7 Things That Anyone Who Has Ever Fallen In Love Knows Painfully Well

A survey of longing.

1. The feeling of being seen as something new.

One of the most intoxicating things about falling in love is the feeling of newness that accompanies it. They're a mystery. You're a mystery. 

Suddenly, you have someone who wants more and more of you, someone who is fascinated by aspects of yourself that you take for granted, see as mundane. It's renewing; it's one of the very best things about falling in love.

Why do you think lovers are so fascinated with each other's eyes? Because they not only see newness before them, they also see their own newness. 

2. The slow discovery of another person's life.

Accompanying that feeling of being seen as something new is the incredible sensation of newness in another person. Here is this stranger that, until now, had no impact on your life in any way, but now suddenly fascinates you more than anything else in the world. 

Suddenly, you find yourself hungering to know more, to know everything. You want to know all of what makes them unique: their favorite food, the way they eat peas, what they look like when they sleep... 

Everything from the fragrance they leave on your clothes to the way they look at you from across a room. No detail is too small or unimportant about someone you're falling for. 

3. The fear of saying "I love you" and the struggle to contain it.

It feels as though those three words could cause your heart to burst at the seams, but they are all but impossible to admit. The sensation is like a bruise: It hurts, but somehow comforts. The pain of it, at the very least, lets us know that it's real, that it's there, that it's ours. The inability to say it creates the feeling of lovesickness. 

So why is it so difficult to say? Part of it is that declarative love is wrapped up in a need for reciprocity. It is not enough to say it: We want to hear it. We crave mutuality. 

Not saying it wards off the possibility of the shame and embarrassment of rejection. So we suffer with our lovesickness in silence and mute hope. 

Until, somehow, we find the courage to say it.

If we are to ever really know, we must simply take a leap of faith and let the cards fall where they may. 

4. The incredibleness of firsts.

You won't forget the first time the words "I love you" are spoken. Out loud. Into reality.

You will mark the first time you held her hand.
You will remember the first time he gave you his coat.
You will not forget your first night with her, nor the exquisite pain of your first night away from her.
You will not be able to wash away the memory of the first time he kissed you.
All of these "firsts" and the hundreds more to come will serve not just as milestones, but as things to look forward to, things that make you ache with anticipation. 

5. Finding signs in everything.

It's always tempting to ascribe the tiny things we notice when in love to signs that forces in the universe are conspiring to bring us together with the object of our affections. She likes the same drink as you? He had a cat with the same name as yours? You both wore navy blue on your first date? Must be fate.

And maybe it is. And maybe it isn't. There's no way to know how or why two people can be born with no knowledge of each other whatsoever and then, through the twists and turns of life, somehow stumble onto each other.

There is no harm in seeing these things as signs. Be glad for them. Enjoy them. 

6. The geography of a new lover's body.

A new type of learning emerges here.

You begin to trace new routes to pleasure. Where to touch, how to touch. What draws a gasp, what extracts a sigh. 

And so you crumple the sheets. Dim the lights. Spend the day in bed. Map each other. Learn each other's bodies. Exult in the newness of it.

New love is uncharted. Explore. 

7. An irresistible belief in "forever."

There's not a couple in the world that doesn't wonder if they're going to get married, build a life, and grow old together. It speaks to a fundamental need: the need for human companionship. Detractors will say that doesn't necessarily mean "one person," but for most people, that's the ideal when it comes to love. Even cynics sometimes stray into the romantic hope that there is such a thing as forever in love.

And for some lucky people, it works. Some people find one person and stay with them, through thick and thin, to build a life and find happiness and fulfillment. 

And if not, stay hopeful. There will always be new loves.