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Do you love your partner, or just the relationship?

Love means taking trips together
Love means taking trips together
Natalia Horrigan

They say that you don’t know what love really is until you have felt it for the first time. But even then, how is one to know that love is indeed what they are feeling? There are no set rules for love, and everyone loves differently. Most people long for a companion and that special someone to be there for them through thick and thin. But that doesn’t mean settling for someone simply because you would rather be with anyone than be by yourself! So, it’s time to reflect upon your own relationship.

Some food for thought: Do you genuinely enjoy spending time with your partner because of traits X, Y, and Z, or is your partner easily replaceable? Do you feel like you couldn’t possibly imagine your life without them, or are you thrilled at the idea of being with someone new? Are you in your relationship simply because you feel that if you end it, you will never find anyone else, and end up a crazy cat lady?

When you and your partner are together, you should be able to laugh, cry, talk about your days, share advice, and have meaningful conversations without feeling forced or being fake. You should have met each other’s families and feel comfortable around them (except for crazy Aunt Sue, whose jokes and body odor would make a tree stump feel uncomfortable). When you are truly in love, you will feel like you often miss your partner, even if they are just at work for the day. You will anxiously await your next meeting, no matter what your plans are. Little moments such as preparing a meal together or just relaxing on the couch easily turn into significant time spent together when you are in love.

Of course it’s healthy to spend time away from your partner; everyone needs a little ‘me time’ once in a while. The point is that if you only love the idea of being in a relationship, you may not see each other very often. Perhaps you only call when you really have nothing else to do and everyone else that you would prefer to hang out with is busy. If it feels like a chore to spend time with them rather than a treat, then you may just be in love with the relationship.