What is True Love

Do you think that True Love is having butterflies in your stomach before you see someone? Or counting the minutes until you are reunited with your love? Or the feeling that you absolutely cannot live without that person?

If you said ‘yes’ to any of those, I’m afraid I would say that actually, those do not indicate True Love. (Bear with me here…) In order to clarify what True Love really looks like in action, we need to first look at what True Love ISN’T. 



True Love isn’t…


…being afraid of what the person you’re with is going to say or do

…being afraid of how the person you’re with is going to judge you

…being someone’s possession

…walking on eggshells

…deeply believing that someone else ‘completes’ you (Trust me…that’s not possible!)


So what IS True Love?

We all have different experiences and Downloaded Love Blueprints, so when it comes to what we identify as “true love”, we all come from different perspectives. Before we can even start to examine the idea of True Love in relationships, we must start with the foundation of True Love…which is Self-Love. It may not be as exciting or ‘magical’ to discuss, but it’s the truth.  Knowing and accepting yourself, having compassion for yourself, celebrating your uniqueness is Self-Love. I believe that self-love is the key to attracting and being able to sustain healthy love.


Remember: True Love is not achieved by luck or magic…it’s PSYCHOLOGY


So what does True Love look like?



True love respects each person’s differences. You are allowed to not be the same and don’t need to share the exact same views or preferences. Also, you can’t always HAVE to be right. Respect is sometimes agreeing to disagree.


Having hardcore expectations of what True Love is, or how a partner should behave is the opposite of acceptance. With True Love comes a level of acceptance that there will be things about that other person that you might wish were different. Of course, we are not talking about really bad behavior or abuse. I mean accepting that the other person is not you and may have a different idea of how things ‘should’ be – and accepting their weaknesses as well as their strengths.


Jealousy and possessiveness are often glamorized in movies and even in some cultures but the truth is that chronic or extreme jealousy is toxic and indicates insecurity. If you don’t have trust, you really cannot build a harmonious relationship that will last. When people are jealous, it really is an indication of how they feel about themselves. True Love is built on trusting that the other person can be counted on to be truthful. Jealousy is often a symptom of our own worthiness issues.  


It’s critical to have the flexibility within a relationship to be sorry – to be able to apologize and for your partner to accept that and not endlessly punish you or throw your mistakes back in your face. With True Love comes a level of forgiveness that goes along with the remorse. There has to be room in a relationship to be sorry and be forgiven. (And I am not talking about taking the same destructive action or saying the same hurtful thing and then being sorry. That is a cycle of abuse or dysfunction. Changed behavior is the best apology.)


There has to be equity of power for a sustainable healthy relationship. One person dominating the entire relationship is unhealthy. You should both feel that you have power, but also trust that neither of you will use that power to manipulate the other. In True Love, the person you are closest to is the person you could hurt the most deeply…but True Love says that you won’t and wouldn’t do that.  When you are really close to someone, it is easy to know what to say to hurt them, but True Love is all about never doing that because you don’t want or feel the need to hurt them. Being empowered goes hand-in-hand with kindness and not abusing your power.


Real Love looks like choice. Choosing to be in the relationship because you WANT to be with that person, not necessarily because you NEED that person. When you are with someone because you feel you NEED them (because you’re afraid to be alone, or they have always financially supported you) it really complicates the relationship. True Love is CHOOSING your person, every day. Couples have different agreements so if you have agreed that one of you will stay home with the kids and one will support the family, that is a joint decision and a different scenario than feeling like you HAVE to be with someone for the financial support or because you are afraid to be alone.

Effort and Intention

Love isn’t just having a ‘feeling’ about someone, it’s about how you behave. True Love is indicated by your actions. It is consciously thinking about making that person’s life better, about supporting them and celebrating their successes. Supporting the dreams they have for themselves …not just the dreams that involve you.


There has to be a sense of ‘us’. When you are in a long-term relationship and it’s True Love, the focus shifts from ‘me’ to ‘us’. Everything you do is done with a consideration for what impact it may have on your relationship because there is a unity and shared life. It’s not about controlling what someone else does, or being afraid to act on your own – it’s about prioritizing the relationship.


