I am running a program for women who have come out of difficult relationships and one of the questions I often get asked, is what is the difference between attraction, friendship and real love. So i put together this chart as a guideline…hope it helps…

Issue Infatuation / Attraction Friendship True Love
Duration Fast, reckless, declines quickly Either Gradual, deepens with time; grounded, lasts forever
Respond to Their appearances; sexuality To their personality To their whole being
Feels Feel anxious and unstable but intense Safe harbour to tell them how you feel Brings sense of calm, stability, peace
Feels All consuming euphoria similar to recreational drug use (addictive chemical Rx) – will risk anything for the next hit of adrenalin A gentle affection A deep affection, contentment, confidence.  Like loving your best friend.
Feels Brings worry, fear of losing the other Feels safe Feels confident, independent, safe & secure
Feels In love with being in love Choose to love you – not an obligation In love with the person
Affection You need the sexual component Totally non sexual; but hugs are god Gentle & loving; throughout the day every day; you are content to fall asleep in their arms;
Arguments Afraid that it is the end You can resolve the issues; laugh at the process; and not worry about them leaving You can resolve the issues; laugh at the process; and not worry about them leaving
Beauty Their beauty is in their looks Their beauty is in their totality; you’ve seen them at their worst & love them just the same Their beauty is in their totality; you’ve seen them at their worst & love them all the more
Commitment Temporary in life; challenges come up and you are off to find another A commitment to be there for them Continue throughout life; resolve the issues; carry on; you will stand by each other through it all
Communication You listen You listen well You really listen
Comparison WOW!!! That looks good A non issue Looks great but I have the best
Compassion To self orientated to have compassion for the other You have compassion for one another The ability to see through the eyes of your loved one, even when you don’t agree with them
Conflict Gloss over arguments OR give up in times of conflict; if you disagree it alters how you see the person You can have conflict and differences of opinion but still remain friends Committed to working things out in times of conflict; defend each other publicly; solve things privately
Consideration Expect the other to consider your needs; You hate putting yourself out for things they like that you don’t Always considerate of one another Each consider the other when making decisions – whether it be about social events or finances or whatever; You have no issue doing things that they like, that you don’t; genuine intentions; always considerate of the other; ask them what they need or how they feel
Distance Makes you anxious and question the relationship A non issue Is of no issue
Effect Controlled by chemistry Controlled by the head and heart Controlled by the heart
Effort To immediate short lived for much effort Dependent on need at any given time Both are committed to putting in the effort to make the relationship work – and agree on the type of effort required
Ego Hold close to your boundaries Boundaries are flexible Dissolve your egoic boundaries
Energy Draining Supportive Energizing
Enjoy Enjoy them when you are with them Enjoy each other’s company Really enjoy one another’s company
Events You focus on the trivial and how that person might be thinking of you Tell them about the things that are relevant to the friendship you share When something happens in life, you can’t wait to tell them about it – if good you know they will be happy for you; if bad, you know they will understand & be there for you
Friendship Shallow Continues to grow through out the years Continues to grow deeper and deeper
Growth Can’t sustain the feeling – mind is too busy dealing with scary thoughts; has the attitude “this is who I am – deal with it” Support growth & change Growing together & making each other better; both always want to be their best for each other
History Not that interested History isn’t really important one way or the other Want to know everything they want to share and accept what they don’t want to share
Humor You remember to laugh at their jokes Can tell the other person – that wasn’t funny You laugh together just because; you can make each other laugh when the chips are down
Hurt Try not to hurt you Will be up front, but diplomatic; & will defend you; will cry with you Will be up front, but diplomatic; & will defend you; will cry with you
I love you means I want something from you; I see you with my eyes; I need you to be a particular something in my life  – therefore conditional; please only see the good in me You are a good friend and I appreciate you in my life Means a 1001 different good things; I see you with my heart; I see who you are working to becoming but accept you for who you are today; please accept all of who I am
Infatuation Doesn’t go any further but gives you goosebumps and giggles in the short term Not applicable Can be the start of a loving relationship – makes you smile
Imperfections Focuses on perfection; ceases due to imperfections We laugh at them together Doesn’t cease because of imperfections – you embrace them
Inconveniences You get frustrated with the inconveniences If I can I will You don’t care about inconveniences
Interdependency Cannot be sustained without physical attraction Not an issue Partnership – interdependent –
Intimacy Between the sheets In issues that we share In every aspect of life
Jealousy Prone to jealousy Not an issue Secure within the self and within the other
Judgement/criticism Will hold judgement & criticism Doesn’t hold judgement / criticism Doesn’t hold judgement / criticism
Loyalty Not there Very much there Always there
Metal Copper – but may be temporarily gold plated Silver & gold Gold through and through
Mood You have a hard time tolerating when they are down Can be supportive when they are down You are supportive and encouraging when they are down
Patience Focused only on now Evolves and grows with time; but will give them the kick in the butt when needed Evolves and grows with time; but will give them the kick in the butt when needed
Perception Idealized perception of the other Know their faults, short comings and love them anyways Know their faults, short comings and love them anyways
Person to person There to fulfill your needs Supportive and understanding There to serve and please
Relationships Ignore other relationships Find balance with other relationships Find balance with other relationships
Respect May be attracted although not necessarily a lot of respect Respect one another Respect one another
Result Emptiness Supported Fulfillment
Self Selfish: fulfills uncontrollable desires Good balance between give and take Selfless, giving, sacrificing to make the other feel happy & secure
Sex Exciting, but feel tentative afterwards – did they find you attractive, appealing, when will be the next time Non issue; but hugs are good Gentle affection and cuddling are as important as the sex –  you both love lighting the flame but also love the gentle after glow just as much
Sickness When sick & looking horrible, you focus on their looks Will be there for you, if they can Even when sick & looking horrible & their looks don’t matter
Spirituality Lust creates a hunger for matter May or may not be similar Based on a clear understanding of our spiritual identity & recognition that we are far more than the material
Support Will support you in the short term Will support you in the long term Will support you in the long term
Team work Only with fun stuff Can work together if necessary You are a team/ partnership; both of equal value & work together to achieve greatness
Thank you For giving me what I need Appreciative of each other For being all that you are & accepting me for all that I am
Trust Questionable Trust correlates with the depth of the friendship Deep – you both trust and are trustworthy
Values: religion, core values, lifestyle, etc Don’t really matter May or may not be similar Are similar
Vulnerability Won’t go there – self protection To the depth the friendship has evolved Learn a greater and greater depth and capacity to be vulnerable and feel safe

