right away. All that “does he like me back” anxiety is gone, and you finally have enough chill to be OK with his slow texting.
7. You’d rather stay in and do nothing with him than go out. “Started staying in and going out less” is your new mantra, and it’s totally OK with you.
8. You spend so much time at each other’s houses, your separate Netflix profiles have basically merged into one giant “recommended for you” melting pot.
9. Their pain is your pain. When something bad happens to your bae, it hits you in the gut so hard it’s like it’s happening to you.
10. The tiniest physical gesture makes you dizzy with love. He or she squeezes your hand unexpectedly and it’s like a hug for your heart.
11. Sometimes you fall in love with your bae’s hotness all over again. Like when he or she wears something you love — that hat you got at that one show — they just look so cute you could die. Other people say that feeling of butterflies fades over time. You are not other people.
12. Your phone is basically a museum gallery of selfies together. You’re guilty of spending five minutes — then fifteen minutes — then an hour — browsing through months of them at a time and it makes you dumb with happiness. Each picture is a tiny reminder that you’ve found your person.
13. When we not only want but also work on becoming the best that we can be for our loved one, but most importantly, for ourselves.
14. When, at the very sight of a smile, a quivering lip, a furrowed brow, the words “I love you” rolls to the very tip of your tongue.
15. When arguments leave you not feeling bitter but instead wanting to come to a resolve together because you want to make this last.
16. The way your heart skips a beat every time you see your beloved for the first time, four months or four years into the relationship.
17. When you go beyond capturing moments together through video and photos; when you begin to commit moments together to memory, creating memories that are only for you to have.
18. When all you want to do is shout out just how beautiful and extraordinary they are as you watch them sleep beside you.
19. When the rhythmic pattern of their breathing sounds like an saccharine symphony that fills your heart with contentment.
20. When the term “I love you” does not seem sufficient enough to embody all that you feel for your beloved.
21. You feel most yourself with them.
22. When your favorite things about them are the most mundane of mannerisms: the way they scratch the tip of the nose; the way they look up when deep in thought; the way they drink water or unconsciously bite a fingernail or turn a page.
23. Much like the sound of their breathing, their laughter becomes your favorite sound, a sound so unique that you cannot even conjure from your mind when they are not there.
24. When you are able to laugh with abandon.
25. When you are less afraid of being yourself outside of your relationship.
26. When you find yourself wishing that your time spent together were infinite.
27. When kisses are no longer limited to seduction and desire, when kisses calm and soothe tiredness, anger and frustration. In love, kisses become the balm to a wound – tender and healing.