What does true love look like?

True love is not something that happens instantly; there is an old adage that true love takes work, they say you have to build it. Your relationship begins with a strong attraction, respect, and an emotional and intellectual spark. Gradually, we add walls, a floor, windows etc…. True love is like a nest that will welcome you both, a place where all of your material and physical needs can be met.

True love is often confused with that tingling sensation in the stomach, that heartbeat that signals the first attraction. While butterflies are certainly thrilling and fun, that feeling of anxiety associated with a new crush or first meeting isn’t really true love. It is infatuation – which can lead to true love, if the two of you are willing to build something together. If you’re in a relationship with infatuation, your feelings are real, but they may not be the same as true love.

This is what real love really feels like.

1. Security
True love cannot exist without security. A relationship that puts you in a vulnerable position – whether emotionally or physically – cannot be true love, because true love is about meeting your needs. To achieve this, true love begins with an understanding with yourself. In this union, you are able to recognize what you need to feel secure, know how to ask for it, and know when that need is not being met.

In a truly loving relationship, you and your partner will respect each other’s boundaries because you understand that is what you both need to feel safe. Do not ask yourself to exceed these limits because you know it would be like asking someone to compromise their safety or health for you. True love is feeling protected in the common space of your relationship, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

2. Recognition
True love is knowing that your partner will give you time to listen to yourself and to hear you. You never feel like you have to wave to get your partner’s attention. If you have something to work out together, he is able to sit down with you, listen to you, and work constructively on the information you give him. He enjoys seeing you as much as you enjoy seeing him. True love is like looking at the other person and knowing that they are really looking at you, and not an image or who they think you should be.

Recognition sometimes varies depending on the context of the relationship. Work, school and social life can sometimes make it difficult to really see each other. Even when your gaze is distracted by outside elements, you can find yourself and see each other again. True love feels like it can lift up to each other over and over again, even if you have to momentarily withdraw to take care of all the other things life demands of you.

True love is synonymous with security and stability. You don’t mind breaking up or having your partner leave you abruptly. When he leaves home, you may miss him, but you are also happy for him because you want him to travel and have new experiences. Your love is balanced and you have no feelings of suspicion or possession. You are not afraid that they are hanging out with their friends. If you ever feel jealous, you are able to talk about it. You don’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells or having to move out after every argument.

Stability also means that you are both able to meet the material needs of the other. If one of you is hungry and the other has provisions, then they are happy to feed you. In return, you will offer to make their beds in the morning or provide them with emotional support. These steps are not taken with the expectation of receiving anything, for you both get something out of giving each other. There is a balance in the way you look after each other, and you find fairness in the way you express your love, tenderness, and care.