What does true love feel like? This one question has inspired intrigue, interest and curiosity since the beginning of time…Okay, maybe not literally the beginning of time but you get what I mean. Poets have written odes to the true feelings of love, cynics have dismissed it has a lofty principle, romantics are in its eternal quest, scientists have pinned it down to neurochemical reactions in the brain, and those who are lucky to have found it are often too busy reveling in its glory to be able to put the experience in words.
When you ask someone to describe the feeling of love, true love, the responses can vary from ‘love is the rush of feel-good hormones in the bloodstream’ to ‘true love can only be experienced, not explained’.
But how can you tell for sure that you’re in fact experiencing a brush with true love without knowing the answer to what it feels like. How do you know if love is true love? And what does true love feel like? Here’s my attempt to answer these long-standing questions, so that the next time you’ve hopelessly smitten by someone, you can tell with a fair degree of certainty whether you’re in the throes of fleeting attraction or have found true love.
What Are The Signs Of True Love?
The answer to ‘what does true love feel like to you’ can be different for different people. Some may look at the dynamics of true love between a man and a woman from the prism of unconditional, selfless devotion. Others may rely on the psychology of true love to find the answers. Others still may decode it from the physical manifestations of butterflies in the stomach and a spring in the step.
So then, how do you know if love is true love? The varied experiences can make decoding what does true love feel like that much harder. However, true feelings of love do have certain commonalities. Let’s explore them through these irrefutable signs of true love:
1. True love is transparent
True feelings of love are characterized by complete transparency. The two people who have fallen in love don’t feel the need to hide what they may consider to be the not-so-nice parts of their personalities. They let each other see them for who they are and are accepted as they are.
2. There are no mind games
Since the psychology of true love is rooted in total transparency and acceptance of one another, those bound by true love don’t feel the need to play mind games to manipulate or control each other. There are no lop-sided power dynamics, unhealthy insecurities, and jealousy or toxic patterns in true love.
3. What is the first feeling of love? Mutual respect
True feelings of love stem from and foster mutual respect between partners. You fall in love with the person because you truly admire and respect them for who they are. This, in turn, means that you continue to respect their decisions and choices. Two people bound by true love don’t demean or disparage one another.
Related Reading: 21 Elements Of Developing Respect In A Relationship
4. You care about each other’s well-being
How do you know if love is true love? To find the answer to this question, explore your protective instincts toward the person you’re in love with. If it’s true love, you will have a strong, almost unprecedented, concern for their well-being, happiness and health. When you truly love someone, you cannot even imagine hurting them in any way. True love paves the way for harmonious relationships, free of any kind of abuse or toxicity.
5. True feelings of love aren’t deterred by flaws
What does true love feel like? As I said before, one of the characteristic signs of true love is total acceptance of each other, flaws and all. You see the other person’s shortcomings, quirks and idiosyncrasies but these don’t get in the way of the love you feel for them.
6. True love grows
True love between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman only grows – and evolves – with time. When you find true love, the dedication you feel toward your partner and relationship inspires you to make your connection stronger. You both don’t hesitate in making compromises and adjustments necessary for the love to grow stronger.
7. You stick with each other through thick and thin
How do you know if love is true love? One tell-tale sign to look out for is that you or your partner do not bolt or develop cold feet at the first hint of trouble. You know that you’re meant to be together, and you become each other’s strongest support systems, standing together through thick and thin. There is no fear of commitment when you find your true love.
What Does True Love Feel Like?
Technically put, love is the strongest form of affection you feel toward someone whom you perceive to be desirable and attractive. This also holds the answer to ‘what does true love feel like physically?’. The physical manifestations of love originate from certain neurological changes in the body – our brain releasing chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, vasopressin and norepinephrine – that make us feel bonded and attached to another person.
True as they may be, these scientific explanations have a way of blunting the magical essence of the feeling of love. To truly understand what does true love feel like, let’s shift our focus from physicality to the psychology of true love. Here are 11 things that people equate with true feelings of love:
1. True love is a protective instinct
What does true love feel like to you? Mumbai-based Nikunj Vohra describes it as a compelling protective instinct. “True feelings of love are when you just cannot see your partner in pain and can go to any extent to alleviate the same,” he says.
