How to Know If You’re in Love

When you’re in love, you want to be there for them, even if it means giving up your own dreams and desires. It’s a huge commitment to a person, and it can be difficult to make sure that you are really in love—but your gut will often tell you when you are.

You’ll want to know them well, on a deep level, and you won’t be afraid to share anything with them (even things that are embarrassing). When people are truly in love, they don’t see flaws in their partner and can’t imagine life without them.

It’s a huge responsibility, and you’ll feel more and more of a need to protect them from harm or from themselves. Some scientists have even found that when people are in the throes of romantic love, brain regions associated with reward and pleasure light up the same as they do when people are given cocaine.

Love is a feeling that comes with an inherent sense of empathy for the other person—it’s not narcissism, but concern for their spiritual growth and happiness. It’s a great motivation to help them through hard times and an excellent reason for making sacrifices to make their lives a little easier.

Whether it’s platonic, familial, or romantic, true love has the power to change our lives and bring us joy. But it’s also a mystery—and researchers from every field have tried to figure out what makes that pitter-patter of the heart so special.