How to Know if You`re Really in Love/Graham and Luca


My name is Cheyenne. I was born and raised in a small city of about 400,000 people. I was never into country or farm stuff, never really had an interest. When I was 16 I met Graham at a party in the city. Even though it was a small party, we had not gotten around to talking. He had caught my eye though and I was curious about him, so I messaged him on facebook. He drove into the city and we hung out a lot. We seemed to really click. Every weekend we spent together, either driving around on his tractor, sitting on a dirt road, meeting new people and trying new things or just lazin around at his house out on the farm. We could sit up all night just talking. Four months into the relationship, I started getting nervous and wanted to avoid him for no clear reason at all.
About a month later, I met Luca and I'm not sure what made me do it but a few weeks since meeting him, I flew to Italy with him. We stayed there for a couple months with his family. There was never very much time for anything intimate and I am grateful for that. I left him three months ago and flew back to my home.
I literally bumped into Graham coming out of a Tim Hortons on the edge of the city a couple months ago. We had decided that it would be nice to get together. We have gone out seven or eight times now and I feel as if we had never broken up at all, nothing has changed. It was a bit awkward at first but I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to him everyday. I'm just afraid my feelings for him may be building and he isn't ready for any of that.
How can I tell if he is ready? Is he afraid? Or are we both from worlds that are too different; him a country boy and myself a city girl? Will it work even though he has had sex many times and no serious relationships, yet I have had serious relationships but never sex?
I'm confused and I'm not sure if I should run or keep letting things go the way they are now.

Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame
Love Again ~ Creating  
Hi, Cheyenne,

It is so, so important to know one thing about relationships.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to be in a relationship, even a good one, and not have confusing feelings come up.  We can't get over things when we don't know something important.  In this case, I think it's that you and your boyfriend don't have a way to look at, understand and talk about feelings that come up.  All of us tend to think that relationships just "happen" or don't "happen."  That's just not true.  Relationships take a ton of work and a TON of learning and talking.  We have to learn about ourselves and understand how to communicate.   

None of us feel like something's wrong if we don't know something in school.  We just have to study it.  All through life we will have feelings and thoughts and challenges that we CANNOT possibly understand - because we haven't studied ourselves.

What people call "love" are  the chemicals that every animal feels - the mating urge that draws us together.  It's not enough.  Chemicals don't make us smart or conscious or good communicators.  We need more than animals do.  We need to learn how to be conscious, and aware of what's going on with our emotions, or they WILL kill any good relationship.

I suggest you read some good books, and maybe read with your boyfriend, as well.  My husband and I have poured the 35 years of our work into 2 books that you might check out.  One is about knowing ourselves.  The other is about bringing that knowledge of ourselves into a relationship.  If those books don't draw you, look for some that do.

I think it would be a great thing if every couple in the whole world would "study" relationships and themselves.  You and your boyfriend can decide to be "learning partners."  Because you are drawn to each other, you have the opportunity to really look more deeply into whatever comes up inside you for your whole life, and learn to be even more wise, and more connected with each other.

Most people are good, but they are definitely IGNORANT, and that can lead to just as much heartache.   What we don't learn haunts us and sets us up for failure.  No one magically becomes knowledgeable or wise.  Until we work on understanding relationships, we won't understand them.  What we don't take care of gets destroyed, just like at the physical level.  Don't want to brush your teeth?  Good luck keeping them.  Don't want to maintain your car?  Good luck with that, too.  Relationships are the same.  They don't just "happen."Or, how's this?  I burned up my first car engine!  I had seen people putting gas into cars at gas stations, but didn't realize they also put oil and water in!  I had no father, and we didn't even have money for a car when I was a child, so I never got educated.... until driving down the freeway, one day, the engine burst into FLAMES!

LEARN, so your relationship doesn't burst into flames!  And if you're with the right person, he'll be willing to learn with you.  But, remember, no relationship just "works" by magic.  We have to work at it.

Good luck to you!
Jan Harrell, PhD
Author, Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame  

How to Know if You`re Really in Love

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Jan Harrell, PhD


I believe I can address any questions and concerns a person might have.


I have been a clinical psychologist for 32 years. I co-authored a book on relationships, Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame, with my husband of 40 years, who is also a psychologist. I have taught at UCLA and at Southern Oregon University. I was the psychology columnist for the magazine, Make You Happen! for 1 1/2 years.

I have a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California.

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