We all dream of happily ever after, but no one teaches us what that looks like. Look for these signs of love and then you’ll ride off into the sunset.
In our culture, you can’t get away from fairy tales. Whether they are in the form of Disney movies or chick flicks, we are all programmed to desire our own Prince Charming *or Cinderella*. The messages about love are everywhere, so we automatically think that it will happen to us.
But as we get older, reality sets in. Why was that guy you dated last year such a douche bag? You even thought he was “the one,” yet he totally blew you off and cheated on you. Dang it! That’s not supposed to happen with happily ever after!
So, what to do? Do you give up on love and chalk all of your romantic dreams up to unrealistic fantasies? Or do you keep your heart open and hope that you’ll end up like Jack and Rose from The Titanic *minus his tragic death* or Noah and Allie from The Notebook *ditto… minus the alzheimer’s*. But hey, you get my drift.
What signs of love did you see growing up?
Maybe your parents were the Noah and Allie of the neighborhood. But for most of us… that was not the model of love we grew up with. Instead, many of us are from divorced families. Or even if we’re not, we still saw our parents live in a loveless relationship. [Read: 20 meaningful, long, love quotes to inspire and enthuse]
Even at best, maybe our parents were civil and friendly to one another, but had no passion in their relationship. No wonder we are all confused when trying to figure out the signs of love!
14 signs of love that will lead to happily ever after
Don’t worry. And don’t give up hope! The signs of love aren’t as elusive as most people make them out to be. Even if most of us weren’t taught what signs to look for, you can still learn these signs of love so you know what you should – and shouldn’t – look for on your journey to find love.
#1 Love means that neither one of you plays the victim role or blames the other. Another thing we don’t learn in school is how to work through our problems effectively. Instead, most people just scream, shout, and call each other names. Well, that’s not very effective now, is it? One of the big signs of love is when both people take personal responsibility for their actions and they don’t blame the other one.
#2 Love means having no expectations. Yah, I know. Easier said than done! But bear with me here. Expectations can be the kiss of death in a relationship. When we have expectations of our partner, we will inevitably be disappointed.
But one of the real signs of love is to let the other person be who they really are, without expecting them to be who YOU want them to be. As long as they are treating you well, then let them be who they are. [Read: How do you know when you love someone? 18 foolproof ways]
#3 Love means that neither one of you is jealous. Most people seem to automatically think that one of the signs of love is jealousy. But I assure you, it is not.
Jealousy is a form of fear. And there is no room for fear in love. So, when two people truly love each other unconditionally, then they are not jealous. Why? Because they have total and complete trust and faith in each other.
#4 Love means that both people show their love to each other. As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” You know that these sayings exist for a reason, right? And this one couldn’t be more true. If you love someone, it’s not enough to say it.
You have to show them you love them. Everyone has their own love language. There is even a book about it called the Five Love Languages that you should check out for more information about it. [Read: Uncanny things couples in love start doing alike]
#5 Love means putting your partner’s needs equal to – or before – your own. Love is a two-way street. You can’t have one person giving all the time and the other person taking. It doesn’t work that way. BOTH partners have to care about each other’s needs just as much *if not more* than their own. Because if one *or both* people feel that their needs aren’t being met, then resentment will grow.
#6 Love requires effort. Some people think that once they’re in a relationship, they can sit back and give a sigh of relief and think, “Whew! Now the work is done.” They think they can just coast and not try to do anything romantic anymore. That’s not love.
In real love, you always want to keep the romance alive because it comes naturally – and it’s not an effort at all. [Read: Is love real? 10 signs that happy fuzzy feeling is real]
#7 Love includes empathy. Empathy is not the same as sympathy. It means putting yourself in another person’s shoes and trying to identify with their feelings. When a partner doesn’t try to understand your feelings, you feel either rejected or unloved. True, unconditional love is always trying to understand and empathize.
#8 Love makes you feel good. While that may sound obvious, think about how many people in the world think that it’s normal to feel bad in their love relationship? Countless people stay in either physically, emotionally, or mentally abusive relationships because they think that’s normal. Newsflash: IT’S NOT NORMAL. And most importantly, IT’S NOT LOVE. [Read: 23 facts about love that will definitely blow your mind]
#9 Love requires appreciation. Science has proven that you can actually measure emotions. Yeah, I know. Sounds weird. But it’s true. And the best emotions are love and appreciation *not surprisingly*.
It’s so important to show appreciation for the people you love. Don’t take each other for granted, because none of us know when it’s our last day – anyone could be hit by a bus walking across the street at any moment *not to sound morbid*.
#10 Love is freeing, not needy. Many people think that they have to be with the one they love 24/7. But that’s neediness, not love. Real, unconditional love doesn’t have any requirements about how often you see your loved one.
Instead, it is freeing. People trust each other enough to let go and not suffocate the other one with their own needs and desires. [Read: 12 real signs of true love in a relationship]
#11 Love can be done from a distance. It could be a long-distance relationship. Or it could be that you love each other, but maybe your lives are going two different directions. Or you realize that you are simply not compatible long-term. You can still love someone but still choose not to be with them for one reason or another.
#12 Love is not possessive. Just like jealousy, most people think that with loves comes being possessive. But real love doesn’t keep someone under lock and key. That whole “ball and chain” metaphor is not a good one! Who wants to feel like that?
Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you own them. They are still an individual, and you need to treat them as such. [Read: 5 reasons why loving someone too much kills the love]
#13 Love requires emotional maturity. If two people are name-calling, fighting, and basically disrespecting one another, that’s not love. True love happens when both people are acting with emotional maturity. It requires both people to be selfless – not selfish – because that’s the only space where love can thrive.
#14 Love starts with self-love. You cannot give anything to another person that doesn’t already exist within you. So, if you don’t love yourself, how do you know how to love someone else?
And, no – self-love is not arrogant or stuck up. People who act like that actually have the opposite of self-love – that’s why they act like that *to make themselves feel better*. Loving yourself teaches you how to truly love another person.
Happily ever after might not be as easy as we thought it would be, but it is possible. But the first step to that fairy tale ending is learning these signs of love.