Forgive me for being late, but this topic is directly after my own heart.
I love a man who is 2 people. 52% of the time, he is a sweet, loving man. 48% of the time, he can be lost in his world, mean and hurtful (not physically). I struggle to decide if the 52% that I love dearly is worth withstanding the 48% of sh*t that I go through.
And then to further complicate matters, that 48% of the time will probably be temporary. But I know I don't deserve being treated so poorly in the meantime. Do I leave and risk never loving like this again? Do I stay and wait for my soulmate to approach at least 80% of this man?
I don't know.
I guess that's enough whining on my part. Let's get back to your problem. On your question on when to know if you are in love, it's true what Alain said, that you are the only person who can tell. But you can ask yourself some questions that are typical of love.
If this person makes you feel better, even when you aren't with them, then love it is, and that's obvious. But for me, the line between love and lust or infautation is this - when I am in love, everything gets better, my business, my health, my spirits, my grades when I was in school. But when it's not love, all the other things in life dim, not brighten.
It is a very difficult situation when someone you want to fall in love with is afraid or not ready, and my heart really goes out to you, Elizabeth. It got me thinking back to when I was afraid to fall in love.
So, I started thinking, what did I need the most when I was hurt, when I was afraid to love? I needed someone to care anyway, to listen, and to Really Understand what it was about the last persons actions who hurt me. I needed to really find out that I could trust the man who was so patiently waiting for me. I needed a friend. I did not want him to wait for me forever, and I gave him some time to understand when I would be able to heal, and the option to leave if he had to. He stayed.
The relationship did not last, but the friendship did, and we are both better for the experience. I learned to love again, with him, then with someone else, and he will always be able to say that he was the one who drew me out, and if we had not been together, he may have never met the person is happy with now.
So, if you can bear it, be there. It may take weeks or months for him to come around, and if you are there, you will have friend forever, and if you are lucky, a love for life. Looks like he'd be lucky to have such a caring person.