Know When in Love?

Q: I'm a 23-year-old girl who's had a few relationships that lasted weeks or months. Each time, I've wondered: how is a girl supposed to know when she's in love?

Dr. Susan: At any age, love takes time to develop. Those feeling that you have instantly when you meet someone? That's not real love. Not yet! Most often, that intense dizzy feeling is lust -- something our hormones make us feel. It's more about chemistry and the body than real love that's destined to last over time.

You'll know you're in love when you're with someone who returns your feelings, when you and he are good to one another and you really think you might be able to commit yourself to this person for the whole rest of your life. You can't be in love with someone you barely know, though those wild and crazy feelings we have can fool a lot of people into making hasty decisions and sometimes messing up our lives. It helps to know what your would-be partner is like in hard times and easy times, doing everyday chores together as well as going out on dates. That doesn't mean you need to live together, though, since it's been found that those who live together and then marry get divorced at an even higher rate than those who haven't lived together first (I know, that's very weird, but true). Don't be overly concerned about calling it Love with a capital "L," but just date people and get to know them and take your time figuring out what's right for you.

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