always say love is something that isn't taken as seriously as it is. I think it's a word that's almost been thrown around so much that it's lost it's meaning. I've been IN love, where I had butterflies, got excited to see the person I liked and wanted to be with them all the time, think about them all the time, etc. Lusting, really. But I've only really loved one person, my current partner. I knew for sure I loved him after we'd been together every single day after about 6 months into the relationship. He'd met my family within the first month and I met his. We both grew up on the same mountain less than 5 minutes from each other so our families are very alike and we both fit in well. That was a plus since my parents have NEVER liked any of my choices (and rightly so! They weren't nice to me.) I've also never been liked by many of their families. But I was sure of it when I finally got comfortable enough to eat and go to the restroom while he was around. I never, ever ate or went to the restroom (even to pee!)while I was with a boyfriend, even one I was with a year. I just have always had a really weird thing about getting comfortable around men. Finally after about 4 months of us being together and seeing each other every day, I was starved! I was losing weight too and just had to eat. I ate a Krystal burger in front of him and soon after that was comfortable a little with other things like going to my own restroom! Lol. Really short into our relationship, about 9 months, I started getting extremely ill and ended up in the hospital and sick until about a year ago when I got surgery. We were always in the hospital or some dr office and I got to where I couldn't eat and developed anorexia, not where I chose to starve though. I couldn't eat a french fry without getting sick. I was 70 pounds, couldn't leave my own house hardly & I thought I would die. I was only 16 too. So for those first few years, I stayed sick a lot, learned to manage and still was no good. I knew he'd leave me. He didn't. He went with me to every single hospital visit and never left my side! He took me to the dr. he took care of me. It was bad. He had to feed me! So much for feeling embarrassed to eat in front of him! Lol. There was times where he even had to give me a shower.
I finally got to turn into a normal person a year ago and am back to great health, but after we'd went through all that and he stayed, never ever showed a single sign of frustration, and said he would marry me no matter what I looked like I knew for sure. He also went through a lot of very awful crap from my past. When we first got together, I had just started to deal with a really traumatic incident from earlier and I know I was miserable and just a mess. I hated my own self and he stated with my crazy behind! He just insisted on getting me better. Thats all he cared about. He said whatever it takes. We had to deal with the issue or I wouldn't have been able to move past it. I finally did though and it's amazing! Then almost 2 years ago I was pregnant before I'd been diagnosed with endometriosis and lost it. It was devastating and we went though heck for a while. In the same year I was pregnant again. Lost it too! Anyways, we got through that as well and it's awful and sad and I we'll never be able to have our own children, but we have 3 that aren't biologically ours. After all those things happened and he still loved me I told him I finally believed he HAD to love me. I knew I loved him as soon as I realized he was still there when all those things happened. We've been together for 5 years and I am very sure we were meant for each other.
Enough of my life story! Lol. I think for different people it varies. But when you're past that stage of the butterflies and all and things get serious, you see the person they are when they can't put on a front and you've seen each other at the worst and best and still love them the same. To me, that's when you know for sure. After you've decided you love the person even when they're down and out. After truly knowing them and everything they do, even the things that irritate you, then you'll more than likely know you love them or just can't stand them. For me, I got really lucky. I don't think anyone would've loved me after all the mess I was in, but I certainly found one who did.