Can You Be in Love With Someone Without Really Knowing Them?

Love is what's left after the initial glow wears off.
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You're probably not going to want to hear this if you've just met the world's most perfect guy or girl, but what you're feeling is probably not love – yet. This doesn't mean it won't turn into love, or that it's not a great and wonderful thing in its own right. It just means that love – real love – takes time to grow, but getting there can be half the fun.

1 He's the Center of Your Universe

The one-two punch you experience in the area of your solar plexus when you meet that perfect person is usually just infatuation – and maybe a healthy dose of hormones. At this point, you don't know where he's been, where he's going, or how he plans on getting there. If he consumes your every waking thought, it's probably because you're dying to know more – and you want to be in his company again so you can experience more of that exhilarating feeling. It's not love yet, because you're still wearing blinders created by your own desire.

2 Warts and All

In the earliest days after you meet, you probably think your perfect person is just that – perfect. He's not, because no one is. Hidden somewhere beneath that captivating exterior, there's bound to be a wart or two, and you won't discover them until you lose the rose-colored glasses of infatuation. This doesn't mean your relationship will end. It's just time to decide whether you can live with his particular warts or if they really bother you. For example, he might have suffered some traumatic event in his childhood, such as a devastating house fire, and as a result, he's a little obsessive about gathering possessions. Maybe he even takes it to the level of hoarding. If you know this about him and if you're willing to live with his clutter – or at least help him let go of it – that's love. If you get angry every time you look at it and begin thinking of ways to burn it yourself, what you felt for him was just infatuation and it's wearing off.

3 You'd Do (Almost) Anything for Him

Listen to your gut and be alert if it expresses any reservations. When he tells you he has tickets for a great wrestling match this weekend, does your stomach sink? Are you afraid to tell him that you'd rather swim with sharks than sit through such an event, because then he might not want to see you again? Love is when you agree to go to the match because you know he'll enjoy it, not because you're afraid of losing him. By the same token, if you draw the line at attending wrestling matches with him, always insisting on doing something you enjoy instead, it may not be love.

4 Love at First Sight

The best thing about infatuation is that real love often has its roots in it, according to Michael W. Austin, Ph.D., a professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University. If you don't really know someone very well yet, take the time to do so and enjoy the process. If it is love, you've got all the time in the world and the relationship will only get better.

Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.