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Dallas College Mental Health Spotlight: How Do You Know Love is Real?

This material was written by a Dallas College licensed counselor, Dr. Jesse Gonzalez. All views expressed in this piece are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dallas College.

Last time we talked about the BIG topic for February – romantic love. You know what is the most common question that I’ve been asked over the years about romantic love?  “How do I know if it’s real?” That is the big question, right? How do I know?

Well, I had an old professor when I was in college (yes, we had love back then!) who told us not to count on “a quiver in your liver” to tell you. In other words, do not just count on your feelings. Your feelings cannot tell you what the other person is feeling, can they? Much less if what brings you together is infatuation, crushing, overwhelming physical attraction, loneliness or even boredom! Or the feeling of joy at being rescued by or of rescuing someone. 

So what are some more observable, solid things to look for? What are some things that say that the love between you is real?

Below are 10 signs that a relationship has real love. You’ll notice that these are not about “how do I know I’m in love” – I think it’s more important to look at whether the relationship is real love.

10 Signs It Is Real Love

  1. You can both be yourselves. You can both relax, be comfortable, be who you really are, not have to hide/pretend/impress.
  2. Neither of you is afraid to make mistakes. Neither has to be perfect, you can be human, can make an honest mistake/misunderstand/have a bad day.
  3. Neither of you is afraid of the other one’s anger. You know deeply that the other will not hurt you no matter how angry they are, and you are safe with them.
  4. You both really trust the other. You both believe the other will be honest, loyal and faithful to you.
  5. You both keep promises, dependably. You both do what you say you will, and you’re there when the other person needs you.
  6. You both help each other overcome bad times. You both stay when times get tough for the other and help them through it, even if it’s painful/hard for you.
  7. You both sacrifice for the other. Each of you thinks the other’s safety, happiness and success is just as important as your own.
  8. You both compromise or let the other “win” sometimes. You are both willing to negotiate, give and take, meet in the middle or take turns, working out any disagreements.
  9. You both include the other in your life. You both have “me” time, but want the other person to be a part of your family, friends, work – a part of all your life.
  10. You each make the other want to be a better person. You both know you are not perfect and want to be better, better for the other person, as good as you can be.

You’ll notice the common theme is “both.” It’s mutual, both partners must do and be the above for the other – a relationship takes both people. Then it’s balanced, strong, and durable – it can last.

So you want it to be real? Do you at least have a good start on each of these, and you’re both willing to work hard to make each of them real?  That is what it takes. You want the relationship to be real love?  Then make sure you are each “for real” for each other. It will be worth it!

Written by Dr. Jesse Gonzalez, personal counselor at Dallas College

Dallas College Free Online Counseling for Students

Do you need to speak to someone about something you’re dealing with? At Dallas College, we never want you to feel alone. Our certified, professional counselors are here to help you — for free!

Our team offers virtual, one-on-one sessions for any student currently enrolled in Spring 2021 classes. To get started, all you need to do is contact your campus Counseling Center at the email address listed below:

Brookhaven Counseling Center:
Cedar Valley Counseling Center:
Eastfield Counseling Center:
El Centro Counseling Center:
Mountain View Counseling Center:
North Lake Counseling Center:
Richland Counseling Center:

You can also contact the Dallas College Call Center at 972-669-6400 if you need to speak with a counselor immediately on the phone, prior to your online counseling session.

Please note: If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room rather than requesting an online counseling session.

Interactive Sessions by Topic

Our counselors also offer a variety of psychoeducational workshops and Let’s Talk Series to assist students in developing academic skills, exploring career options, making career decisions and growing as a person. These interactive sessions are free and available just about every week!

Discover other events we have planned this semester by visiting our Counseling Workshops and Events page.

Our team of Dallas College counselors also proudly support TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) as a helpful, free resource that offers more than 150 brief, interactive sessions on various topics such as mental health, wellness and substance abuse. Check out the following sessions that are available on demand:

Healthy Relationships
Join in:
Enrollment Key: #Love

Let’s Talk About Anxiety
Join in:
Enrollment Key: #kick-it

Mindfulness 101 
Join in:
Enrollment Key: #keepcalm

Stress Management 

Join in:
Enrollment Key: #kickstress

Community Mental Health Resources Available in Our Area

  • North Texas Behavioral Health Authority can help pay for community psychiatric, mental health and substance abuse services — please call 214-366-9407.
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas — please call 214-828-1000.
  • National Veterans Crisis Line — please call 800-273-8255 and press 1.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline — please call 800-799-7233.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline — please call 800-656-4673.
  • Message 741741 from anywhere in the United States to text with a trained crisis counselor. Heads up — standard messaging rates may apply.

It’s okay to say. Our college encourages and supports all students and employees in their efforts to openly talk about mental health. Even if you’re not dealing with a specific mental health issue, chances are someone you know is. If you see something that could be helpful to someone else, spread the word and share this information.

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