“I Knew It Was Love When…”

Love at first sight is rare, so how can you be sure that your feelings for someone are more than a just crush? Below are some real-life "ah-ha!" moments people shared with us — and their postscripts.

By Chelsea Kaplan

t may be after three days together, or it may be after three years — either way, in most serious relationships, there's a moment when it all comes together, says Robert K. Elder, founder of, a website in which men and women can anonymously post their romantic "ah-ha!" moments
Some of us can't help it; others fight it.
(he is also the author of the site's companion book, It Was Love When…Tales From the Beginning of Love). "Very often, love sneaks up on us," Elder says. "We often don't realize we're 'in love' until the right mix of chemistry, comfort and passion finds us. Eventually, we call it love. Some of us can't help it; others fight it. Very few of these stories are the fabled 'love at first sight.' Most often, I found while collecting stories for my book that love is a groundswell — an overwhelming combination of the heart, mind and body." Below, Elder shares his favorite "I knew it was love when…" stories he's collected over the years through the site — and offers the storytellers' follow-ups.

A shining star
"After we spent the night together, we couldn't spend the day together because he 'had things to do.' Later that night, we were lying together in his bed, snuggling and reading together, when suddenly he turned off the lights and told me to look up at the ceiling. Glow-in-the-dark stars covered the entire ceiling, spelling out 'I love you.'" – Iris

Postscript: "He'd spent the whole day working on it! I told him that I loved him too, and we've been together ever since."

From Russia, with love
"I felt sorry for the one lonely fish in the aquarium of my dentist's waiting room. The handsome guy sitting across from me saw my fleeting expression of pity for the fish and said (in a subtle Russian accent), 'She's sad, no?'" – Grace

Postscript: "He asked me to marry him after the first time I beat him in a game of chess."

"Joss" is the word
"I asked her what her safe word was and she said, 'Joss Whedon.'" – Inside the Dollhouse

Postscript: "Marriage, two kids. We still love all things Whedon, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dr. Horrible and Firefly."

Protecting precious cargo
"We were chatting, and I had to go somewhere. He said, 'Wear a seatbelt!' which is the stupidest thing to say in any conversation. The he continued, 'Or, I don't know…be safe. I can't stand the thought of losing you.'" – N.

Postscript: "We were best friends who'd made the tragic transition to boyfriend and girlfriend. He realized he liked me as a sister, but we'd hook up randomly from time to time. We're still close friends."

Comically cute
"In college, I was a fan of the 'Calvin and Hobbes' comic strip and ate Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
The guy may be gone, but my love for Elvis remains.
religiously. After dating a girl for only a couple of weeks, Valentine's Day came around and she gave me a box of the cereal with 'Calvin and Hobbes' strips taped all over it." – Aaron

Postscript: "I never told her I loved her and proceeded to make several more bad decisions to eventually end it."

Dream a little dream
"I had a dream in which Elvis Presley told me he was the one I was looking for." – Suzanna

Postscript: "After eight years of on-again, off-again high passion and high drama, it turns out Elvis ain't the smartest guy when it comes to relationships. The guy may be gone, but my love for Elvis remains."

Heart-to-heart talks
"I realized that I didn't want to do anything else but just talk to her for hours about anything at all. The content never mattered — just hearing her voice has always been enough for me." – Anthony

Postscript: "Still going strong and the future looks bright!"

A matter of taste
"I knew it was love when I discovered he couldn't stand the Beatles, either. We hated all the same things." – Anonymous

Postscript: "We've been married for almost a year."

Romance by the book
"We met each other through Facebook. One night, we talked about our favorite books. I mentioned mine was The Time Traveler's Wife and how I wished I could find a hardcover [copy] of it. A week later, I received a package. It was a limited-edition hardcover of the book. We'd known each other only three weeks, but I was already falling." – Clare

Postscript: "It'll be our second anniversary in 10 days."

There's a first time for everything
"We drove to the coast on a whim and spent the night on the beach in the back of his car. I woke up dehydrated and morning-breathy, with my contact lenses shriveled and no makeup. For the first time ever, my happiness to be waking up with someone completely overrode my self-consciousness about my morning appearance. I didn't know that was possible." – Autumn

Postscript: "We stayed together for two years after that, breaking up when I moved across the country to begin my career. He was the first person I fell in love with."

Through thick and thin
"He told me his favorite pizza was thin crust, sausage with mushrooms. That's my favorite, too." – T

Postscript: "Four years later, we're still together — through thick and thin."

A girl's best friend
"He built me a shoe rack. Eat your heart out, Imelda Marcos." – Morgan

Postscript: "We're engaged!"

All anecdotes sourced from It Was Love When…Tales From the Beginning of Love by Robert K. Elder.

When DC-based journalist Chelsea Kaplan isn't helping you solve your relationship problems, she's making jewelry. Check it out at
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