Q. How can you tell whether the butterflies you feel are just infatuation — or the sign of something deeper?

A. We have all been there. At work, at a party, in a random aisle at your local grocery. You see that special someone and butterflies invade your stomach and start flitting around doing flip-flops. Your mind turns to mush and all you can think about is that one person. Those of us inexperienced with love know, with an absolute-beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt-certainty, that this person is The One. This is true love. However, those of us with a little more experience under our belts will tell you to wait a minute. Or an hour. Or a month. Or longer. Because the only thing that differentiates infatuation butterflies from true love butterflies is time.

In my new novel, The Laws of Love, the heroine, Livi Miller, has not felt butterflies in a very, very long time. But when she reunites with her old flame, Jake Cooper, butterflies move in and stay with her for most of the novel. Jake is not Livi’s new crush. He is not someone she ogles from afar. They have history. They have baggage. They haven’t seen each other in ten years. And yet she still gets those all-encompassing butterflies every time she is with him. Livi is not infatuated. She is in love. And despite all the heartache she has felt over Jake in the past, Livi’s butterflies stick with her.

Have you ever seen a butterfly sitting perfectly still? Think about it. I haven’t. Not unless the butterfly is dead and pinned inside a lepidopterist’s shadow box (yeah, I had to look that one up, too – it is someone who studies butterflies and moths).

Otherwise, even when sitting, a butterfly’s wings are still moving, gently creating an infinitesimal wind. True love butterflies are like that also, always propelling your relationship forward, moving to the next stage, getting past all the ups and downs, until there you are, years later, sitting with that special someone you first saw in the grocery store aisle. Just the three of you – you, your special someone and your butterflies.

— Lisa White, author of The Laws of Love

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