Are you in love? It may sound like a simple thing to ask, but it has a lot more depth than you might think. Some people are the head over heels type that immediately know he’s the one and others need time to assess and evaluate. So, if you aren’t in the group that knows love right away, you could struggle with what exact emotions you’re processing for this person. ‘Could it even be the L-word?’ is something you ask yourself daily.
It is definitely not worth stressing over, some love moves fast light lightning and is gone just as fast. Slow-burning love is great when you’re getting to know someone, maybe there’s one thing that will turn in into a wildfire of love. Add the layer of being in a gay relationship and you’ve got less advice to read through on the internet. So, as a gay dude for the gay dudes, I’ve gathered up some signs that might signal if you’re in love or maybe just in lust.
Signs you’ve been struck by Cupid:
These aren’t 100% indicative, but they are the key signals that you’re heading for love. It might not develop further, but right now, if you’re experiencing any of these, you might be in love, my friend. So, let’s get right into them.
1. His needs feel like your own and you prioritize them just as you would for your personal things.
When his desires and wants are constantly in your mind, that’s a pretty sure sign you care about him deeply. You don’t have to want the same things even, it’s just that you’re prioritizing the things he cares about. When you’re in love your empathy is growing day by day. You put yourself in his shoes often and try to help in any way you can.
2. You’re comfortable just being you around him.
You let him see your flaws and your goofy side. You’re creating a space where he can absorb all of you, even the weird sides. In that environment, you two will be able to grow closer and closer together. This level of honesty is really, truly intimate and you won’t feel the need to hide anything. It’s not like I’m saying let yourself go and eat all the cake, you should want to still be presentable and, most importantly, kind to your partner. It’s just that our many flaws and weaknesses are often our most endearing traits, the ones that might cause him to fall for you. When you’re totally comfortable letting all your freak flags fly around him, for good or for bad, you’ve begun a very trusting relationship that is loving and kind.
3. You are thankful he’s walked into your life and you don’t take him for granted.
Maybe he does a small thing for you, like bring you a big coffee in the morning when you’ve got a deadline, and you can’t help but be thankful. It could be even smaller, like making the bed or doing other chores that might normally be ‘yours’. That’s definitely a sign he’s reciprocating the energy you’re looking for from a loving relationship. It does not have to be grand, romantic gestures like an exotic vacation, you’ll feel the love in a clean home or an organized desk. You don’t just assume that he’ll always do these things either, but you do them out of the blue for each other. This is definitely a sign you’re falling in love.
4. You’re as proud of his accomplishments as his mother.
He could have scored a goal at his latest game or maybe he’s reached number 1 on a video game, either way, you’re beaming alongside him. Anything your partner successfully works at makes you swell with pride. You’re like his personal cheerleader, his ride-or-die, and that’s an obvious sign of love. You’re going to brag to your friends before he even gets the chance. It could even be his hobby or a side hustle that’s going well, but you’re there regardless of whether you actually care about the activity yourself. Love will have you completely in tune with his joy and you’ll want to celebrate every success.
5. You’re willing to work through conflict to understand them.
Love is knowing he’s on your team no matter what, and that goes for fights, too. This is something I’ve always struggled with, and as gay people, we aren’t alone in that. Confrontation is fucking hard, but if you’re willing to put yourself through something that’s very difficult for you then you might be in love. Resolving conflicts without tears is only happening in my household after years of marriage, so don’t expect it to be an easy learning curve. At the end of the day, even when we fight, we know we still will be together afterward, so we try our best to work through whatever we’re going through. It’s a sure sign you have a deep trust in the relationship you’re building, and that’s definitely love-related.
Ok, but what about signs you’re not in love?
Well, let me write them - sheesh, this is my article! There could be several signs that you’re not in love with them, from hiding your quirks to deeper-rooted red flags. I’ll go into more detail below:
1. You’re hiding the authentic side of you.
No one should feel like they need to hide in a relationship. You shouldn’t have to compromise your values just to be with some dude. If you’re constantly finding yourself in a position where you’re not being true to who you are just because it might upset him, that’s a sure sign to leave, sis. Fear is a form of control and it could be that you’re in an abusive relationship or it could simply be insecurity. Either way, this doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship and it’s safe to say you probably aren’t in love.
2. You’re codependent.
It’s easy to mix up codependency with love because you feel like you really need them. Autonomy is good and healthy in a proper relationship. If you’re not able to act on your own because of some romanticization of his support for your decisions, then chances are you are codependent and maybe not in love. Movies have, for years, tried to instill the idea of a partner who can’t go on without you, which sounds really toxic if you ask me. If you’ve completely eliminated independence in order to be in this relationship, then you might be in a darker scenario than one of love and romance.
3. You feel like you have to tell them everything.
Right beside being codependent is this lack of boundaries. From the get-go, you’ve just told him anything and everything that’s happened or is on your mind. Oversharing with a partner is insensitive, it’s okay to be comfortable discussing difficult topics, but dumping on them without regard for their emotional state is unfair. Sure, we want to share things with our partners, but we have to have the respect that they also have lives and stresses. Whether you’ve just met, or you’ve been together for ages, this is a hiccup that a lot of couples make. Emotionally venting when you’ve been fired is one thing, but to go into every detail about your day is just plain inconsiderate.
4. Your chemistry together starts and ends at sex.
Great sex is pretty fantastic, not gonna lie, but it’s not everything in a relationship. It certainly shouldn’t be the deciding factor for whether you stay or go, but it also shouldn’t be the only reason you’re together. Sure, sexual activity will fluctuate throughout your relationship, but that shouldn’t be the barometer for your relationship. You should really be aware that even if the sex is great, there are at least a dozen apps out there to connect you with someone else to rearrange your guts. If all you want out of the relationship is sex, then you aren’t really valuing your man at very much, are you? There are dildos and vibrators for a reason.
5. Every day is an emotional rollercoaster.
Ups and downs in a relationship are normal, it’s when they become the constant norm that things get hairy. Most people have different love languages and attachment styles in a relationship, and that’s cool, but it’s when your two styles don’t or can’t mesh that it becomes unresolvable. Maybe he’s uncomfortable letting you in so you can help or maybe he doesn’t have the resources he needs for his mental health, either way, you are not obligated to fix someone else’s issues. Let that sink in. When you’re in love, there’ll be ups and downs, sure, but if it’s the constant norm then he might have some other shit he needs to figure out and you should determine if that needs to involve you.
Oftentimes we pursue relationships that are similar to what we grew up with. If your family was full of loud, boisterous love, you’d look for the same. Some people confuse the excitement they feel with this familiar kind of love, but not every familiar scenario is healthy. A lot of us will look for love to appease the kid within us, but we need to look for love that supports who we’ve become, in our entirety.
It can be scary trying to figure out if you’re in love or not, but I hope reading some of these tips helped key you into a more thoughtful analysis of your relationship. At the end of the day, we have to love ourselves first, and that can sometimes mean making the difficult decision to end a loveless relationship.