Falling in love is a wonderful feeling, especially if it is with the right person. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know whether you are just experiencing lust or if you are truly falling for someone.
Learning the signs, you’re falling in love can help you to determine whether your relationship is the real deal or just a fling.
How long does it take to fall in love?
Before jumping into love signs, it can be helpful to discuss how long it takes to fall in love.
In actuality, it is difficult to answer this question, as there is no set timeline for falling in love. Some people may fall in love more quickly than others, so it is really impossible to say how long it will take you to fall in love.
What we do know is that in the beginning stages of a relationship, people may have intense feelings of passion and infatuation for their partners, but these feelings are more indicative of lust rather than love. Love develops over time as trust, and a deeper connection builds between two people in a relationship.
While it is difficult to say just exactly how long it takes to fall in love, research does give a general idea of the typical length of time it takes for two people to develop feelings of love.
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that in relationships where a couple has not yet had sex, men find that it is acceptable to say, “I love you” about one month into a relationship, whereas women find it acceptable to utter these words after a little longer than two to three months.
On the other hand, when a couple has already had sex, both men and women find that it is acceptable to say, “I love you” a little after the two to the three-month mark. So, as a general guideline, within a few months, people may begin to fall in love and express these feelings.
When talking about the signs you’re falling in love, it is important to understand that the process of falling in love occurs in stages.
According to marriage expert Dr. John Gottman, these are the three stages that occur when people fall in love:
This is that initial intoxicating stage of falling in love, during which hormones flow through the body as two people realize their attraction for each other.
Love signs during this stage involve a preoccupation with your partner, as well as physical symptoms like flushing when you are with him or her.
You may begin to talk about your plans for a future together, and you will desire to know everything about each other. As you enjoy experiences with your partner during this stage, you will begin to bond and form a sense of closeness and trust.
2. Building trust
While you and your partner may begin to develop trust for each other during the limerence stage of love, during the building trust stage, this trust has to be earned.
The lust and passion that were prominent during the limerence stage may begin to fade, so you and your partner will encounter rough patches in the relationship that require you to overcome fears, doubts, and feelings of annoyance toward each other.
You can build trust and overcome these feelings by demonstrating to each other that you value the relationship and are committed to it. This requires you to prioritize your partner and, at times, make sacrifices for the best interests of the other person.
3. Building commitment and loyalty
During this final stage of love, couples have to learn to cherish each other and appreciate what they have in the relationship.
People fall in love for different reasons, depending upon what they are attracted to and what their preferences are. From a physiological standpoint, the release of hormones and brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can intensify our feelings toward our partners and cause us to fall in love.
For example, science shows that the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine increases feelings of pleasure associated with romantic love, which can cause us to fall for our partners.
It also helps us to develop an attachment to our partners, leading to lasting love. In addition, oxytocin increases bonding with our partner and makes sex more enjoyable, which can help us to fall in love.
30 Signs you’re for falling in love with your person
If you feel that you are falling for someone and want to determine how do you know you love someone, consider the following 30 signs you’re falling in love:
1. Wishing for the other person’s happiness
Love involves a certain degree of setting aside your own needs and wants from time to time in order to do what is best for the other person.
If you simply want them to be happy, even if it means sometimes making sacrifices, this is one of the top signs you’re in love.
2. Experiencing physical symptoms
In the early stages of falling in love, you are likely to feel physical symptoms in response to the surge of hormones and neurotransmitters in your body.
These bodily reactions can lead you to experience sweaty palms, a racing heart, and flushed cheeks when around your partner. This can help you to understand what does love feels like from a physical standpoint.
3. New hobbies
Part of love is learning to enjoy new things together, so when you fall in love, you are likely to find that you are taking part in your partner’s hobbies and actually enjoying them.
Trying new things with your significant other can also help you to keep the spark alive as the relationship progresses.
4. Higher pain tolerance
It may seem hard to believe, but when you meet the person of your dreams, one of the signs you’re in love is that you have a high pain tolerance or perhaps do not feel any pain at all.
You may become so consumed by your passion for your significant other that you do not notice feelings like pain.
5. Attraction to their quirks
We all have little habits that some people may find annoying, but one of the signs of falling in love is that you find your partner’s quirks to be attractive or cute, even if you would normally find these qualities to be annoying in a person.
6. Infatuation with their scent
When you fall in love, you will find the scent of your significant other’s perfume, cologne, or favorite body wash to be absolutely intoxicating.
You will love it when they leave their smell on your sheets, or they leave a piece of clothing that smells like them at your house.
7. Constant thoughts of them
When your partner is constantly on your mind, this is one of the key signs of being in love.
