There is a general belief that you need to know a person before actually falling in love.
The problem is that people don't exactly know how long it takes them to fall in love. They don't know even if they are capable of it. Each individual may find the experience to be different.
So, how long does it take to fall in love? And what are the signs you are falling in love?
Let's take a look at what science has to say.
How Long Does It Take To Fall In Love? A Detailed Answer
Falling in love is a complicated and individualized process, with stages that vary from relationship to relationship. It’s a mix of physiological, psychological, and behavioral processes.
Contrary to mainstream belief, Dion and Dion (1979) and Harrison and Shortall (2011) report that men fall in and profess love faster than women. Men said they only need a few weeks up to a few months before saying the famous "I love you" line. On the other hand, women took longer -a few months- to determine whether they were in love and whether the feeling was mutual.
A 2013 study found that men require 88 days to fall in love and say it to their loved ones. Women are more relaxed with their sentiments. According to the study, women fall in love in 134 days on average (hey, what's the rush?). But according to Ingrid Collins, men are also quicker to fall out of love.
What about love at first sight?
Men are also keener toward believing in love at first sight strongly than women. An EliteSingles poll discovered that 72 percent of men thought they found the person they were destined to love at first sight. However, only 61 percent of women believed the same.
Are There People Who Often Fall in Love?
The idea of falling in love fast and often may sound exciting and romantic, but sometimes it may also have a dark side. You may fall in love frequently and find yourself quickly attracted to others.
At the same time, you tend to ignore red relationship flags. You seem to for the "wrong" types of people that might take advantage of your infatuation.
This phenomenon is known as emophilia. People diagnosed with emophilia go in and out of relationships drawn by the feeling of happiness and excitement. However, studies have shown that they overlook negative personality traits (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) and tend to be attracted to individuals bearing them.
There is also gender distinction. Male emophiliacs are likely to engage in physical relationships, while women are more likely to pursue emotional ones. Dr. Persuad and Dr. Brugen report that female emophiliacs have higher divorce rates than male counterparts.
When Do People Fall In Love?
"We make love when we recognize in another person the qualities we desire for ourselves and believe we can’t attract these qualities into our own lives," says Leonard Shlain, bestselling author of "The Alphabet Versus the Goddesses." "We love someone for committing to love us and selflessly lovingly improving us.”
Aron et al. (1989) found that attraction between people happens when we see people completing a series of desired qualities that we also have. Those qualities include the following:
- Reciprocal liking
- Similarity: Attraction is likely to happen between persons who share similar beliefs, personality traits, and mindsets.
- Desirable characteristics: Attraction is more likely to occur between persons who meet specific criteria, primarily in terms of appearance and personality traits.
- Propinquity: Attraction emerges as a result of familiarity. The concept includes thinking about a particular person, spending time with them, living near them, and looking forward to keeping in contact with them.
- Filling needs: If we think that a person can fulfill our personal needs, we are more likely to marry them.
- Social influences: The acceptance of the relationship by our circle of family, friends, and community can influence our feelings. Feeling that our relationship is in line with social norms and our social network contributes to holding on to our bond of love. On the other hand, lacking such support can develop lesser feelings.
Falling in love is also dependent on the following variables:
- Mystery: Something unknown about the other person and uncertainty about how they feel about us make us attracted to them.
- Isolation: Spending time alone with our love interest.
- Readiness: The higher the desire to start a relationship with a significant other, the lower our self-esteem is.
- Specific cues: These would be peculiarities of another person, such as their facial features or body shape.
- Arousal/unusualness: Dangerous or unusual environment can spark interest in another person.
What You Feel When Falling In Love
Nothing compares to that first time you meet someone and instantly realize you are head over heels for them. The mystery, intrigue, and just-right physical chemistry are all there to experience when you fall in love.
There are three feelings involved in falling in love: euphoria, endangerment, and exhaustion due to the first two.
Studies say that the feeling of euphoria in the initial rollercoaster of love at first sight is caused by hormones. As they note, serotonin or 5-HT transporter might "mediate more enduring and romantic forms of love, characterized by obsessive preoccupations about the partner and, consequently, a greater likelihood of bonding and faithfulness to the relationship.”
Dr. Khoshaba surmises that endangerment is next to follow. Engaging in a relationship can make us anxious. We are diving into the unknown and experimental recipes of love. And this form of anxiety can lead us to make choices that we find unpleasant subconsciously.
Related: Why do I love my boyfriend so much
This pattern of obsessive tendencies, driven by our mind and realized as chemical imbalances, storming our hearts and destabilizing our thoughts, results in exhaustion.
