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How to Know if You`re Really in Love/trying to figure out feelings for someone

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Question
Hi Carl,

I've been having a lot of anxiety about something recently.

About 3 months ago I moved to a new town, and met a guy and liked him immediately.  We have very good chemistry - we always have lots to talk about and it's easy for both of us to be ourselves around each other.

About 1 month ago he asked me out on a date, and since then we have become quite close.  We talk every day, and he has made it very clear he likes me a lot.

He went on vacation about 3 weeks ago, and during this time we texted each other all the time.  He told me all about his vacation and how it was going.  He also kept telling me how amazing he thinks I am, and told all his family and friends about me, and we talked about potential "upcoming trips" and how he's never ever been happier with anyone and basically, that he's crazy about me.

He is the nicest person I have ever met and he treats me like a queen.  He always gets me nice little gifts and does nice things for me.  He is very nurturing and very sweet towards me, and will basically do anything possible for me!  On the flip side there are a lot of things I adore about him, he's nice and funny, he's very modest and so so smart, and very career driven.

I feel a heavy deal of anxiety though.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was head of heels in love with me.

I really don't know how I feel about him.  I really liked him right away and for a couple of months before we dated.  His feelings about me seem very intense and I am stressing out about that.  It's hard for me to hang out and have my mind at "total peace" because I feel like I'm spending a lot of time trying to figure out how I feel about him, rather than just relax and enjoy our time together.

I also don't know if this matters, but I have dated a lot in the past, it has been a mishmash of too many men in my life, a few of them who were not good for me, including one relationship that made me feel very inadequate.  I don't know if any of this makes a difference or not.

The truth is, I would be very very lucky to have him.  He's totally amazing and perfect.  I just... can't think clear about how I feel about him, and I don't know how to relax.  I've mentioned to him that it all feels too strong, and so he told me to let him know whenever something feels off, and that I can always tell him, and that he won't bring up "the future", and that we can take it day by day.  But I just don't know how to relax about this!

Do you have any suggestions?  He's wonderful, and I would love to be in love with him.  I just don't know how to get there.

Answer
Dear Cheryl,

Are you peaceful? I hope. If not, meditate. Pray, too--if you believe (which means you trust God is taking care of all, or that things are as they should be in his world). If you don't think that way, trust all things are as their causes would have them be, and that you can live in harmony with it all.

I suspected--whilst reading your letter--that you are doing what most women often do (pardon me) when things seem perfect: thinking through love, because the mothering instinct says 'get the best deal', and since we are now advanced primates, that translates into--among orher things in this selective 'throw-away' world, getting material and emotional needs met on demand. Because you are thinking; 'is this It?'

But then I thought, you might just be sad.

Cheryl, there is nothing (NO THING) a man hates more with all of his being and intelligence and soul and heart, than not knowing what's going on--especially where the investment of his life is being made: in love.

Therefore, I am asking you to tell your man--and you have him already--all of what you told me. There is your answer.

Let me know what you feel.

And relax.

And let me know: do you love him?

How to Know if You`re Really in Love

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Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.)

Expertise

I've read, thought, written, and taught about love for over eleven years. I've had thoughtful love-oriented relationships only--for about twenty-eight years. I struggle endlessly to be a supremely thoughtful, compassionate, fair, and empirical thinker. This is crucial. I believe in the feeling and process of love. This is also crucial. As an artist, a poet, and an essayist--as a teacher of ESL in other cultures--I have had ample opportunity for the analysis of love... personally and inter-culturally, and this has made my introspection and analysis of relationships--with original ideas and those of my favorite psychotherapists--very fruitful. I will tell you three things, which will help you now--before you even write to me: To have true love in yourself and with another, you must: 1. Be Free. 2. Be Adult. 3. Be Honest. 4. Be Disciplined. 5. Find numbers 3~5 easy, because you are overcome with love. 6. Be willing to do virtually anything reasonable (and many things unreasonable from the point of view of others).7. Never settle (in other words, be with someone you do not love), thinking that you will grow into love. 8. Never take a match made by another; your heart and mind must choose your love--period. 9. Never allow yourself to be put into temptation--ever (this is also natural--if you are in love). 10. Be able to listen like you never listened before--to yourself and to your beloved. 11. Love humanity--both the conditions & qualities, and all people.

Experience

I've been fortunate to have helped many people around the world and I love to do it. I will be happy to help you, too--no matter whom you are. If I am busy or unable to help you right away, consider these books to help you help yourself--until I can respond: "Being Happy", by Andrew Mathews; any books by Dr. Wayne Dyer; "The Art of Loving", by Dr. Erich Fromm; "Love", by Leo Buscaglia, "True Love", and "Anger", both by Thich Nhat Hanh. Also Read "The Beloved" and "The Prophet", both by Khalil Gibran. Read "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of The Lie", both by Dr. M. Scott Peck.... Learn more about me at http://carlatteniese.org

Organizations
Amnesty International Partner of Conscience (http://amnesty.org), Union of Concerned Scientists (http://ucsusa.org) and Avaaz.org (htp://avaaz.org)

Publications
Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110601000943), New York Newsday, The Planetary Review, The Long Island Catholic, Wake Up And Laugh (http://wakeupandlaugh.wordpress.com), The Ocean And The Stars (http://bitnacarlo.blogspot.com/), Cradle of The Universe (http://cradleoftheuniverse.wordpress.com/)

Education/Credentials
Certificates in recognizing violence in the home and child abuse, in preventing violence in school. Raised with an emphasis on loving all people and to be politically active. Studied Zen at Hwa Gye Sa Temple, Han Maum Zen & Culture Center, and The Buddhist English Library of Seoul, in South Korea. Taught seventeen years in the US and South Korea. Teacher Training in the U.S. at Berlitz and the Center for English Studies, NYC, and at Inlingua, Princeton. Studied Drawing, Photography, and Painting at the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and basic Psychology at Nassau Community College, Long Island. Fifteen years of experience teaching English as a Second language--many of those years abroad--has helped as well, as people from other cultures help us see ourselves and other human beings in a different light.

Awards and Honors
My reward is knowing I have helped people.

Past/Present Clients
I have taught and counseled people of all ages, experience-levels, professions and religions, and consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity and thankful to those who have shared with me. Every such interaction is a learning experience, and an opportunity for growth and improvement.

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