Hello and welcome to the Love Clinic. Understanding relationships and love is something we all desperately want to do, and it’s probably the most difficult thing we try to do as well. Putting a quantitative value on love and matching up our definitions with someone else’s can leave you aching from your heart to your head. Now we can talk about something we all want to know: When is it love? When do we know that what we feel for someone is love, and not just passion, attraction, or mere delight in their company? First off, let’s talk about what love is. I call it a very strong emotion. Love is to affection as the color pink is to the girls. One is a soft and lovely feeling, and the other is deeper and far more vibrant. You can feel great affection for a friend, but when that affection becomes love – it’s a more potent mixture of emotions. I like to ask myself the following questions, and if I can answer ‘yes’ to all of them, then I know I love this person: Do I want to talk to them all the time? Do I want to see them all the time? Do I enjoy their company for the sake of it? Do I forgive their flaws without thinking about it? Do I accept them for who they are and enjoy that person? If you can say ‘yes’ to all of these questions, then you love this person. But what about being ‘in love’? Being ‘in love’ is very different from just ‘loving’ someone. So do those questions work for defining if you are ‘in love’ with someone? They can help define the love part, but passionate, romantic love is different. How we define it, feel it, and express it, is different from person to person. Remember, when we were kids? When the boys picked on the girls on the playground? It was a way to demonstrate affection – strange, but true. So how do you know if it’s love? Consider these questions: Is he or she the first person I want to talk to everyday? Does a bad day get better just because they walked into the room? Are they the first person I want to share my good or bad news with? Is what they want, need, or desire, very important to you? Are they your best friend? The last question is the most important one. When you are best friends and you love each other, you can fulfill the greatest of your romantic and passionate aspirations. If they are who you want to be with through the good times and the bad, then that is who you are in love with. Sexual attraction is important, but sexual attraction is often sparked when two people are getting to know each other – it needs love to be maintained, or like most candles, it burns out of its own accord. Therefore, sexual attraction with no love to back it up soon fizzles to a vacuum of indifference. Love is respect, joy, communication, trust and friendship. If you don’t like someone, you can’t love them. If you don’t respect them, you can’t love them. People say that love and hate are two sides of the same coin, but that’s not true – the flipside of love is apathy – hate is an entirely different emotion. So, tell me – do you believe you are in love?