How Do You Know When It’s Love?

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About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.


  1. Recently I had a insomniac night where I kept thinking about my male friend whom I have dated in the past. Afterwards I discussed it with someone and thought I might be in love with him. We talk every day and I go to him first about everything requiring a listening ear. In the past we’ve dated and we’ve slept together twice. Both times he wasn’t very confident in the bedroom. I didn’t continue things because I just wasn’t sure. He is also quite overweight and this really put me off. But the more I talk to him the more I keep thinking, is that stuff really important?

  2. You’re in love when you find yourself committing the fundamental mistake of thinking “This one’s the exception. This one’s not like all the others. We have a real connection, a deep understanding this time.”

    Doom and disaster follow pretty much immediately from that point on.

  3. Hahaha… in way what you say is true, but it’s pretty depressing to look at it that way. To me, love is knowing that you’re making that fundamental mistake you speak of, and deciding to do it anyway. There’s a lot of freedom in knowing that “this one” is just like all the others, that he or she is flawed, that they will break your heart, and that you’re going to love them anyway.

    Otherwise, what’s the point?

  4. wellokaythen says:

    “The problem of course, is that this concept of “true love” tends to want to ignore things like biology and psychology and often doesn’t match up to reality.”

    Fundamentally the most important thing one could say about falling in love and/or “finding the one.”

  5. Love is also when you realize that you want to wake up to that person every day, for the rest of days, and any disagreements that may have caused pause take a far back seat.

    Good article, very well phrased.

  6. I believe the acclaimed poet, Sammy Hagar provided the definitive answer to this question:

    “I can’t tell you but it lasts forever”
    “It’s just something you feel together”
    “Na na na na na… Na na na”

  7. This was a great article, I’m particularly guilty of using 80s music (“True” and “If You Leave” being among my favorites) and the end of Sweet Sixteen as my go-to romantic ideals.
    As I’m maturing I find myself looking for a situation that crosses the range of those emotions, I’ll pass on lust and puppy love though, into what you later describe as love.
    One day I hope to experience that with someone who is emotionally ready to do so.
    Thanks for the smile in the meantime.

  8. Real love, with whomever you share it, is a certain through-and-through warmth that radiates from the heart … a certain, steady quiet joy in being with someone … a sense of home, belonging, and cherishment … and you’re absolutely right, Harris, about someone who’s ‘at your side and by your back.’ There’s no feeling like it.

  9. No one knows what love is.Period. Especially in the western world where individualism-ego- clouds everything we do.Ask any three people what love is and they will likely tell you three different things.(See the responses)Most of what we think is love is nothing more than a ego boost, It gets us high, literally, and we end up chasing the elusive high.
    As you noted in our world true love has come to mean how good does said persom make me–HELLO VALENTINES DAY!?– feel. This is especially true of western women, who have bought in to the bullshit myth of romantic love as real love.These people are empty vessels looking to be filled and when they are not, when the lover fails to give her that feeling–look out!?It is everyone eles’s fault but their own and she doesn’t know why.
    Western culture, where feelings trump common sense and function, has it ass backwards. We search for love,because it makes us feel good, instead of working on ourselves to be ready for love and to be ready tro give love. No, we search for love, find it, then are confused when things don’t workout; then we work on ourselves.It seems to methat if love even exist, it can be found in the effort and sacirifice one makes to make a relationship work. In that sense love is what you give not what you get.

    • Someone has to say it, and it may as well be me.

      “This is especially true of western women, who have bought in to the bullshit myth of romantic love as real love.These people are empty vessels looking to be filled.”

      There are plenty of women like that. There are also plenty of men like that. And there are plenty of people who are not at all like that. It might help to broaden your circles of friends.

      Sweeping generalisations are not useful in discussion.

  10. Love is respect. Adoration and Admiration. It’s when you say “I love you so much, that whatever you have to do for yourself, wherever you have to go, I wish you the very best”
    Love is that feeling when they hold you that the world melts away. Only they can do this for you. Only their touch can heal, calm, warm your soul.
    Love is sexual freedom, it says WOW I’m so good with this, this is delicious! And I am so very present, so here with you!
    Love is saying I am worried and confused or angry, but I’ll never let you leave my soul.
    Love is fun, vibrant, silly, vulnerable and protective. Love stands and fights for the other, love is like that.
    Love is a blending of souls, true love never dies, that energy lives past life. It creates universes.
    Love is passion, it’s lust, it’s crazy.

    Above all it’s always moving, always flowing, always in action.
    Love is faster then the speed of light. That’s probably why alot of us miss it.
    It’s actually all around any person who has a loving heart and good intentions.
    I guess the question would be “ARE YOU LOVE”?

  11. throbbingsofnoontide…Seriously,I’m dying here,your name has twenty characters!Who does thati Swear to God,I got repetitive stress syndrone just puttint your name in. I write poetry and I would give my life to my children without a moments consideration.Is that good enough to make acceptable?

    • Oh my god, that’s too funny, I was thinking the same thing and just decided I didn’t want to put in the effort to comment, then I saw yours and had a good laugh.. cheers


  1. [...] By Harris O’Malley @ Paging Doctor NerdLove and The Good Men Project [...]

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