- Step 1: Look at patterns Look at recurrent patterns in the relationship. Is it characterized by drama, conflict, and bouts of infidelity? Are you concerned about how the two of you appear as a couple to others? Do you need your partner to measure up to standards that aren't their own? If so, you've got a crush.
- Step 2: Consider any fears Pay attention to whether the relationship leaves you with fears of being abandoned, or terrified by your vulnerabilities. If so, it's not the real thing.
- Step 3: Be realistic Be realistic. Do you overly idealize your lover, finding them to be almost flawless? Do you have fantasies about spending the rest of your lives together even though you've just met? Does being together give you a strong emotional kick? If so, you've almost certainly got a crush.
- Step 4: Consider sensuality Ask yourself whether the relationship is rooted in sensuality, sex, taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell. If so, it's probably short-term. That doesn't mean it can't turn into true love, though.
- Step 5: Understand long-term relationships Know that long-term relationships may begin with some or the same characteristics as short-term ones. But for a crush to turn into true love, the emotional fireworks must transition into friendship, and sexual attraction must become an adjunct to the total relationship, not the basis for it.
- TIP: Plato argued that true love endures over space and time -- for example, when two people are not together for a while.
- Step 6: Consider commitment Give thought to how committed you are to the relationship. Does the relationship have a long history? Are you willing to forgive your partner's faults? These are characteristics of true love.
- Step 7: Consider level of concern Ask yourself whether you have an abiding concern for the other person's well-being. Are you there when they need you? Are they there when you need them? If so, it's love.
- FACT: In a Cosmopolitan magazine survey, nearly two-thirds of women reported being worried about making a bad choice and winding up divorced.
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