It is so important to talk about what you want in a relationship. It’s not about asking for permission, it’s about being partners. When you are real partners you communicate and talk about things – you don’t make massive unilateral decisions that will affect both people in the relationship without discussing it first. Communication is absolutely mandatory for success.

Feeling Good

True Love feels good. Not in the unicorns and roses everyday way of course…but generally speaking in True Love when you are with your partner, you feel good about yourself. They hold you in high-esteem (as you do them) and being with them makes you feel good. It never feels like fear of what will happen or wanting to run away, or feeling threatened.


There Is empathy in True Love. You feel for where your partner is at. It doesn’t mean that you must completely understand exactly what your partner is going through, but you can always care about how they feel. Whether they are in pain, are seeking your advice on something or just need to vent. You shouldn’t have to convince your partner that you have the right to be upset about something in your life.


Those butterflies that you feel at the beginning are just a phase of the relationship and it moves into a deeper, more intimate, more authentic connection and feelings change. You may not wake up every day with butterflies but with continued effort and intention, you keep finding things to love with someone who does the same for you. Take a look at the relationships that you have had in your life. Look at these points and examine, with kindness, where you feel you could work on some of these. How can you bring more of these healthy elements into your relationship?

True Love requires time, attention, and your intention to stay good. Anything of value is worth your energy and effort because you deserve True Love.

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  1. Hi Terri,
    I often listen to your YouTubes. I have been dating a man,( we are both in 50’s), and I have started to feel attached to him. I am daughter of narcissist mom in healing. Partner has “honestly” states he wants to be non-monogamous. He isn’t actively doing this now, but I believe he will eventually. This creates anxiety and dread in me and also makes me withdraw from him emotionally. I so seldom meet anyone as intelligent and articulate as he is and yet I don’t think I can continue a relationship I know will end badly. He was a pastor and had an affair with a much younger female who he married a few years, then they also broke up. I think he still has emotional relationship with her.

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for sharing your story. Have you talked to him about your concerns? Do YOU want to be non-monogamous? I encourage you to get clear on what you want and need to be in a happy, healthy relationship, and stick to your gut. There are plenty of men out there that are intelligent and articulate, you deserve better than feeling anxiety and dread. Sending you strength, mama.

  2. My niece referred me to your videos. What a great message. I have been asking myself if I love my boyfriend. Your message helped me realized I do, but need to work on a few of these points. A problem is the conflict between him and my 24 yr old daughter. I am pulled by my love for each and feel I have to make a choice. My daughter wants him gone. He wants me to stand by his side no matter whether he is right or wrong. How does one find a resolution?

    1. Mily,
      I think you would benefit from drawing a boundary with each of them saying NEITHER of them has the right to put you in the position to have to choose and you might make a ‘simple request’ that each of them put in an effort to get along with the other because THAT will make you happy. I have a new video out called, 3’s a Crowd about triangulation that might help you. Thank you for sharing here, I am sure your comment has helped others in a similar situation. Sending you strength to choose YOU!

  3. Dear Terri, I have a question about “Unity” part.My boyfriend has very ambitious objectives about his personal and professional growth(education abroad, doctor diploma…etc). When I think about serious long term relationship, his big plans confuse me.I don’t feel like these plans can be combined with prioritizing the relationship.What you think about personal/professional growth with having harmonious long term relationship with kids? And when the time comes to start a family?(sorry for my English:))

    1. Anna,
      Thank you for your question. I think that having an honest conversation about your hopes, dreams, and desire for the future is important because if he doesn’t want the same things, it is better to know now. Once you discuss it openly, you will have data points and information upon which to make an informed decision. Good luck!!

  4. Thank you so much Dr. Terry, I was just talking to a friend about how hard it is for me to love and respect myself because of my low self esteem but hearing your talk in this video was like an answer to my prayer today from God, may He bless you and if you don’t believe in Him I don’t judge but I just want you to know that I love you and I really really apreciate what you do, thank you for sharing your knowledge, I will always try to remember what you shared ??

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