2. What does true love feel like? Mystical
Madhu Jaiswal, an executive editor at The Impish Lass Publishing House, describes the feeling of love as, “True love feels like a place where our weary souls feel at peace like none other. It’s vast like an endless ocean, always ruffling with its ebb and flow of varied emotions at par.
“Sometimes it’s unconditional love, sometimes selfish. True feelings of love are like the best camaraderie where unspoken words are heard, understood and similar feelings shared. A soul connect where the vibes guide toward a nonchalant zone in a synchronized surreal manner.”
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3. How do you know if love is true love? It’s Eternal
Ashoo Agarwal, from Ahmedabad, says that true love between a man and a woman or any two romantic partners is eternal and everlasting. “Love is a powerful emotion that burns like a candle. It can flicker but never be extinguished. There may be chaos in all areas of your life but when you come home to the person you love the most in the world, nothing else matters,” she explains.
4. What is the first feeling of love? Permanent
Nothing explains the true feelings of love like a sense of surety that you’ve found your happily-ever-after. Archana Gaderao, who is happily married to her one true love, agrees, “When you really love someone your feelings for that person never change, no matter what the circumstances.”
5. True love is unconditional
As cliché as it may sound, true love is also unconditional in every sense of the word. Ruchika Gupta, who is based out of Meguro, says, “If you ask me what does true love feel like to you, I’d say that it is unconditional love that is free of all expectations.
“Your partner’s happiness becomes your source of joy, and the connection between two people transcends physical attachment and attraction. You accept the other person wholeheartedly, including their flaws and shortcomings.”
6. What does true love feel like? Secure and stable
“True feelings of love bring in an unwavering sense of security and stability. You don’t worry about breaking up with your partner or them leaving you abruptly. There is no doubting your partner or sense of insecurity in the relationship about the future. You find pure happiness in sacrificing things for your partner and their well-being,” says Candy Silveria.
Related Reading: Twin Flame Connection – Definition, Signs And Stages
7. True love is a warm feeling
“For eternity poets and writers have tried to define true love, yet this remains an unsolved puzzle. I’d describe the feeling of love in its truest form as this unique warmth that wraps your heart all the time – every minute, every second. It’s your comfort zone where you want to retire after a long day.
“True love can also feel like this excruciating pain in your chest when you miss the person and can’t reach out to them. It can break your heart into a thousand pieces yet nothing in this world feels so nourishing and sweet as the taste of true love,” says Kolkata-based Arti Bhaumik.
8. True love does not hold you back
What does true love feel like? The experience of love certainly changes with generations. Gen Zers, for instance, relate to true feelings of love as something that’s liberating.
As Mudra Joshi, an English literature student and writer, puts it, “Gen-Z has so many opportunities available and everyone is doing their own thing and pursuing different paths. In this scheme of things, true love is that which does not hold you back but empowers. This might even explain why Gen-Z has so many long-distance relationships. True love can be the acceptance that your partner’s path is radically different from yours, but you can still find congruity together.”
9. How do you know if love is true love? It’s dependable
Anupama Garg, a content and communications expert, says, “True love is practical but not calculative. It inquires but doesn’t get nosey and intrusive. It supports but doesn’t become a crutch. It is dependable but doesn’t create codependence.”
Related Reading: How To Build An Interdependent Relationship?
10. True love is between two hearts
What is true love between a man and a woman? Navin Nair, a single man from Mumbai, says, “True love is not between a beautiful girl and a handsome man, but between two real hearts.”
11. True feelings of love stem from empathy
Gaurvi Narang, a 20-year-old constantly battling Gen Z ordeals while also balancing a journalism degree and writing gigs, says, “Given how more and more people from my generation struggle with mental health issues, I’d describe the feeling of love as being rooted in empathy. True love lies in understanding someone’s mental health struggles and helping them with the same. More than love and romance, it’s now about support.
“Love is also about not tying someone down to you constantly but setting them free. It’s about understanding that things sometimes do change in the blink of an eye and trying to make peace with it”
So, what does true love feel like? As you can see, it can mean different things to different people. The spectrum of those experiences is really quite wide, ranging from unconditional love to love that sets you free. For all these varied experiences and expressions, the psychology of true love boils down to one thing – total and absolute acceptance of a person.