If abiding, true love is what you’re after, you probably want to know if there are signs early on that will tell you whether or not she or he is the one . . . the real deal for you.
Sure, after a month or two most of us should be able to tell if we’ve hit the jackpot . . . if we’re paying attention and following our gut.
But what things should you feel, and look for in her or him that will give you some assurance that there’s the potential for her or his love to be as deep as yours?
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“The Look” is the Look of Love, or LOL
Many things can indicate that they feel strongly for you, but perhaps the one ultimate way to know is when she or he regularly gives you what I call the “LOL” (look of love) or “the look”.
I started using the phrase and acronym to refer to the lovingest cat I’ve ever had, and I’ve had several great cats throughout my life.
This particular cat smiled all the time. He purred loudly when almost anyone approached.
In fact, his purr became legendary among my friends and family. So much so, that some people had me put him on the phone when I called them, so they could hear his purr and get happy.
I realized that my cat’s LOL was kind of similar to the one 2 men in my life gave me.
Getting the LOL is kind of like relationship insurance. That’s how I knew I’d found the real thing both times.
[A caveat: The Urban Dictionary’s definition of “the look of love” has a purely sexual connotation. I don’t mean that kind of LOL.]
I’ve had two relationships after age 55 . . . each loaded with LOLs.
Before I tell you about them, let’s set the stage with appropriate background music you can listen to, as you read this.
[You can also access the video here.]
My first true-love relationship ended abruptly after 3 years when Sam passed away. Because of him, I knew enough to look for the LOL when I dated again, and ultimately found Cosmo.
I don’t remember exactly when I first got the LOL from Sam and then Cosmo, but I do know that it was within the first month or two.
The very first time it happened with Sam, I did a double take.
I’d never had a man look at me that way before.
Here’s the thing. The LOL doesn’t happen right away and it’s very subtle. In fact, if you think you’re getting the LOL from him on the first date, and it smacks you in the face and makes you swoon, it may not be the real thing.
That hormone-driven “love at first sight” thing doesn’t really apply. The LOL only comes once you’ve gotten to know each other, at least somewhat, and have gotten a good sense of who you both are.
The look, when it’s real, doesn’t happen until, say, a couple of months into the relationship.
What does an authentic LOL look and feel like?
It’s a penetrating gaze. A mix of love, satisfaction and appreciation . . . and with these characteristics:
- It’s not lascivious, like the leer or ogle you get from a player or classic charmer (aka a narcissist).
- It’s as if she or he’s looking deep into your soul and wants to linger there.
- The look is unwavering, and always includes a smile and/or expression of contentment. She/He’s feeling really lucky to have found you.
- Sometimes it creeps up on you. Your attention will be elsewhere, then you look towards her/him and realize she/he’s been looking at you for some time, silently adoring and admiring you.
- The look instantly elates, and may make you shiver. You feel it at your core, but it’s also calming and gentle.
- The feeling is unmistakably love. You can’t help but reciprocate. You’re as grateful as she/he is that you found each other.
There’s more to the LOL, but I think you get the idea.
Great! Now you know what to look for after you’ve been dating for a while. But what if you want to know early in the game if she or he is the one, and you’re in store for lots of LOLs.
How to get a feel for whether she or he is the one early in the dating game.
You’ll need to be perceptive to pick up on this, but then, you should be especially perceptive in the early dates with anyone, right?
Once again, it’s all about paying attention, watching for red flags and trusting your gut.
And, of course, you have to sense that she/he digs you and is attracted to you.
Beyond that, here are some signs that may show you she or he is the one, and that you’re on track to get the LOL sometime soon:
- She/He’s an engaged listener who maintains eye-contact when you talk, doesn’t interrupt, and isn’t eager for you to finish so she/he can hold the floor again.
- She/He’s considerate, has a generosity of spirit, an even temperament, and doesn’t seem to let things get to her/him.
- She/He speaks lovingly of friends and/or family, so seems capable of love and therefore capable of giving the LOL.
- She/He treats the people around her/him with kindness, whether or not she/he knows them.
- She/He gives you indications that she/he’s eager to be an equal partner, who will be equally responsible for the success of your relationship.
- She/He doesn’t run down others (like exes) to make her/himself feel better.
- She/He doesn’t act immature or display symptoms of the “Peter Pan” syndrome.
- She/He shows NO signs of narcissism.
If they’re not capable of emotional intimacy, you may never get the LOL
Keep your eyes and ears open to signals about emotional intimacy.
