Being in love doesn’t mean you always feel in love. Sometimes your partner does things that annoy you; other times, things are pretty mundane.
But if there’s one thing spending every day with my boyfriend during the quarantine has taught me, there’s a bevy of moments to appreciate how in love you are.
Sure, when my boyfriend leaves the toilet seat up, I question if we’ll both make it out of this alive. We’ve also erased lines of comfortability with one another—all gas is passed freely in our quarantine castle. We’ve sunk into a little routine, and we occasionally get on each other’s nerves.
Even so, not a day goes by that I don’t feel the butterflies I once felt when we first dated. He’s still the man that makes me grin like an idiot and my person that I can speak my unfiltered, questionable thoughts to.
There’s plenty of opportunities to feel the love, Lion King-style, throughout your day. Here are some little moments to appreciate when you’re in love.
1. Waking up next to them
Unless they’re hogging the blankets or their dead weight arm is on top of your face.
It may seem creepy from an outside perspective, but I love watching my partner sleep in the morning. He looks so innocent and relaxed; it’s a really precious moment.
So when you wake up and instinctively go to grab your phone, maybe pause for a second and really look at your partner. It’s a great way to get yourself familiar again with the face you fell in love with.
2. Taking care of them when they’re sick
On a certain level, it feels nice to be needed, but it’s even better when that person is your partner. I mean, of course, we don’t want them to be sick.
But if they need us, it feels good to be there for them when they most need it. That kind of care for one another helps foster the feeling of being in love.
3. Seeing pictures of when they were little
Now that I’m spending the quarantine in my boyfriend’s childhood home, I’m getting an in-depth peek into his past. That includes all the adorable baby photos I never got to see before.
There’s something about seeing your partner as a child that makes your heart melt. Generally, babies are pretty damn cute. But seeing your partner as one takes it to a whole new level.
4. Learning something new about them
Even after being with my partner for a while, I love finding out new things about him. At this point, those discoveries are usually about his past, but they’re exciting nonetheless (like the fact he’s crazy good at playing pool—sexy but not good for my ego when we play).
When you find out something new about your partner that surprises you, ask them more about it; peel back the layers. This kind of exploration will make you feel even more connected.
5. Feeling supported when you try something new
Taking a leap to try something new is scary, whether it be a painting class or a whole new career.
When your partner is supportive of whatever your new endeavor is, that feeling is fantastic. It’s like a little tap on the shoulder to be like, “Hey, you mean a lot to me, and I’ll always be right here if you fall.”
If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
6. Acting like kids
Letting down your inhibitions and being silly with your partner feels fantastic. To be honest, my boyfriend and I do this every night. With baby talk and everything, I’m not afraid to admit this.
Science backs why acting like kids creates a stronger bond between partners—it has a lot to do with reliving the age we formed our first attachments with our parents. But it also feels really freakin’ good. In those moments, I feel deeply in love with my partner.
7. Mornings when you’re doing separate things together
Sometimes, love isn’t apparent. It’s silently floating around in the peace of it all.
On Sunday mornings, when I’m reading a great novel and my boyfriend is practicing guitar, I feel more in love than ever. We’re not doing anything together, per se, but we’re doing things we love near each other. And that fact that we both choose that makes our bond feel stronger.
8. Sharing vulnerable parts of yourself
Opening our hearts to new people is scary. There’s no getting around that.
But when you share your fears and worries with your partner, it feels like an act of love. You are choosing to trust this person. You are choosing to confide in them.
It’s not even that they are accepting you, which I hope to God they are. It’s that they’re the person you feel most comfortable and want to share these parts of yourself with. That’s where the love lies.
9. Planning the future together
I do believe that committed love eventually means talking about your future and having similar outlooks. Sure, my boyfriend and I aren’t married, so it’s not a given that our fates will be entangled.
But talking about our future with excitement for each other to be involved makes me love my boyfriend more. It’s a little reminder of our commitment, a moment only the two of us can ever experience.
10. Grabbing them a cup of water because you got yourself one
If your instinct is to grab your partner a cup of water when you get one for yourself, that’s love right now. Treasure that feeling.
Putting someone’s needs at the same level as your own—given it’s a healthy relationship, mutually displayed, and respect is involved—feels beyond what words can describe.
Being in love isn’t a constant bombardment of romantic movie scenes. No one is constantly running down the airport to stop you from getting on that plane (which, if they did right now, it’d be for your health and best interest). It’s not rose petals scattered across your bed every night.
Sure those grand gestures are great, but the everyday moments are even better. So cherish them like crazy and go be happily in love.