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I’ve been wanting to write this piece for a while now — simply because I adore love. 

Everyone’s definition of love is different, and the love we feel in each relationship differs also. But how does one know when the butterflies signify true love? Is there an accumulation of moments or a single marker that we come to see? 

Hearing people talk about the moment they knew they loved their partner are the kinds of love stories that make me believe that there is indeed good, heartfelt love in the world. 

I set out to find out what love “feels like” — not the forced, lame kind of “love,” but the real kind. These are the stories I wanted to hear about. The ones that make your heart race and the butterflies form in your stomach all over again. 

So, I asked 16 people, “How/when did you know you were in love?” — in the hope that the stories that make me smile, would make you do the same. 

Here is what they had to say. 

It was a collection of moments. 

“I wouldn’t say there was a specific moment, it was more like a collection of things that lead to me realizing it … I realized I was happier when she was around and that she just made me an all-around better person … I knew her for so many years before, [it was] just something that was always there.” 

— Anonymous

“It wasn’t so much one moment that defined when I really fell in love, but instead a collection of moments that made me realize that everything I could want in a person was right there in front of me.”

— Anonymous

“There was not a specific moment that I knew I was in love, but a collection of moments. I started learning more and more about her and felt myself falling for her. That’s when I knew.” 

— Anonymous

It was the little gestures all wrapped into one. 

“For me there wasn’t a specific moment, it was a combination of little ones: him walking me back to my room at night to make sure I was safe, staying up all night to talk, taking me to look at the horses (because I love horses) and understanding all my little quirks … And then one day we were hanging out and I was like — Woah, I love this boy.” 

— Livi, 20.

“Well, it was a combination of things; like when [they] would help me with my quizzes and feed me when I was drunk … It was the thought behind all the acts, rather than the acts themselves.” 

— Riley, 20.

I felt safe and secure. 

“I said I love you first. It was because he made me feel safe … He made me feel calm when I was with him”. 

— Anonymous 

“Prior to dating my boyfriend, I struggled a lot with anxiety and self-love [issues]. Being around him truly brought out the best and happiest version of myself: a side of me I haven’t seen in a long time. I knew I was in love when I realized how whole I felt when he was around me.” 

— Anonymous 

It was a single moment. 

“The moment I realized, was on a blind date at the drive-in. It started raining and the car AC broke, but neither of us wanted to leave and ended up staying for hours on end. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before: like a new energy running through my body based off of the connection we shared — almost magical.”

— Kylie, 21. 

“My first real love was in high school. I knew I loved her the day we were at the CNE. We were on a ride and she was freaking out and just didn't look ‘cute,’ but I still thought: ‘this is the most perfect girl.’ I just knew I loved her.” 

— Charlie, 21

Thinking about the future and sharing it together. 

“I knew I was in love when all I wanted was to share my moments with him. All the happy exciting moments and all the sad ones — I wanted to live them with him. Even when I realized long distance sucks, I was still the happiest I’ve ever been.” 

— Anonymous

“It’s the piecing together of lots of little things that amount to a feeling of ‘knowing.’ One of those moments is when we started to plan a future. When you look ahead and see that person, that was confirmation that he was the one.” 

— Giuliana, 36.

They consumed my thoughts. 

“She was all I could think about. Every time I thought about her my heart was in my stomach … As soon as you get used to the feeling, it gets stronger … You go out of your way to make her feel like she's your number one girl”.

— Paul, 21. 

“I knew I was in love was when I went to a Lana Del Rey concert with a friend, but all I could think about was him. I truly felt her music because of him.”

— Meghan, 20. 

I knew during the early stages of “us.”

“I knew I was in love fairly early on. After he and I started dating, there was one specific moment where I knew for sure; It was seeing him smile on a bridge on the UW campus, when the weather was nice — and thinking how happy I’d be seeing that smile every day.”  

— Devon, 20.

“I loved him way before he even asked me to be his girlfriend. (He knew that). There was one night though, where he had fallen asleep beside me and I just remember looking at him and thinking: ‘sh*t.’ It was such a good moment — and all I could think was I could stay in this spot forever.” 

— Gina, 20. 

“I had always loved him as a friend, one of my best friends in fact … there was such a thin line between the love I have for him as my best friend and the feeling of being in love with him as my partner … I couldn’t have imagined life without him before there was even an “us” — and now I sure can’t imagine life unless it is “us.”

— MJ, 20.

Hearing each and every one of these stories has reignited the romantic in me and helped me to understand just what “love” can mean to different people. 

I believe in true love, and I believe in happy endings. But most importantly, I believe that love is not what the mind thinks, but what the heart feels. 

Gina-Marie Rubinia

Wilfrid Laurier '20

Currently studying General Arts at Laurier. I have always enjoyed writing as a past time and think it is the best way for anyone to express their inner creativity. Avid romantic movie watcher (I'm talking recite the lines to every Nicholas Sparks film, obsessed). If I could move to any fictional location it would be Tree Hill, North Carolina (also an OTH fanatic). I'm a firm believer that every person needs to experience The Office (at least) once in their lifetime. Oh and I am most definitely a dog over cats type of person.
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