In a similar vein, Dr. Fisher's study reported similarities between people who've fallen in love and drug addicts. As she explains, both categories displayed the same symptoms: anxiety, losing sleep, lack of appetite, personality changes, mood swings, extreme happiness, obsession, withdrawal symptoms, and relapse.
The brain scans have confirmed Dr.Fisher’s findings. They detected activity in the part of the brain associated with anxiety in people who’d recently fallen in love.
12 Signs You Are Falling in Love
If you are wondering whether you are falling in love or not, here are some signs that might help you decide.
1. You Think About Them All The Time
You wonder what they're doing, what they’re thinking, and if they're doing well. There's a genuine desire to be with them, and a sense of anxiety kicks in when thinking they are far away.
2. You Want To Try Things They Like
We are keen on trying new things to make our crush love us. There can be a whole new set of interests and hobbies shared with you, if not over specific topics. There are very high odds you'll try new foods, go on a date to an unusual place, or indulge in swimming, hiking, or running.
3. You Wonder Whether They Like You
You have found the answer to "how long you need to fall in love.” But it doesn't hurt to ask what it takes for the person you like to reciprocate the feeling. What are some things to look for when you want to know if your partner likes you back?
There are 40 signs to help you decide if they like you. If they are eager to respond to your texts and check on you regularly, you have nothing to worry about.
4. You Try To Make Them Feel Happy
The person you’re with makes you excited, and you care about them more and more every day. You want to know what makes them happy. Once you do, you find yourself doing anything for them so that you can make it happen.
Related: Love letters for him that make him cry
5. You Try To Make Relationship Work
Falling in love is an amazing experience as you find a person who makes you feel things you haven't felt in a long time.
However, different opinions on small things can drive a wedge between the two. Once a person falls in love, they always want to make the relationship work. One of the things they do is compromise or give in to their partner's demands.
6. You Are Interested In Their Wellbeing
You genuinely care about them and their well-being. You want to understand, support, and help improve their life, even if you fall out of love. Often you'd do anything to avoid hurting them, and you feel protective of them.
7. You Are Overjoyed To Be With Them
Being with the person you like makes you feel energetic and ready to reach for the stars. You're happy just to be in their presence and can't wait to see them again.
Related: 100 reasons I love you
8. You Overlook The Risks Of Starting A Relationship
The risk of falling in love might feel worth it, as you don't know what you'd do without them. You put a lot into the relationship and expect to build a life with someone you love and experience something special.
Related: How soon is too soon to move in together
9. You Idealize Them
Studies found that "individuals' impressions of their partners were more a mirror of their self-images and ideals than a reflection of their partners' self-reported attributes. Overall, intimates saw their partners in a more positive light than their partners saw themselves."
Naturally, respondents reported feeling happy in such relationships.
10. You Are Constantly On The Phone
Is she going to text me soon? What is taking her so long?
Waiting for your romantic interest to text or respond may seem like an eternity. You wonder every five minutes or so if they are going to respond. All of this anxiety and stress can take a toll on you, but they are a clear sign of your interest in a potential relationship.
Related: How to flirt over text
11. You Can't Stop Smiling
Your friends must've told you that you look like an idiot smiling all the time. However, people feel happiness from falling in love. It's your body's way of letting you know you are happy.
You know that eventually, the effects of falling in love will lessen, but until then, you feel euphoria, happiness, relief, and excitement. In principle, there's nothing wrong in grinning like a Cheshire cat.
12. You Think About Being in Bed with Them All the Time
You can't stop thinking about your lover when you've fallen in love. There's the urge to be close to that person. You fantasize about how amazing it will be to be intimate with them.
In reality, this desire is no different from the instinct of giving in to a need to eat and drink.
Craving and feeling the need to sleep with the person you have fallen in love with is an almost biological impulse. As stated earlier, falling in love increases our testosterone and dopamine levels. The release of these hormones causes some of us to act more like animals, wired for elated and euphoric moments.
A person often falls in love in a short time. It's not uncommon to find oneself in a whirlwind of emotions, letting one's guard down and often being blinded to the fact that these feelings are unlike anything one's ever experienced before.
Falling in love is an emotional roller coaster as we constantly have highs and lows. In love, we are flooded with bliss and euphoria, but at the same time, we have heartaches and worries.
Many people don’t understand when they are falling in love, how long it takes, and how soon. Many of them are shy to ask questions, which only adds to the confusion.
This article gives an answer to these questions and others. To help people understand the topic better, they will find information on different love issues and how they can help identify the feelings of falling in love.
Nicole Graham is a relationship expert at Womenio.com. She is helping women grow into their best selves so they can be confident and bring more love, passion, and purpose to their lives. Nicole enjoys studying the psychology of love and is passionate about writing on them. She offers helpful tips and advice to help overcome any relationship issue, whether you’re single or already in a relationship.
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