1. Feeling safe and comfortable. Sure, those feelings should exist within love. It’s easy to find security more appealing than listening to your often wild and messy heart. It’s totally understandable. But staying in something – or with someone – just because it’s familiar isn’t the same thing as love.
2. Wild, red hot attraction. Have you ever been around someone that you are so over-the-top-bananas attracted to that it literally feels like there’s a magnetic pull bringing you towards them? Can’t lie, it’s pretty fantastic. And a real head rush. But if physical intimacy is where it ends, the relationship doesn’t have much foundation to stand upon.
3. Having an overwhelming amount of things in common. So, you like the exact same obscure, indie band and consider Larry David your spirit animal (also acknowledge Larry David would be the first person to roll his eyes at the term spirit animal). You love the same movies and actors and writers and share book recommendations back and forth all day long. Maybe you’re both diehard fans of the same team and every date night you get to share the same level of excitement. It feels amazing to geek out over all the same stuff together. But that doesn’t magically mean you’re soul mates. Just means you’ve both got GREAT taste.
4. Being nostalgic about the past. It’s natural to think back on fond memories and feel the slight ping of regret or what if. As humans, I think we like torturing ourselves a little bit. When things aren’t going well in the present, we reflect on what was and decide that must be better. Nostalgia is normal. But don’t confuse it for love. With some exceptions, you’re probably not still in love with your ex. Your brain is just trying to trick you.
5. Receiving sought after validation. You know that feeling of longing after someone who thinks of you as invisible? It’ll eat away at you. It’s like being in high school again. However, if you receive validation from that same person, it can feel a lot like love. Wanting someone to notice you and realizing they finally do? How can that not feel like love?
6. Being with someone after a spell of loneliness. We crave affection and human attention. Like the song goes,“If you can’t be with the one you love, honey. Love the one you’re with.” Except this kind of ‘love’ will fizzle. Because it’s not actually love. It’s replacement.
7. Truly loving someone, but not being in love. This one is so, so, so hard. Loving someone and caring about them does not necessarily mean you are in love. It can be difficult to separate the two. All I can think to describe it as is ‘in love’ is this weird, fuzzy, almost unbearable feeling deep in your gut. It’s an ache for someone else. And it’s a feeling you can’t force. Even if you really do love someone.