I don't actually expect anyone to have an answer to this. If they did, they'd probably be the ruler of the world. But how do you know how you truly feel, and how do you know how they feel?
It's easy for someone to say "I love you", or "je t'aime", or "ahabak(ik)", or any other way of saying you love someone. They're just words. Anyone can do things for someone, or kiss them, or make love to them. But that doesn't necessarily mean they love them.
So how do you know?
It's a question I wrestle with routinely. About both my own feelings and the feelings of others.
I say I love Becky. I believe that I do. I believe this because of how I feel when I'm around her, when I talk to her (whether on the phone or through online chat), because of how I care about her. Whenever I hear about something happening in her country or whenever the power goes out over there, I worry about her safety. I feel genuine sadness at the thought of never talking to her again. I wish very much for her happiness in life. I think that's all great evidence in support of the idea that I love her.
But, how do I know? How do I know it's not because she's the only girl to want to consistently stick around me for this long? How do I know it's not because I think she's the last shot I have to ever find someone? How do I know?
And the answer is that I don't know. And can't know. I don't live in a world in which I'm choosing her over many other women. She is the only one. I have to put trust in myself that I know what I'm feeling is in fact love, and not desperation or loneliness. And trusting yourself is often the most difficult thing to do.
On the other side of the equation, how do I know how Becky feels? She's terribly hard to predict. Hard to lock down where she stands. One day she'll say she loves me, the next she'll say she doesn't want a long distance relationship and has a hard time saying she loves me over the phone (something she still has never done). She'll say she's coming here to visit, but that I shouldn't wait for her. She'll text me to say she misses me, but doesn't sound like she's in a hurry to see me.
So how do I know she's serious about wanting to give us a shot? How do I know she's not saying these things to avoid disappointing me or to avoid making me hate her? I'm not exactly someone accustomed to having women be interested in him, which only compounds the problem.
I've asked for people's thoughts on the issue, and some have chimed in. And I encourage anyone else reading this to chime in too. But how do you know about your own feelings? How do you know about another person's feelings? Am I just an idiot for believing this might work out?