Countless, innumerable sayings have their basis in this subject, a topic that supposedly makes the world go 'round and lifts us up where we belong. It is, apparently, the cause of life's greatest joy and despair. Love is what everyone seems to want, and many do seem to find.
Throughout modern culture, in human beings' eagerness to pursue this “love” thing, they must be careful to guard their hearts from predisposed ideas and conclusion-jumping. After all, it is a classic cautionary tale, that of the love-blinded fool who finds a partner, only to soon be hurt by their departure, whether literally or figuratively. So, when running the gamut of the lovin' game, one has to wonder: How do you know when it's real love?
Among the many definitions of love comes one that has perhaps been reinforced by countless stories and other pieces of lore: “Love is sacrifice.” The idea is, essentially, that if a person loves another person, then he or she is willing to sacrifice his or her self, or elements of their life, in order to become closer to the other.
In order to apply this practically to real life, you just have to apply an honest litmus test for both parties involved. Are you willing to sacrifice certain aspects of your personality in order to make the other person happy? Are there any bad habits that you can now, with their encouragement, be rid of? Are you willing to chip away at your lifestyle and social standing in order to more closely be intertwined with theirs? These are the important considerations, and very revealing of true feelings to know when it's real love.
Most people have an understanding that a relationship requires “depth”; that is, a quality to it beyond physical attraction. Maybe someone wants to find someone that they can have a conversation with, or with similar interests, or that will mutually support each others' passions.
But the truth is, there are probably thousands of people out there who meet these lists of criteria, even stringently. However, consider the powerful impact you can find if you were to ask this of yourself: Would I be willing to still be with this person if we never had physical contact? Even if the honest answer is that nobody may be that hands-off all throughout, the resultant soul-searching can still serve as a valuable indicator of one's true intentions and needs. This is true emotional intimacy: When two people are so close that they can be across the room and still feel like they are in each other's arms.
This one is very simple, but not necessarily very easy. The idea is that, to know when it's real love, you just have to examine where the relationship is going. Is this just the smoke that resulted from the fiery passion of a one-night encounter? Is this merely a seasonal fling? Is this a match of temporary convenience? Or is this two people who want to be together forever, and not just in a cliche, sentimental sense?
If two people truly love each other, and if that love is real, than their respective futures should overlap. If you can envision a future with the other person, that is great. If you cannot envision a future without them, that might just be real love.