Differentiating between loving and being in love with someone can be tough especially for people new to the thing. Yes, you'll feel passionate, “butterflies in your stomach” or overly excited when around the person. You’ll also long to see him/her more-often-than-not. However, it’s soon after a breakup or calling it quits that you realize s/he wasn’t the one. So, how can you tell that you are in love and not that you just love somebody?
Loving someone is a matter of choice just as you would wish to help a stranger. And due to this, it becomes easier to handle a breakup or separation with a someone you love/loved. However, you don’t choose to be in love with someone. It just happens. The pain, anger, or sense of betrayal you feel once it’s over is harder to deal with.
If you find yourself putting your partner first before everything else, then you are most likely in love. You’ll even make great sacrifices just to see them achieve something that may not seem important for you. Imagine taking out a loan just to help them finish graduate school? When you love someone, you'll wish the best for them. However, you won’t make sacrifices and will only help them within your capacity.
Falling out of love with someone you just love is much easier. In fact, you will take a short time to recover from the episode. You won’t feel very obligated to them, you won’t find it hard to find a replacement, and you won’t really care so much about their issues. On the contrary, separation from a person you are in love with is devastating and will take a long time to recover, if you ever do. People in love see a lifetime together and will carve their lives as a unit. Their feeling will be true and not fleeting.
Loving someone means craving for their companionship, being with them no matter the situation. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sad or happy moment. When in love, you desire to see your partner being happiest even if it means withdrawing from the scene sometimes. You'll do this when you feel you are the cause of their unhappiness or if you know that she being out with the girls makes her happier than her being with you. It’s always a matter of creating the best balance in life, at times sacrificing your feelings and wants.
The feeling of loving someone is symbolic with a rollercoaster ride. At one point you are at a high then in the next, you are at a low. You can also equate it to an adrenaline rush or being high in a drug. Being in love is more gradual and takes time to build a healthy relationship. This allows you to understand and learn more about the person, adjust your life in the best way possible just to ensure your partner achieves the greatest happiness.
When you love someone, you are more concerned about how they make you feel. What do they bring to the table? You’ll, therefore, be more at home with a person who shows compassion, makes you happy, and dances to your tune. If in love, you will focus more on making the other person happy. Ensuring they aren't sad and do anything to uplift their spirits. Let them be with other friends even though you wanted their company, being supportive, and constantly ensuring about their day, wishes, dreams and more.
A good label for loving someone is owning them. You want them to fulfill your desires and will only want to be around an individual who makes you happy and meets your wishes and needs. This can be hard to achieve during the “lows” of the relationship. When in love, you enter the relationship as equal partners. No one is a senior or a junior in the partnership and each is required to make sacrifices on behalf of the other person. This will be maintained during the Lows and the Highs.
If you complain about how difficult it is to maintain a relationship or feel exhausted, then you love the person and are not in love. The challenges come about because of the “Lows,” your desire and needs not being met, sense of selfishness, and the sense of ownership. In the case of being in love, the relationship is much smoother because you view each other as equals. You also understand that the other person’s happiness comes first. Therefore, chances of fighting, wrangles, and feeling ignored, or using too much effort is less likely.