How do you know when you’re falling in love? How long does it take?
We asked experts, “How long does it take to fall in love with someone?”
Below are the signs you should look out for.
Licensed Psychotherapist | Relationship Coach | Divorce Mediator
Relationships go through stages
The first stage is that dizzying/intense time that lasts approximately 3 months, depending on how often people see one another and how much time they spend together.
At the end of this stage, the individuals make a decision to continue or not. If they do continue, the chemicals that create the euphoric feelings change into ones associated with bonding.
This is when real attachment begins.
The next stage is a deepening of this bond that allows them to see their differences, disagree, and even go through some conflict.
It is usually at this point that people know they are really in love with this person. They see their faults, are aware of the issues they will face if they move forward, but the attachment and feelings are strong enough that they don’t want to be without them.
All this being said, there are long-married/attached couples who “fell in love at first sight.” They just knew, and yes, this is possible.
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However, what they are feeling are those powerful attraction chemicals only as they have no knowledge of or experience with this person. But as they get to know them deeper, the bond does grow and they fall into commitment.
Relationship and Sex Expert
There isn’t a set amount of time it takes to fall in love
Each person’s journey is different. The key is to know the difference between love and lust. Love and lust can burn at the same temperature, so it can be difficult to tell them apart.
So the more pressing question, in my mind, is how to know you’re in love, and not in lust, rather than how long it takes to fall in love.
How to know the difference? A few thoughts.
One, is there only a desire to have sex? Is the attraction mainly physical?
Sex is important, but if it’s not accompanied by any sort of deeper connection, that’s a red flag. Which leads to the second thought.
What are the conversations like? Are they substantive or superficial? When discussing the future, does the person of your affection include you in it?
Not every conversation needs to be a philosophical discourse. But a sign that its love is a sense that a bond is forming. Think of it as emotional adhesive being applied rather than scotch tape.
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Three, does the person want to introduce you to his or her family?
This might be the clearest sign that its love and not lust. Introducing you to the family is a signal to everyone important in his or her life that, yes, this may “the one.”
Four, the desire to spend time with one another outside the bedroom is paramount.
People in the throes of lust want to spend their time together ripping one another’s clothes off. People falling in love want to enjoy each other’s company outside the bedroom. A solid friendship blooms in conjunction with true romance.
To summarize, there isn’t a set time to fall in love. The thing to be aware of is whether it’s love and not lust.
It takes whatever amount of time it takes
As a relationship therapist, this is a topic that comes up for my dating singles who are seeing someone, but perhaps not sure if they should have fallen in love with them at a certain point.
The answer to your question is that it takes whatever amount of time it takes.
I fell in love with my wife within the first 20 minutes of meeting her. I just knew that she was “the one”. We’ve been married for over 25 years and have three children.
For others, it may not happen as quickly. You might be plutonic friends with someone for a period of time – it could be months or years – and then you begin to realize that they mean something much more to you – and you find that you are falling in love with them.
Uma Alexandra Beepat
Intuitive Dating Consultant | Metaphysical Teacher | Speaker | Owner, Lotus Wellness Center
It varies from person to person
The time varies but in my experience, it varies until these three things are established:
When someone consistently shows up for me in small and large ways, it creates trust within me towards them. That trust further allows me to open my heart and in doing so, a deeper attraction is felt or what can be called love.
In this day and age, most of us have been in and out of relationships so the heartbreak baggage is with us. We are not stoic or cold, we are just, cautious to love again.
After being hurt for the zillionth time, when a new person comes along with the bells and whistles, it is easy to keep our heart closed until we can trust them. In giving trust, we allow that heart to open.
Many times in the honeymoon period of a relationship, we are more focused on playing nice than being comfortable.
This small amount of “fake behavior” is out of respect for the new person in our life, but because we aren’t acting completely like ourselves, we and the other person may not entirely open up to the connection.
I find in relationships after the honeymoon period has passed, we tend to let down our guards, unbutton that top button and belch a little louder; all things that make your partner know that you are comfortable with them and this, in turn, make them comfortable with you.
Its when couples find something irresistible in their partner and everyone else is like “huh?” That’s love coming from a warm, squishy place in the heart when comfort sets in.
Most times people think of falling in love as fast, passionate, erratic and chaotic.
Umm no! This is more infatuation or lust!
Love comes with trust, comfort, and consistency. When someone completely shows up for you time and time again, it allows the heart to open up and share love freely. We believe this person loves us and in turn, we want to love them too.
