- “This is such a hard thing to figure out, but I think it’s when I’m thinking about them constantly. When I realize I’m at work and hoping I have a message from them, or I’m constantly looking for a reason to talk to them, or waiting until I get to see them again. Even if it’s early in the relationship, I know it’s going somewhere good.” —Michael, 24
- “I was having a conversation with a friend recently and I realized I probably haven’t been in love. I’ve just thought I’ve been in love. I don’t think it’s something I can really answer until I’ve been married for 20 years.” —Devin, 28
- “I used to think I knew pretty early on, but I think all the ‘getting butterflies’ kind of stuff isn’t really love. It’s the idea of maybe falling in love or starting to fall in love with a person. To me, it’s when we hit our stride in the long-term and everything seems natural.” —Adam, 27
- “There’s a transition from that obsessive honeymoon phase love into that deep ‘I won’t ever leave this person’ kind of love. And that to me is what’s real. I maybe have said, ‘I love you’ and not really meant it, at least looking back. And obviously, I wound up leaving some of those people I thought I wouldn't. But I think love is not questioning the relationship. That’s not all it is, obviously, but that’s when I know.” —Conner, 28
- “If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve been in love maybe three times. And I’m counting that as I thought they were ‘The One’ at the time. So that’s what I think: When I’m very realistically thinking of a future with them and planning a future around them.” —Luke, 25
- “For real, I thought I had an answer for this, and then I started to answer and my brain short-circuited.” —Brett, 26
- “Like, when they can fart on the couch in sweatpants but you’re still into them.” —Gerry, 28
- “I’m too scared I don’t know at all. What if you can never know?” —James, 27
- “This isn’t something that’s been the same thing for me every time. But with each of my long-term relationships, I had a moment that I knew. Almost a moment of clarity? Like it all built towards that.” —Kurt, 28
- “I can’t say that I have anything specific I can point to. It’s something that happens in the moment, and I usually say it when I feel it. So… maybe I can tell I’m falling for someone as we get more serious. But, it’s tough to say because it varies with the people I’ve dated and I’m sure my idea of love is also different than other people’s.” —Vince, 29
- “I think it’s a conscious effort and not something that just happens. Like, there are feelings and everything that come along with it, but I actively decide that I love someone.” —Ryan, 27
- “This is kind of backwards, but when she meets my family. So, really, when I decide I’m ready to introduce her to my family is when I realize, ‘Oh, I really love this girl.’” —Shaun, 29
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.