So you’ve met someone new, and you’ve fallen head over hook, line and sinker for them. You can’t finish “hello” before ripping their clothes off. Your cheeks are so pink they’re visible from space.
It must be love! Or is it? If you recognise more than a few of these signs, chances are it’s the real thing – and you may just be in it for the long haul.
1. You chuck out your old relationship souvenirs
For years, you hoarded ticket stubs from concerts and days out with your ex. Then you fall in love, and suddenly all these souvenirs are just tat that’s cluttering up your space. So, if nothing else, falling in love makes you more tidy.
2. Your ex announces their engagement, and you don’t care
What’s more, you fail to understand what you ever saw in them. And as for sleeping with them… what were you thinking?
3. You’re no longer shy around your former crush
You used to be a quivering wreck when your office’s payroll assistant entered the room. These days, you barely notice them.
When you’re in love, your partner becomes infinitely more attractive than any other person on the planet. Yes, even Cheryl Cole.
4. You aren’t put off by physical imperfections
Lust is far more fragile than love. Here’s an example. If your lust-object arrives for a date with a big green crusty lump sticking out of their nose, your attraction will disappear in an instant.
But if you’re falling in love, you won’t be put off. You’ll feel protective. You’ll rub your nose and hope that they mirror you… and hey presto, problem solved. Ain’t love grand?
5. You show them where you grew up
It may seem an odd choice of weekend adventure, but love means wanting to show them where you’re from. “That’s my old school, that’s where I had my paper round, that’s where I puked up my dad’s home-brew…”
6. You tell them your plans – big and small
Whether it’s babbling about your world-travel dreams or asking them to help make the shopping list, you include your lover in your plans because they’re part of your life.
7. You wonder where “we” should go on holiday
Even if it means compromising your idea of the perfect holiday or putting up with their mum’s brussels sprouts.
8. You’re thrilled by a joint invite to a family wedding
Partly because you’re happy that family and friends treat you two as a unit. And partly because you want your wingman beside you when the boredom sets in at 10pm in the church hall.
9. You show them off
When you’re falling for someone, you want to include them in your social life and show them off to your friends. However…
10. You’re happy doing nothing together
Ultimately it’s not about being a couple on a social stage, but just about being two people together. Just going for a walk together sounds like the perfect afternoon.
11. You join their photography class
You want to know what make your lover tick – and you want them to see that you’re showing an interest.
12. You ring them to moan about work
When they’re the first person you want to talk to about what a class-A berk the boss is today, it’s because you think they’re a keeper. (Your lover, not the boss.)
13. You take their kids out for lunch
If your other half has children from a previous partner, your relationship with the kids is a barometer of your future as a couple. And if you’re in love, you’ll try your hardest to get along with them.
Try not to let it stress you out. If you and the kids can be relaxed in each other’s company, you’re onto a long-term winner.
14. You aren’t afraid to argue
Couples don’t agree all the time. If you’re in lust, you don’t care about standing up for yourself – it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
But when you’re in love, you want to put your point across. Speaking up shows that you’re secure enough to question what your lover says or does.
15. You feel terrible when you argue
You wouldn’t be half as upset about a row with anyone else. Here’s why…
16. You care more about their happiness than your own
You feel bad when your other half isn’t happy, so arguments are a double whammy of emotional trauma.
On the bright side, it shows that you’re really in love. You’re no longer looking after number one all the time. Instead, you want your partner to be OK.
17. You don’t mind saving if you're usually a spend-thrift
Our money habits are deeply entrenched, but love motivates you to make an exception.
For example, if you’ve spent your adult life being unwilling to save up for anything dearer than a haircut, love could suddenly make you want to save a deposit on a flat.
18. You don’t mind splashing out if you're usually frugal
If you’re suddenly willing to splash out on a luxury holiday together, it shows how important they are to you.
But it’s not about changing the real you. If you’re usually more comfortable being a saver, love won’t change that. It just means you’re less rigid about it. Which brings us to…
19. You risk being yourself
Of all the love-signs on this list, this is the big cheese.
When you’re infatuated or in lust with someone, you edit yourself to fit what you think they want. You might dress to suit them, or hide the fact that you don’t have much in common with their friends.
But when you’re in love with someone, you want your other half to know and like the person you really are.
It’s a risk, of course. Certain incompatibilities may come to the fore. But you know that you can’t be happy for long if you’re faking it.
This isn’t an excuse to be stubborn or tactless. “Being yourself” does not mean sticking rigidly to habits, or telling your lover that their CD collection is crap. A bit of flexibility works wonders.