Yesterday was the city primary election. As I drove to work, I saw sign wavers on the corner of 132nd/Center. Seeing them reminded me of so many of my childhood mornings when my dad was running for office. I wondered if these volunteers were in it for moral reasons than I had been (mine: a cinnamon roll from Ma's Place). I remember then thinking every wave represented a vote for my dad, and I tried to count the honks/waves against the people without responses as if to prematurely determine the outcome of the election. My dad did win his first campaign, but lost his second and his third and then quit running.
Thinking about campaigning and rejection led to relationships. I've heard that in every relationship, one person loves their partner more. Someone is always chasing, and someone is being pursued. That is not to say that the chasee doesn't also love their partner, because they do, just not to the same degree. It's as if someone is always campaigning, and sooner or later, the chasee either gives in or the campaigner gives up.
Does persistence ever lead to love? Or when you fall in love do you just know? I think for every person it is different and there isn't some blanket formula to knowing if this is it. I came from a very conservative and sheltered background, so I didn't know when dating my first boyfriend if I loved him. Eight years later, him and I are happily married, but it took me a few years and a few hundred miles to know what I wanted and then, that he was it. For others, perhaps they already know what they want and could just know when they meet someone if that is what they're looking for.
Your twenties are a time for exploration. (I read this in a book and have already repeated it a few times because I find it to be so true). You are still discovering who you are and aren't fully developed yet. Many times mid-life crises are results of getting married, having kids, or choosing a career too early before you really knew what you wanted.
I am often guilty of over-analyzing, but I also think that love can't be under-analyzed into "just knowing." If that was the case, every woman's soulmate would be Orlando Bloom. Love isn't a catch in your chest: that just signifies a cold gust of wind. Love is give and take: it's pursuing and being pursued. I think you will know that you love somebody once you no longer want to just receive, but want to give as well. The relationship is no longer about being flattered or feeling adored, but now about wanting the other person to feel the same way from you.