Whether you’re thinking about something you want to tell them later or how they might react to a movie or a joke, this shows they are incredibly important to you.
8. They’re your go-to person
When something happens, whether it’s an exciting promotion at work or something unfortunate like the loss of a friend or loved one, your significant other will be the first person you want to tell once you begin falling in love.
While it sounds crazy, when you’re in love, you can crave your partner just like you might crave your favorite food.
This is because of the rush of pleasure that dopamine gives you when you are with your partner.
19. Loss of interest in other attractive people
Among the signs of being in love is losing interest in other potential mates.
Whereas you may be tempted by other attractive people when you aren’t in love, once you are falling for someone, you will be so focused on them that you won’t be concerned about keeping your options open.
20. It simply feels right
When you have found the one, you probably won’t have to do much questioning because you will feel in your gut that, “This is love.”
21. You care about what they think of you
If you’re in love, you will want to know whether your partner loves you too and whether they feel as positively about you as you do about them.
22. Feeling better about yourself
The confidence boost that comes from being with someone you love can make you feel more capable and increase your self-esteem.
You may begin trying new things or challenging yourself in new ways simply because your view of yourself has improved.
23. Becoming more like your partner
When you are falling in love, you will respect your partner’s traits, interests, and preferences and even start to take on some of them as your own.
For example, if your partner is an especially calm person, you may notice that you become calmer. Or, maybe you were someone who never enjoyed being active, but now you are spending every day at the gym because your partner is a fitness fanatic.
24. Friends noticing the relationship
If your friends mention that you’re spending an awful lot of time with your significant other, or they comment that the two of you seem to be getting serious, the chances are that you are falling in love.
Friends may even complain that you have started to ignore them or spend little time with them because you are so wrapped up in your newfound love.
25. Being unable to imagine a future without them
As previously mentioned, talk of the future is common when two people fall in love, but if you’ve taken this a step further and simply cannot imagine living life down the road without them, this is one of the key signs you’re in love.
26. Being unable to sleep
When we fall in love, we might be so excited about life and consumed by thoughts of our partner that we take longer to fall asleep at night.
Falling in love can lead to a feeling of elation that simply makes it difficult to settle down and get some rest.
27. Curiosity about your partner
The early stages of a relationship, which are mostly characterized by lust or a strong physical attraction, may not necessarily be love.
On the other hand, when things move past physical attraction, and you begin to become curious about your partner, their interests, and what makes them tick, you are likely falling in love.
28. Caring about what their friends think of you
When you are falling in love, you will want to make a good impression on important people in your partner’s life, including their friends.
29. Valuing their happiness
When you are falling for someone, their happiness will become extremely important to you. In fact, you may even have a hard time being happy yourself if you know that they are upset.
30. You want to say, “I love you”
If you’ve reached a point that you want to utter those three magic words to your partner, this is a pretty clear sign that you’re falling in love.
If you are recognizing some love signs in your relationship and want to show love to your partner, or perhaps find out if your partner also loves you, you are likely to be curious about what to do when you’re in love.
The reality is that we all show love in different ways.
We all have our own love language. Some people show love by giving gifts, whereas others express it through verbal praise.
If you are wondering how to show love to your partner or how you can determine whether they love you, look for signs that they are making an effort for you. When we love someone, we give parts of ourselves to that person, even when it requires sacrifice.
You and your partner may show love in different ways, but if you are showing up for each other and going out of your way to make the other happy, the chances are that you are falling in love.
Remember, there are numerous ways to tell someone you love them, whether it is through words or acts of kindness.
Check out this video for some interesting ideas:
Why do some people have an easier time loving than others?
If you have a difficult time falling in love, it may just be that you have a harder time with this than other people do.
Perhaps you have been hurt in past relationships, or maybe you didn’t have a good example of what love looked like when you were growing up, so the concept is rather intimidating to you. In this case, you may ask yourself, “Is it normal to be scared when falling in love?”
If you have had bad experiences with love in the past, it can be entirely normal to be fearful of love.
Also, keep in mind that falling in love is different than maintaining love over the long term. Sometimes, falling in love happens rather naturally, but keeping love alive requires effort, as loving someone is actually an intentional act.
It requires putting someone first, prioritizing their happiness, and taking time out of your day to ensure that you are meeting their needs within a relationship. This level of effort can be difficult for some people, but it is worthwhile when you have found your person.
Falling in love can be a remarkable feeling. You may experience butterflies in your stomach and intense feelings of passion as you bond with your significant other.
This is because your body is actually undergoing a chemical reaction to this person as you grow closer to them. If you notice any of these signs of being in love, take time to enjoy this feeling, and remember that maintaining this sort of love requires sacrifice and intentional acts of love toward your partner.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.