General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

How can you tell the difference between love, and true love?

Asked by MilkyWay (13157 points ) June 17th, 2011

My personal interpretations:
Love: When you love someone very much, feel for them immensely. But it doesn’t last for more than a few years.
True love: When you stay together with someone happily for all your life, even through all the ups and downs.

Even if you believe differently from me about what the definition of these two things are… how do you think you can tell if it is true love?
What exactly is true love in your opinion?

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19 Answers

the100thmonkey's avatar

The distinction is meaningless.

The only difference is how long you stick at it, and how you talk about it later – the assymetry in relationships bites any other distinction in the ass.

dannyc's avatar

If the love you feel is causing a question, it is probably not true love. The latter is overrated, though. Like can be good too, and one can love certain things about someone..so it is not so black and white. True love can be mistaken for obsession in this shallow world.

blueiiznh's avatar

Only time will tell.
We all change over time. It is how we adapt to those changes that allow us to stay in it.

wundayatta's avatar

It has nothing to do with length of time. It has to do with the depth of the connection. You can love many people in your life (and I have), and with each one, your connection can be very intense, and it may seem completely awesome and untoppable to you.

Then another love comes along, and it is ten times stronger than anything you ever felt, and you can’t believe you thought those past relationships were love (although they were). It is just stronger. You connect in more ways. Your understandings are deeper. You say the same thing at the same time all the time. You feel like you feel what they are going through from a great distance, and it turns out later that you were pretty damn close.

Every interaction is a joy. Even when you disagree. There is always something there. When you make love, you match perfectly in terms of desire and skill. It is like nothing you ever imagined.

I think all those relationships are love. I wouldn’t say the last one was truer than any other. Just more so. And maybe, if it did last forever, I would say it was true love. Nothing ever broke it apart. And it kept it’s quality forever.

True love, though, seems so unlikely to me.

marinelife's avatar

I believe that any love can be true love. True love is a choice and a decision as much as a felling.

clairemck's avatar

True love grows over time. Its very much a cliche but true, before you can really truly love another you have to love yourself and become aware of yourself before you become aware of others.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well I don’t separate the two in my head because I don’t know whether the person I love right now and I will not be together forever.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

That’s the romantic way of looking at it, but being the practical person I am I can’t totally agree. You can be content and “love” your spouse enough to weather the ups and down, but I don’t think the feeling is superior to what you felt in a relationship that didn’t last. In fact, the early sparks of love often feel “truer” and more like what we expect love to feel like than the contentment we have after years of a so-called successful marriage. That’s not to say you’d want to give up that contentment – it’s not like you want to give up your best friend – but you don’t have to kid yourself either.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I don’t really believe in “true love” – I think a very few people might end up together, but it’s not because the love they had was somehow more pure than others, but because they were more compatible and worked really hard to make it work and were lucky enough to change in the same direction as their partner. But “true love” only exists in movies.

Kardamom's avatar

Love is love. The intensity and the length of time are the mitigating factors. Some people fall in love quickly and intensely, but then they fall out of love just as quickly. Other people fall in love slowly, with a slow burn that grows into intense passion, then cools into a more warm and comforting type of love that lasts a long time. Most people that have long lasting and satisfying love lives with their partner have different levels of intensity for their lover (ups and downs if you will) over the course of their lives, what makes those people’s relationships better, is the fact that they have chosen to be with that person, and have chosen to be kind and considerate and generous and have learned to deal with the negatives (illness, getting into a rut, financial problems, their own jealousy) without seeing those things as inevitable causes to end to their relationship, but as a natural part of their relationship. They have perspective along with their passion.

The worst thing in the world is to have a deep, intense love for someone who doesn’t love you back (at all) or who doesn’t feel the same intensity of love that you do.

jonsblond's avatar

@sarahtalkpretty In fact, the early sparks of love often feel “truer” and more like what we expect love to feel like than the contentment we have after years of a so-called successful marriage.

I feel the exact opposite. My husband and I have been a couple for 20 years now. The love I have for him now seems truer than it was when we first fell in love. Knowing we can handle all of life’s ups and downs and still love each other as much as we do feels much better than those first initial sparks. But, that’s just my experience. =)

Love and true love are one and the same imo

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

@jonsblond yes, I guess opinions vary. The matter is about as subjective as you get. You sound very fortunate. My impression is a bit different.

SpatzieLover's avatar

For me, all love is true. I am as honest as I can be, and don’t give love unless I mean it.

My interpretation of “true love” is unconditional love. I have loved many family members unconditionally. To me, that means that you are willing to give of you love and your self, with or without receiving anything but their company in return. EX:Taking care of a loved one after a stroke, holding someone’s hand & wiping their brow with a washcloth as they pass…etc.

WasCy's avatar

I think one way to tell if what you feel is love is… how would you feel if the person left you for another?

Could you be happy for the person, if their choice was a free one?

Could you let the person go without trying to sabotage the new relationship, extort the person back, or punish in other ways big and small, overt and covert?

Could you still love the person, knowing that the feeling was not reciprocated, or at least not with the same depth or passion or on the same schedule / timetable?

Could you put the other person’s happiness above your own in this case? In all cases?

Can you give the other person whatever time is needed to reach certain realizations and conclusions without demanding answers, conformance, resolution and performance on your timetable?

I think if you can answer “yes” to those questions, then what you feel is a real and abiding love. Good luck on never having to actually answer those questions in the real world. I’m learning those questions and answers because I have been dealing with them in several ways (except that she hasn’t left for “a person”, and she may be ambivalent about leaving in any case), so in my case I can say “I know what love is.”

Pandora's avatar

Love is love. I think its different for everyone the same way loving your spouse and your child is different. Its hard to say one means more than the other. There is no way of measuring it. All I can say is if it only last a few hours than its lust or just ego that may fool you into thinking it was love.
To me all love is true.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

One of the problems with “true love” is that it’s actually codependent enmeshment. The idea that you need someone else to be whole, that they’re your world, that you’d die without them, that they complete is really unhealthy, and unsustainable.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t think there are huge differences but I believe circumstances are what make or break love.

broughtlow's avatar

When I am no longer ruled by my emotions, I can begin to love.

MilkyWay's avatar

Thank you for answering guys. You’re answers made me think about my own opinions and were really insightful :)

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