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After a recent break-up my confidence is low - how can I tell if I am now in true love with my new boyfriend?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
You make your life your own heaven or hell - everything is a choice.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
What I want most in life is to fall in true love, have kids and live happily ever after.
How do you know when you're in true love? I used to really trust my gut instincts and follow my heart wherever it led me. Then about a year ago my boyfriend and I of 20 months broke up. I know we were young but we had been together so long everyone assumed we would eventually marry. I thought I was in true love and he was the one. It was a bad breakup that came out of nowhere.

Now a year later I'm over him and starting a new relationship. The guy I'm with now I really care about. I have so much fun when I'm with him and we have so much in common. We're both huge dorks. We have fun curling up reading books together or playing chess and once we even designed our dream library. It's the kind of stuff I can do with him that I've never been able to do with anyone else. When he holds me in his arms, without thinking I turn to him to tell him that I love him and catch myself at the last minute. I really don't want to make the same mistakes I've made in the past!

But I just don't know how to tell if it's real. I used to be an emotional roller coaster in all my past relationships. I used to feel so unsteady. When I'm with my boyfriend, for the first time in my life I feel solid and steady. I'm so scared of repeating past mistakes that I'm afraid that's what is holding me back. But then again I'm afraid I'm trying to make it true love so that I can prove to myself that I'm not a coward and I'm not afraid to take a chance on love again. I hope you can help me.

Wallace's reply
Wallace I feel encouraged by your question. Many people are uncomfortable with the secure and steady feeling you are getting from your relationship. They look for drama or excitement - the adrenalin rush - and think if it's not high octane it must not be true love. Nothing could be further from the truth. True love is fun, easy and low maintenance - it promotes feelings of steadiness, security and peace, but still retains what I would call a quiet excitement that comes from the kind of sharing that only your partnership can offer.

You have been shocked and hurt by the breakup of your last relationship and are naturally wary of being hurt again. I would encourage you to share these feelings with your partner. If he is a sensitive man he will understand your reticence and, through sharing these feelings and having them accepted by him, you will feel more trusting and confident in your partner. At that point you may find yourself telling him that you love him with confidence.

Learn to take the progress of your relationship one step at a time. It only creates undue stress and unrealistic levels of expectation to think at this early stage: "Is this it? Is this true love?" Learn to watch your own mind form these expectations and when you see them arise, say to yourself, "I am having an expectation" and let it go. Learn to love life's uncertainty and have fewer expectations of how things will work out and you will enjoy your relationship and your life more. Be content to let your relationship progress to expressions of mutual endearment and then be open to whatever happens next.

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