By Jenn Sinrich
Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a while or are in beginning stages, you might be wondering if your partner really does love you. Here are some ways to tell.
It’s easy to fall for what we see in the movies when it comes to being “madly in love.” However, in real life, the meaning or understanding of “madly in love” and answering the question “does my partner really love me?” is a bit more, shall we say, real—and, in fact, it very much varies based on the individual or couple, as well as the stage of relationship the couple is in. “For many couples, being madly in love is associated with passionate love—the hot desire, desperate longing, and passion—that couples feel at the beginning of their courtship, which usually decreases in intensity over time,” explains Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., professor at Oakland University in Michigan and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great.
Dr. Orbuch also points out that there is more than one type of love that occurs in relationships. One is full of passion, known as passionate love, and the other is a love filled with friendship that keeps two individuals truly happy over the long-term. “This second type, called ‘companionate love,’ is characterized by friendship, intimacy and commitment, and has been found to actually increase over the course of a relationship,” she says. “For other couples, being madly in love is associated with companionate love, along with reigniting romance and passion.”
But if every relationship is different, and the experience of being “madly in love” can vary based upon the individual affected, how does one know they’re madly in love—does their partner really love them? Here are some key signs, according to relationship experts.
They want to spend most, if not all, of their time with you.
If you’re trying to answer the question, “does my partner really love me?” there’s one easy way to find out. A madly-in-love partner is likely to want to be together as much as possible. “They love being with you whether you’re doing something special, traveling, or just hanging around and chilling out and this ‘urge to merge’ can lead to a wonderfully reassuring and familiar relationship—or, eventually, a feeling that you need to build in some alone time!”
They make you a priority.
“When your partner makes you and the relationship a priority over other things in his or her life such as work, friends and personal hobbies, they are showing you they value the connection,” explains Rachel Needle, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. “Making time when they are busy or re-working their schedule to be with you for something that is important to you shows love and commitment.”
They are thoughtful and pay attention.
When you’ve had a bad day at work and want to vent to your partner, does he or she listen and give thoughtful advice? If so, this is a good sign that the answer to the question “does my partner really love me?” is a resounding yes. “When your partner listens to details and goes out of his or her way to make you feel special, cared for and heard, it is a sign of love,” says Dr. Needle.
They align their interests with yours.
Especially when you and your partner first fall in love, a very strong sign that he or she is madly in love is that he or she is twilling to alter their priorities and make changes to better align with you, says Dr. Needle. “Being open and willing to make changes and try new things that you enjoy, shows that your partner is committed to the relationship.”
They introduce you to friends and family.
“When your partner is madly in love with you, they are happy if you connect (and they want you to connect) with people who are important to them,” says Dr. Orbuch. “Not only do they want to show you off to others, but they like the idea that their family and friends understand firsthand all of the amazing qualities that made them fall in love with you in the first place.”
They speak in “we” not “I” language.
Whether or not you live together, when you’re in a committed relationship with another person, your lives naturally become intertwined. “When your partner no longer considers you two completely separate people, but instead, as a couple, this is a sign that he or she is madly in love with you,” says Dr. Orbuch. This, she explains, can be noted in the language he or she uses to refer to you as a couple. “When someone asks you what you did last weekend, he or she might respond by saying, ‘We went to the movies and we had a fantastic dinner,’ rather than, ‘I went to the movies with Sandy, and took her out to dinner afterwards.’”
They share intimate and personal information with you.
“Love motivates people to share extensive personal, often confidential, information with a partner,” says Dr. Orbuch. “They feel an urge to share things about their childhood, desires, feelings, and aspirations for the future to you (and with you).” Although you might think that your partner is merely an open individual, it’s quite possible that he or she has not revealed these feelings and desires to other people they know.