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Dear Dish-It: Am I In Love?

Dear Dish-It,

I think I'm in love, but I keep hearing the same thing: "You're too young." But I can't stop thinking about my crush. He's my idea of perfect: understanding, sweet, smart, wonderful, and just the best guy a girl could dream of. He's not cute, but I don't care. I think about him while I'm in line at school and I smile. He's just the best. When I see him I feel a thousand times better, like nothing is wrong and I'm safe. Am I in love?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

It’s a very common question: "How can I tell I'm in love?" But it's not an easy question to answer. What feels like love to one person may be nothing more than attraction to another. Some people fall in and out of love quickly and often while others are never really in love as much as they are in lust. This can get confusing when you are a teen because romantic love is a relatively new concept for you and you don't know what to expect. You are overwhelmed with all sorts of new feelings and social pressures. They are confusing. What is love? What makes you want a romantic relationship with one person and not another? How does your heart choose a partner? Why does love end?

These questions can't be easily answered.

One of the most confusing quasi-love feelings is lust. Lust is a very powerful, very intense feeling of physical attraction toward another person. Lust is mainly sexual in nature - the attraction is superficial based on instant chemistry rather than genuine caring. Usually we lust after people we do not know well, people we still feel comfortable fantasizing about. It is very common for people to confuse lust for love. But why? What is it about lust and love that make them so easy to mix up? If lust is all about sex, how can a relationship without sex be about lust? Teens struggle with this because they see lust in the Biblical sense, but lust isn't that sinister. Lust is about physical attraction and acting ONLY on physical attraction. Love is about much more than that. Yet many teens (and to be fair, many adults) confuse an intense attraction for some sort if divine love. For teens, since feelings of attraction are still new and since pop-culture sells sex and love as one package, it is very easy to get the two mixed up.

Lust is clearly not love. Love is based on more than just physical attraction. Sure, attraction is a factor, but love goes deeper than that. Love is based on caring, friendship, commitment and trust. When you are in love it is as if you have your best most trusted friend at your side AND you feel physically attracted to them. It is the best of both worlds! Love is a shared feeling between two people who have a vested interest in one anothers happiness. Love is not about jealousy. It is not about conflict. It is not about testing. Love is a positive feeling. If it is tainted by mistrust, jealousy, insecurity or spitefulness it is not really love but merely a pale copy. Love is the total surrender of your heart to another person with the security of knowing they will treat it better than you will. Love should feel good. It should not feel bad. Love should make you want to be a better person, it should not lead you to do something self destructive. Love is not demanding of your spirit but lifts it and makes it glow. Love is a good thing. Anything less is lust, deep friendship or attraction. So the sappiness aside, the question remains, how can you tell you are in love?

There is no easy way to find the truth behind your feelings or the feelings of another person but there are some tell-tale signs that love is blooming (or growing deeper). If you agree with 7 of the following 9 statements you are probably in love.

You know, because you have been told by your significant other, that your deep feelings are returned in kind:

  • The object of your affections makes you feel special and good about yourself.
  • If/when you feel jealous it is always fleeting; you trust your partner not to betray you or hurt your relationship.
  • Nothing makes you feel as serene as when you and your partner are together.
  • When you fight with your partner you usually make up within a few hours and you always agree that nothing is more important than you both being able to express your true feelings (even if they sometimes cause conflict).
  • Your partner never asks you to choose between him/her and your loyalties to your family and friends - if you do choose him/her over them you always have a good reason and it is always YOUR decision, and your decision alone.
  • Neither you or your partner feel the need to test the other's loyalties or feelings.
  • You are more yourself when with your partner than you are with anybody else.
  • If sex is part of your relationship it is by mutual desire and agreement without the slightest hint of commitment testing or persuasion.

So, ya gotta burning question? Need some love directions? Thinking 'bout stuff like depression, sex,how ya feel 'bout YOURSELF (that's called "self-esteem"), boyfriends, girlfriends, losin' old friends, bullying or peer pressure, but too scared to ask the parents? Don't be scared to Dish-It here. But remember, if ya hang out in Chat with other Kidzworld members who know ya by your 'username', ya might wanna use a secret nickname when ya write in. That way no one'll ever know it's you. And, just in case ya don't know, Dish-It gets a lotta letters everyday, and she can't answer 'em all. So keep checking the column cuz she's probably answering something very similar to your question while you're out doing something else. K? And Thanks! Ya keep her outta trouble. Oh! And if ya've got words of wisdom you wanna share,We'll dish 'em up, too.

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Have You Ever Been in Love?

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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

Wonderfulcalico
My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). She's also said that I don't take care of my body because I ate two sweets in one day which lead her to banning me from Doritos and now I have to ask to get chips and any other snack. She's told me I don't take care of my teeth because I have yellow spots from using whitening toothpaste with braces on. She's told me I don't take care of my hair so I can't wash it or do any hair style or then a bun. She had lead me to starving myself (Unless she makes me eat) and cutting myself. I've just stopped caring, because what ever I do is always wrong. I never get a choice in my activities, she controls my life in fact she me just in a different body. But what is even worse is that she's turning my dad into her. Now I have a scheduled time to eat breakfast and lunch, and to go onto my electronics. I feel like I'm in a prison with my parents constantly watching over me, in fact yesterday when I was pouring my milk my mom got out a measuring cup and poured my milk into the measuring cup and said "Why isn't this a full cup" and I replied saying "Because I don't measure my milk." Then she got angry at me. There's so much I could say about her, but I'll stop. Anyways my father is always sarcastic and he doesn't realize how much it hurts me. Today I was cleaning out my bag for next school year and my dad came in and said, "Wow, you aren't even dress yet and I had to come up here to tell you how sad." Just little things like that hurt me. My little sister got mad at me last week for sitting in a certain area and she said " Why are you sitting there," and I didn't reply because I didn't want to speak to her and she then said, "Probably because you are too stupid to answer." I wanted to break down crying then and there, but I kept it in. I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
reply 2 days
Error101
Error101 posted in Family Issues:
Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
reply 4 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 6 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 6 days
Tennis123
why are you allowing that to control your happiness? why can't you have true happiness instead of chasing some dream for momentary satisfaction? You're 12. This is when your core beliefs, values, and outlooks on life start. Don't mess it up choosing to be sad over something like that.
reply 7 days