IN THE BEGINNING
Love is something that most people aspire to attain during their lifetimes. There are many different types of love, of course: Platonic love, such as that shown to family members and friends, is an important emotion that stays with you through thick and thin. Love of an inanimate object or thing, such as a job, is important too in that it is what you do every day of your life to maintain your lifestyle and support your family and values. However, romantic love is, in many ways, the most important type of love that there is.
That is because romantic love is the thing that keeps our emotional health in balance and our mental health in check. Romantic love can be difficult to come by but is well worth the wait.
As you mature from your teenage years into adulthood, it becomes more important to begin thinking about what type of future you wish to have. Do you even want to have a partner to share your life with? Do you want someone to help you start a family, share life experiences and grow old with? What is it you are looking for in a life long partner? There are many men and women in the world who are just waiting for the perfect “someone” to come along but it isn’t always easy. And once you do find that person, how can you be sure he or she truly loves you? This might seem obvious, but often times it is not.
To be truthful, most relationships are built on initial impressions that the person presents upon your meeting: Appearance, subtle habits, professional aspirations, likes and dislikes all play a role in whether your interest is piqued or not. For instance, if you meet someone who meets all of your expectations except one- say, she or he is a brunette rather than the blonde you had hoped for- you may immediately decide that this person would not be of interest to you. If this is the case, than it will be hard to find someone who will fall as deeply in love with you and you will with them. Being too picky can easily eliminate a lot of great people out there. Therefore, you should decide right up front what you can and cannot live with. And you should also remember that often, love doesn’t hit you square in the face at first sight. Instead, it grows softly as time goes by. And this may be true of the person you are meeting.
IS THIS A RELATIONSHIP WORTH PURSUING?
Once a relationship is established, however, how do you know that the “love of your life” reciprocates your feelings? And after you have been together for awhile, do you think that perhaps your significant other is not as interested as he or she once was? Do you feel as if their love for you is waning? How can you tell if she or he is telling the truth when they assure you that they still love and adore you?
SIGNS THAT THINGS ARE NOT GOING SO WELL
There are many telltale signs that indicate whether or not someone is telling the truth about their true feelings for you. Some indications that your partner may be pulling away are as follows:
1. Does he/she show less interest in your likes and dislikes than when you first met?
2. Does he/she refuse to join you in activities that you once enjoyed together?
3. Is there a general lack of interest in your work or activities?
4. Do you see a change in daily habits that your partner is involved in such as going out more with his/her friends, watching more TV late at night rather than coming to bed with you, talking or texting on the phone excessively, forgetting to do or participate in things he/she promised you would be done.
5. Is your loved one drinking more than usual or participating in drug use for the first time ever?
These are just a few of the things to look for in a relationship that may be floundering. This does not mean that there is no hope for things to get better. These are just warning signs that the relationship needs help, i.e. a marriage counselor or some other type of counseling such as a church social worker or a licensed psychologist.
SIGNS THAT THINGS ARE PROBABLY GOING YOUR WAY
On the other hand, there are many sure signs that your partner truly cares for you and loves you deeply. Some of these may be subtle, so you may need to look for them. These include:
1. Putting your needs before his/hers.
2. Helping with the household chores, whether you have requested their help or not.
3. Complimenting you on your appearance, your work, your choice of anything from clothing to furniture to the children’s wardrobe.
4. Doing little things that are totally unexpected: Flowers for no reason at all, a dinner out on the town, picking up a couple of good steaks for dinner instead of the hotdogs you had planned on fixing. Breakfast in bed is always good too.
5. Does he hold the door and is she appreciative when you do so? Both are good signs that love – and respect – are in tact.
6. Holding your hand in public and while watching a movie at home. It is always a good sign when your partner is proud to be seen with you and displays public (and private) affectiion without hesitation.
7. Includes you in planning vacations, parties, outings and major purchases. That shows you that your partner values your input and really cares what you think.
8. Truly approves of and enjoys the idea of your having friends and activities outside the partnership.
9. Laughs at your jokes, whether they are funny or not. Laughs with you and not at you!
Again, these are just a few of the telltale signs that love exists in your relationship. There are so many more, of course, if you only take the time to look.
HOW TO PRESERVE THE LOVE
Showing your significant other that you love them is an important part of any relationship. Anyone can ask their partner “Do you still love me?” but the answer may be positive and the actions not. These are things that you can look for every day of the week. Of course, the fireworks that initiated the relationship in the first place rarely continue as time progresses. However, they can be rekindled with frequent “time outs” such as regular small (or not so small!) vacations out of town, day trips to a place you both have always wanted to visit, having date nights on a regular basis (get a sitter who will be available on a certain day of the week, every week)…take in a movie, have a nice dinner, walk in the park. If you reside near a park or a body of water, take time to enjoy nature together. This is one of the best ways to wind down after a difficult week and enjoy one another by holding hands, having a picnic meal, walking along the shore. (If your partner has no interest in doing any of this, well, go back to the first list of items depicting signs of love lost and review it again).
The most important thing to remember about knowing that your partner loves you is communication. Make sure you talk about things that are bothering you as well as things that are making you happy in the relationship. Otherwise, problems can fester and explode in the future. Many divorces could be avoided if couples just took the time to talk their problems out with one another or with a professional counselor. True love is worth preserving and although it might seem so easy to just get a divorce, it is important to realize that giving up on a relationship that once meant so much to you is sort of like selling a fine car because it needs a tune up. And if there happens to be children involved, the love doesn’t end with you and your partner: You must take them into consideration. Their hearts will be broken and their worlds will be changed drastically.
If someone truly loves you, they will work hard to preserve the relationship you have built together. That in itself is probably the most important thing to remember when trying to determine whether or not your partner still loves you. They will respect your feelings about things that are important in your life: Family, finances, health and welfare of the members of your family, religious beliefs, tastes in music and other entertainment media as well as everyday things such as your love of an afternoon nap, your passion for nature, your preference for sharing the chores in the house equally. Love comes in many forms and is shown in many ways.
There is no one thing that will alert you to the fact that your significant other still cares for you and loves you. But with a little attention to detail, and a lot of communication between the two of you, it will become obvious to you just how much this relationship is worth saving.