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How Do You Know When It’s Love?

As both a romance writer and reader, the thing I enjoy most about the genre is watching two people fall in love. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it makes you cry, and we always know that the couple will make it through to be happy (at least for now, if not forever). Knowing that happiness is coming doesn’t ruin the story, because it’s the journey that keeps us coming back for more.

As readers, most of the time, we recognize the signs of someone falling in love before they do. Maybe it’s because we’re on the outside looking in and we can be objective. The lust is easy and characters usually accept lust and physical attraction. For whatever reason, they have a much harder time recognizing love. Sometimes, they can admit having feelings, caring for, or loving someone, but not being in love.

My question is, how do we know? How do we distinguish between caring and liking and loving and being “in love”?

My immediate response might be “I know it when I see/feel it,” but that’s a cop out.

Remember the Love is… comics? Like this —->    

I could get a daily dose of explanation of how to recognize love. Often it is in the little things, and I get that, but if you’re in a new relationship, how do you know if it’s real? How do you look past the shiny new excitement and know?

I’ve been married for a long time, and I’ve said before that even when my husband and I were just friends, we both knew that there was something more there that we chose to ignore because we weren’t ready. I can’t remember how I processed those feelings or if I really even paid attention to them.

So I’m turning it over to you. How do you know when you’ve fallen in love?

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About Shannyn Schroeder

Mom of 3, editor, and contemporary romance writer

5 responses »

  1. I don’t think you KNOW for sure for a while. I mean, you feel it, but you just kind of have to trust that it’s really what it seems like. And you have to choose to keep it and nurture it — or else it stops being love.

    Reply
  2. Wow! That’s a great question. When reading romance, it feels like that spark is always there. The potential exists, it just has to be ignited. I felt this way with my husband too. From the moment I first saw him, I felt something. I wouldn’t say love at first sight, but definitely a light bulb moment. :)

    Reply
    • So, do you think it’s a choice when you have that lightbulb moment? Like Briana (above) says, you need to nurture it? So you could have lots of those lightbulb moments, but only those you choose to nurture turn into love?

      Reply
  3. I was absolutely obsessive about this question as a child/teen. I think it’s why I love romances so much. I love that new exciting feeling of love. It’s a bit of an addiction for me I guess. It took me a long time to understand that love changes as the relationship changes and as time passes, and to be okay with more mature love and comfort with my husband. A lot of time and a lot of growing up.

    I don’t even know if there is an answer to your question. I think that love is as varied as their are people in the world. And I think a lot of issues come up when we try to put love in box with a definition on it.

    Reply

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