Answer these questions:

  1. I am attracted and connected to my partner physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  2. The thought of my partner makes me happy.
  3. I feel happy about myself when I’m with my partner and without him.
  4. I am free to be my true self in my relationship.
  5. I like who I am in my relationship.
  6. I love myself just as much as I love my partner.
  7. I feel good about who my partner is.
  8. If my partner were to lose his material possessions, I would still love him and be with him.
  9. I appreciate my partner and his quirks.
  10. I’m happy for my partner when good things come his way.
  11. When difficulties come up for my partner, I’m here to support him.
  12. I feel good about the way my partner and I interact and resolve issues.
  13. I choose in favor of our relationship; my decisions are for the greater good of our relationship.
  14. When I have good or bad news, or a challenging situation, my partner is one of the first people I call.  
  15. When we have issues, my initial response is to resolve them, not leave him.
  16. When our relationship isn’t flowing as smoothly as I’d like, I’m able to be with what is and trust that things are and will be fine.
  17. I feel content and fulfilled in my relationship.
  18. I know my partner feels the same way about me as I do him (i.e. we both like and love each other).
  19. There’s no one else I’d rather be with, than my partner.
  20. I mostly approach our relationship from a place of love.

You are mostly likely in love if the majority of your answers are “true”. If most of your answers are “false”, you are not in love. You are approaching love from fear and under the belief that love is hard.

The bottom line is: if you’re in love with the right person, love won’t be or feel so hard.

You will feel uplifted and loved for your true self. You will know how he feels about you. Your relationship will flow with more ease and when difficulties arise, they will be resolved respectfully.