Many people get butterflies in their stomachs and start to see stars in their eyes when they start a new relationship.
But when does the big L word show up? When do things move from being infatuated to being in love?
Though each person and their relationship will have a unique pace, research and experts say that, on average, it takes a while to fall in love with someone.
How long does it take to start to like someone?
According to YouGov and eHarmony, men take an average of 88 days (three months) to tell their partner they love them, while women take 134 days (four and a half months).
Women say “I love you” only 23% of the time after a month of dating someone, compared to 39% of men.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology looked at small undergraduate students and found the same thing. Most of the time.
- Men think about telling someone they love them 97 days into a new relationship. This is for about three months.
- In 149 days (about five months), women think about telling their partners they love them.
- One month into a relationship, men think it’s OK to say they love each other.
- Women think it’s OK to say that you love someone after six months of being together.
People don’t all fall in love at the same rate. Some people wait a long time to say, “I love you,” while others say they fell in love at first sight.
It depends on the someone and the situation for most things. Lexx Brown-James, a licensed couples’ therapist, tells mbg that it does depend on the person and the situation, too.
Love at first sight?
Love, at first sight, is something that 72% of men and 61% of women believe in. A 2004 study found almost a third of Americans say they have personally experienced it.
There’s some evidence to back up the idea that this is true: Some research says that people make up their minds about someone romantically in a matter of seconds.
Neurologically, it takes only one-fifth of a second for the neurochemical reaction that causes feelings of love to start.
But other research doesn’t believe it. A journal who studying relationships, did an experiment in 2017 where they set up a lot of first dates between single people who had never met before.
The researchers found that instant attraction can happen in a first meeting. It was love at first sight for some people, but they didn’t report feeling intimate, passionate, or committed to their new love at all.
Physical attractiveness was the most important predictor of having a “love at first sight” experience.
It’s important to know the different stages of love.
Three stages of love are said to be in the making by behavioral anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D. She says that these three stages are:
Lust: You have a strong desire for both physical and sexual pleasure.
Attraction: You think about the person all the time, want to be around them all the time, and feel a mix of electricity and nervousness when you’re together.
Attachment: You feel secure and close to your partner, with feelings of deep love, trust, and happiness.
Signs that you’re in love:
- You feel like you have a strong connection to this person.
- There’s a lot more leaving on than just physical attraction. There’s also a strong emotional bond.
- Those jittery butterfly feelings aren’t as strong as they were before. Instead, you feel a warm, steady sense of well-being when you’re with this person.
- The reason you try to help them isn’t that you want them to like you. They should be happy.
- You care about this person’s well-being even if you don’t stay together.
- Take care of this person and make sure they don’t get hurt.
- People with this person make you feel alive and full. They make you feel like the person you are.
- This person’s inner world makes you want to learn more about them right now.
- You want to improve yourself.
- A long-term or future relationship with this person may be on your mind at the moment.
- You don’t care about the risks of getting to know this person more.
- There’s not enough to say.
How to make someone fall in love:
Don’t stress it out
You can’t make somebody drop in love with you, and it’s important not to make them do it before they’re ready. If I consisted you, I wouldn’t try to do things to speed things up, Brown-James says.
Brown-James says that this can quickly become fake and unsustainable. When one person thinks that they deserve love because of how they act, it can feel like a betrayal.
Prepare to be vulnerable.
Try the 36 questions to fall in love, a research-based experiment that many couples say has helped them feel closer.
Those questions and my desire to make someone fall in love taught me that being vulnerable is the best way to build a strong relationship, Brown-James says.
One part of falling in love is sharing very private parts of yourself with the other person, to be truly open and vulnerable with each other. This is one way to fall in love.
Grow your emotional bond
Having an emotional connection with someone means that you can connect with them on a deeper level than just having fun, being attracted to each other, or agreeing on many things.
Being emotionally connected means that you can rely on each other, feel seen by each other, and have feelings of romantic attachment with each other, among many other things.
Even though you can’t make a person fall in love with you, you can think of ways to make your relationship stronger as a pair