Dear Suzie, Ok, here’s a question every teenager wants to know the answer to, how do you know when you’re in love and is it possible to fall out of love with someone?
Good questions! Yes, it’s absolutely possible to fall out of love with someone. In fact, the ‘in love’ stage of a relationship, when you are head over heals and drunk in love, is pretty short – studies suggest that particular phase may only last 6 months at the longest. If that infatuation is all there is, you may wake up one day, or gradually emerge from your delirium, and look at your former loved one and wonder what on earth you saw in them. And to be honest, that’s often the path of teenage infatuations.
What may replace being ‘in love’ is loving – a quieter, less frantic feeling where you actually know, like and feel affection and care for the other person rather than simply obsession and passion.
As for how you know you are in love…well, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck…it’s a duck. Seriously, you may not be able to tell love from lust or short-term passion at first. And since both feel rather nice, it may not matter at the time.
I would say it’s love when it is mutual, when you trust, respect and care deeply about the well-being of the person to whom you are attached. But I’m afraid there is no litmus test to prove it one way or t’other, and it is possible to confuse need, sex, guilt and fear for love. When it comes down to it, trust your instincts and be honest with yourself. Then you’ll know.