Be attentive to these signals so you can move on from someone who doesn’t fit the bill, leaving yourself open to meet someone who can meet this important need.
It may take some time for it to be evident. It may not be evident until you’ve been physically intimate.
But I hope you haven’t rushed into that. I hope you’ve waited several months before having sex.
Emotional intimacy only happens when you can be vulnerable with each other.
According to Psychology Today, here are 4 ways to determine whether you or your partner can be vulnerable in love:
1. Can you admit your faults?
If you can say you’ve made a mistake, you show your partner that you’re self-aware and don’t view yourself as superior. And owning your own shortcomings encourages your partner to be vulnerable and authentic.
2. Can you hear your partner’s needs, emotions, or difficulties without immediately going into problem-solving mode?
Most of us want to feel that we’re being heard when we share a problem or issue. We want our pain or hurt to be acknowledged with empathy. We DON’T want to be told that it isn’t a big deal, or to snap out of it. Soothing your partner’s distress by being a good listener will help them get over the bad feelings sooner.
3. Can you let go?
It’s not good for one of you to always be the controlling partner. Be willing to share the decision-making on activities. Allow your partner to take the lead equally.
4. Can you be unembarrassed about being strong?
Embrace your strengths. Don’t bolster your partner’s confidence by dumbing yourself down. Conversely, don’t expect your partner to make you feel good about yourself. Connect with your strength.
You have to be capable of giving the LOL, if you expect to get one.
If you’re not ready for true love, you won’t be able to give anyone an authentic LOL.
You have to be capable of accepting love, and know how to be loved.
Get to work looking inward and doing some introspection. Our mature dating game plan will help you.
And, in an article on TinyBuddha, relationships and personal growth writer Astra Niedra provided 6 tips on finding real, lasting love without looking for it:
1. Stop looking for your soul mate and find the missing parts of you.
2. Live your life as you want to live it.
3. Stop trying to appeal to an imagined, potential partner.
4. If you are attracted to particular qualities in someone else, find or develop those qualities in yourself.
5. Engage with life; accept the gifts that are offered to you.
6. When you meet someone, don’t hurry things; allow the relationship to unfold.
Tips for staying married can help you find true love
Several months into my relationship with Sam, and once we both knew this was it, I saw an article in our local newspaper and put it on the refrigerator so we could refer to it and abide by it.
My paper copy has yellowed and frayed, but I found it online recently.
That article is called 25 Tips for Staying Married.
It occurred to me that many of these tips could apply to dating, too.
If someone displays the following behavior from the list of tips, chances are they’ll give you the LOL:
- Laugh together a lot. If you can laugh at yourselves, you’ll have plenty to laugh about.
- Never criticize, correct or interrupt her/him in public; try not to do it in private either.
- Remember that people are the least lovable when they are most in need of love.
- Never fall for the myth of perfectionism; it’s a lie.
- Tell the truth, only the truth, and always with great kindness.
- Memorize all her/his favorite things and amaze her/him with how very well you know them.
- Pick your fights with care. Play fair. Show some class. Hurtful words can be forgiven, but they’re hard to forget.
- Always listen to her/his heart; if you’re wrong, say you’re sorry; if you’re right, shut up.
- Never raise your voice unless you’re on fire. Whisper when you argue.
- Be an interesting person, lead your own life. But always save your best for each other. In the end, you will know you were better together than you ever could’ve been apart.
If you’ve found “the one” and you end up in a long term relationship, print out the entire list and post it where you’ll both see it all the time.
No matter how great they seem, don’t be in a rush. Take things slow.
If you move forward too fast, you may overlook red flags and ignore your instincts.
In a Psychology Today article, licensed clinical psychologist Seth Meyers, Psy.D. advises taking it slow, to anyone in that out-of-control, early-dating swoon.
“The real goal becomes slowing down in the midst of the sexual-emotional storm of new love to gather our thoughts and proceed with a healthy caution.”
He offers 4 rules to help you move cautiously:
Rule # 1: If you breathe the words “The One” in the first couple of months, odds are that you’re headed for trouble.
Rule # 2: Don’t jump into bed too quickly. For those of you (I’m guessing more than 95%) who aren’t waiting for marriage to consummate the relationship, don’t get horizontal until you’ve had, at least, several dates.
Rule # 3: Your friends and family should not meet the person you’re dating until a solid month of dating – and dating with no red flags.
Rule # 4: Use what mental health professionals call “self-talk” or what everyone else calls “mantras” to keep your eye on the bigger picture when the burgeoning intimacy makes you anxious.