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Dish-It: How Do You Know You’re In Love?

Dear Dish-It,

How do you know if and when you’re in love?

Grace

Dear Grace,

Love is one of those things that no one really understand, not even adults. The good news is you don't really need to understand love. In fact, the only thing you really need to know about it is this: Love never really does make sense, so there’s no point trying to come up with any final or logical answers about it. It’s one of those sit back and enjoy the ride kinda things.

At the same time, though, you're going to feel things and experience things that you must act upon or choose not to act upon. Your parents and other adults have all probably told you that you should wait until you're in love before you consider serious relationships, before you consider marriage and before you consider sex.

So How Do You Know You're In Love?

It's a hard question to answer. I suppose that I could tell you that you just know. That's probably what other adults will tell you: you'll just ... know. But you know what? Sometimes that's not true. And then what happens if you're feeling the same feelings for more than one person? How can you tell which one is love?

These aren't easy questions and there's not any easy answers either. Let's try to answer them though, best as they can be answered.

Lust Vs. Love

Ah, the rush of attraction. When you see him at the locker and he winks at you, you get goosebumps, you feel the flip flop in your stomach. It's easy to walk around during the day in a daze, smiling like a silly fool, forgetting to bring your homework home and jumping every time your phone rings.

This, however, is not love. This is lust, attraction, infatuation, puppy-love. Eventually, the big rush of it fades, and that's when you can ask yourself, "Do I still feel something special for this person?"

Trust

Can you trust this guy with your secrets? Are you willing to tell him about your childhood, even the embarrassing, goofy stuff and know he won't tell everyone else? If he's going to a party with a group of people and you're not with him, do you know in your heart he won't dance with or make out with another girl?

Trust is important in a relationship, even a teen relationship. If you don't feel you can trust the one you are infatuated with, it probably isn't quite to that "being in love" stage yet.

Being Yourself

If you're having to pretend to be something or someone you are not, putting on a front or an image that is false, it won't matter how much you might feel for the other person, you'll never know if they love you for you. Do you think they are being genuine with you? If you don't feel like you can be yourself, then you're probably not truly in love.

Communication

Is your boyfriend someone you feel comfortable talking to about things that interest you both? If you feel like you're the one doing all the talking, or you feel like they are doing nothing but talking about themselves, then the communication is lacking in your relationship. You can't get down to true love without quality a mutual communication.

Secure Vs. Jealous

Does your boyfriend have to be constantly by your side or does he accuse you of cheating on him frequently? Does he call you constantly and always ask you where you've been and what you've been doing, and who you've been doing it with? Do the two of you have things you do together as well as things you're comfortable doing by yourself too?

Real love is secure in the relationship and it comes back to the trust issues. You shouldn't have to spend every waking moment together when it's real love.

How Do You Feel?

Do you feel like you're in love? I'm not talking about being crazy, head over heels in love, but more of a peaceful, content and happy feeling of comfort and understanding and shared friendship and communication. When it comes down to it, you will feel when you're in love long before you probably know you’re in love.

Keep in mind that very few teen relationships last forever and ever amen. While some people do grow up and marry their childhood sweethearts, it's very likely that somewhere along the line, you're going to break up, fall in love, and break up and fall in love again. That doesn't mean you can enjoy yourself and the time you spend together, and treasure the love and feelings you have in the moment.

If you trust your heart and temper it with your head, being a teenager can be fun and falling in love and sharing that won't be a painful or awkward experience.

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Love poll

Have You Ever Been in Love?

  • Yes.
  • No, not yet.
  • I thought so, but it didn't work out.
  • Yes - I totally love Zac Efron (and Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake... you get the picture).

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

KayKayZ
KayKayZ posted in Friends:
Hmm, okay, well I'll try to give you the best advice that I can, Error. So you say you don't like your friend for a number of reasons: Liar, bad influence, uses swear words, too blunt, etc. I feel like some of these could be over-looked, such as the swearing and the 'bad influence' part. Really, all you have to do is just not copy her actions, and they won't be influential at all. If you disagree, it shouldn't be hard to just refuse to follow in her steps. However, lying isn't the best quality I would look for in a friend.  She doesn't seem like an enjoyable person to be around in general, which is why you are making this post, obviously. But I'm gonna ask you something here. Don't you think that, in a way, you're lying too? You're pretending to be her friend solely for purposes of monetary value because, I assume, your family cannot pay for or get you to gymnastic class themselves. If this is true, that's kind of bad, isn't it? It sounds like, to me, that your friendship isn't exactly a healthy relationship at all. But I'm gonna sympathize with you, since I know gymnastics must be important to you, and you wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have a good reason. So, what should you do about it? Well, personally I think there are a few things you could do. You could stop being her friend, therefore no longer having to deal with her; but in the process lose access to your gymnastics class and have to look for it in another way. On the flip side, you could continue to put up with her, which would probably not be in your best interests, but you'd still get to attend your class. Or, you could try talking to her about it. Ask her what she really thinks of your friendship, if she actually values you as her friend. Maybe you two can talk about problems that you're having with each other and work on fixing them. This option could have negative effects, since she might want to stop being your friend or things could become very awkward after that. But it's probably your best bet to be honest with her, as you'd hope she would be with you. How about if you tried being really nice to her? Kindness is contagious, and perhaps if you treat her well enough, she'll start doing the same to you. I feel like maybe if you complimented her, told her things that you really like about her, maybe even got her gifts or made her food once in a while, that she would come to appreciate you and all that you do for her. And in turn, she might start to respect you more herself, and become a good friend. That's about all I can say. If you're close enough with her mom, maybe you could even try asking her about her daughter and see if she can give you any advice. Hopefully that helped in some way, but if it didn't, maybe it at least made you think? I hope your problem gets resolved, Error, and you can be content with the outcome of it. :-)
reply about 5 hours
Error101
Error101 posted in Friends:
Okay so I have this friend and I don't like the type of person she is and I wouldn't be friends with her but her mom takes me to gymnastics every week.  I  had her over to spend the night and she lied about everything to me.  She kept telling me that she used to think I was weird and she didn't like me and it kind of hurt my feelings...  I would never tell someone that even if it was true.  She cusses and is a bad influence and she lies a ton.  There are a ton of bad qualities about her, and very few good ones.  I can't be mean to her because she is how I get to gymnastics but I don't really want to be her friend.  What should I do?  :(
reply about 8 hours
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 3 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 5 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 7 days