Certified LoveLife Coach | Founder, LoveQuest Coaching
I’m often asked is there such a thing as love at first sight and since a lot of the work I do is rooted in attraction, I absolutely believe attraction cannot be denied.
However, love is a whole other story.
When we are attracted to someone it’s primal. When we love someone, it’s a conscious decision.
We often meet people or “swipe right” then once we spend time with them we realize we either aren’t interested or can absolutely fall in love.
Once someone determines they can fall in love with another the next decision is allowing it.
We also must factor in self-worth. People who are more codependent and seek affirmation and validation in others tend to fall in love quicker.
They’re more interested in the idea of love than the real deal. When a person is open to falling in love and then meets a person they really find interesting with much in common, they are likely to fall in love quicker because they are open to doing so.
Other people who are just dating to see what may come and are a bit mistrusting or jaded will be more closed, taking longer to fall in love (if they do at all).
It’s really more about the decision. That decision affects our energy which determines what we attract.
If you’re looking for true love and are open to finding it and believe it’s on its way then your chances are greater that you’ll attract someone to fall in love with and it won’t take long.
If I had to put a number on it I would say a person knows if they could love the person they’re with by the 3rd date or after 12 hours of being around them.
They may feel as if they could love them which is what inspires them to keep seeing them but by around 2 months people open to falling in love either fall or they leave the relationship if they still don’t know.
The average number of dates it takes to fall in love is 12
We’ve interviewed many couples on our show as well as offline and the average number of dates it takes to fall in love is 12.
But that’s very different for everyone of course since everyone falls in love differently. So besides quantifying it, we’ve also recognized some patterns.
These are the dates that have to happen before someone falls in love:
- a grocery/domestic run (to Bed Bath & Beyond or to Whole Foods for example)
- a vacation
- something new together (trying out a dance class or finding a new hiking trail)
- an intentional hang out with friends (camping trip, weekend getaway, a day trip to wine country).
With most of the couples we’ve interviewed, when asked: “when did you know you were in love?”.
The answer was often a defining moment such as “after I saw the way he treated my friends with such kindness,” or “after we got lost on the hike and we brainstormed ways to get back,” or “after I knew she had my back when I was laid off.”
Dating and Relationship Coach | Author, “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60!“
Falling in love is a process that has no end, but it can begin within seconds of meeting someone
However, true love is about uncovering qualities, character traits, beliefs and values of an individual. That takes time and a commitment to getting to know the person on a deeper and deeper level.
Rushing the process usually results in misunderstandings, disappointments and a failure to really know who your partner is.
Personally, I believe we can never know a partner until we see them when they’re sick, distressed, or coping with a real-life challenge. That’s when their authentic self comes out and you see your partner as they are, not the facade they present in the early stages of the relationship.
Yoga teacher | Writer, You Choose the Way
Love, just like people comes in all shapes and sizes
We have first loves, loves we hold onto forever, holiday loves and even our love/hate relationships that we just can’t shake ourselves free from.
That’s what makes love so exciting. It has no defined shape, norm or format.
You can spend your life saying that you don’t believe in love at first sight, then one day unexpectedly, it happens.
You walk into a café and see them from across the room. Your heart flutters as though you’ve just seen a ghost. A ghost might have seemed even more likely to you than this. Without warning, just like that, in the blink of an eye, you’ve fallen in love.
Falling in love can happen in an instant or can take years of a comforting friendship to miraculously take place.
There is no rule, there is no average and there certainly isn’t a limited time window. It can happen in a second or as long as a lifetime.
Patricia Vosburgh, PSA, RENE, CPPS, GRI
Falling in love can happen quickly or take years
I am married 5 years now but met my husband in 2009. I had no interest in dating but I did want to find out more about him.
I took several of his photography classes and saw how he treated others. He was extremely kind, patient and fun. I felt very comfortable around him and he asked me to go on a picnic on the beach. I could really see myself falling for him and “knew” he was going to be the one.
We started dating in 2010 and immediately we were attached at the hip. We loved to have adventures together and enjoy our quiet time together as well. I found myself falling in love with him pretty quickly.
In September of 2010, I had to have thyroid surgery and needed to have someone with me. He came to my townhome and basically never left. I was so happy that the decision was made and our relationship grew even stronger.
We married in May 2013 and we celebrate our Love and our Life every day. Feeling comfortable around someone and knowing what you want is vital to a successful relationship. Being on the same page is number one as well. We truly fell for each other right away and are so blessed.
- Get professional counseling from a licensed therapist.
- Individual and couples counseling. Anytime, anywhere.