How Long Does It Take Men And Women To Fall In Love?

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You have a crush on someone, and your feelings have evolved. But how long does it take to fall in love? You must be wondering when things will move on from here. Well, it depends from person to person and their bond.

For instance, some might fall in love at very first sight, while others may experience a long journey. Keep reading this post as we take you to the different stages of falling in love and how much time most men and women might take.

How Long Does It Take To Fall In Love?

There is no set timeline for falling in love. It could vary from person to person depending on numerous factors. Things such as a person’s age, personality, background, relationship history, gender, and time spent with each other can impact the time taken to fall in love with someone. However, some research has been done in this field, which may give you an idea about the general timeframe. Read on to find out more.

How Long Does It Take Men To Fall In Love?

While falling in love depends on several individual factors, according to a paper published in the Journal of Social Psychology, men take the plunge sooner than women.

Since men tend to overestimate women’s interest in them, they also fall in love more often, states another study published in Evolutionary Psychology. The study further found that about 27 percent of undergraduate men claimed to have fallen in love within four dates instead of only 15 percent of the women. Men also seem to believe more in “love at first sight” and tend to show higher instances of love at first sight than women. While there is a common belief that women are more likely to confess love first, the facts paint a different picture.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology indicates that men tend to confess their love faster than women. The research states that men consider expressing their love after dating for 97 days and believe it is acceptable to confess their feelings within a month of dating. It has also been found that, on average, men first deliberated conveying their romantic feelings six weeks earlier compared to women.

How Long Does It Take Women To Fall In Love?

Women generally tend to be more cautious compared to men in this department. They usually take their time, assessing their partner and getting to know them better. As a result, they might take longer to fall in love.

As per the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology survey, women think about confessing love after being in a romantic relationship for about five months and  deem it acceptable to express love only after dating for six months.

However, women who have strong sex drives are more prone to falling in love. This correlation does not apply to men.

This difference between men and women in the aspect of falling in love could be because women need more time to be sure about a partner, and they probably wait for a more profound emotional connection with their date before they fall in love.

What Other Factors Impact The Duration Of Falling In Love?

Apart from gender, a few other factors can impact the time taken to fall in love. Let’s explore them in detail.

1. Personality and outlook

Some people with certain personality types fall in love easily.

  • Risk-takers and spontaneous individuals may throw caution to the wind, falling in love quickly. However, cautious and reserved personalities may think it through before falling for someone.
  • Individuals who see the brighter side of everything trust quickly, and hence, may fall hard and fast for someone. On the other hand, those who overthink everything may need time to give that person their heart.
  • Those who have experienced neglect may crave love and hence, choose to tumble quickly in love or may find it challenging to trust someone and fall in love.

2. Age

It is rightly said that experience makes a person wiser. As we grow older, our previous experiences and heartbreaks make us more cautious about trusting someone completely. However, when you are young, it is easy to lose yourself in the intensity of the feelings and fall in love quickly.

3. Past relationships

If you are each other’s first romantic partners, you are likely to fall in love quickly. Those who have been badly hurt in previous relationships tend to become more jaded. For instance, those who have been cheated on in the past would not trust someone easily. Such people have an iron grip over their feelings and take things slowly and cautiously. They wouldn’t want to be hurt again, and going slow is their way of retaining control and protecting themselves.

4. Development of the relationship

Sometimes, a friendship may progress into something more. For example, when you see someone often, you may slowly realize the person has the qualities you were looking for and could be the one. This may cause you to fall for them sooner rather than later. However, sometimes, the opposite can happen. There might be an initial spark, but as you get to know the person better, you might not like who they are.

5. Emotional intelligence

People with higher EQ may connect with others more efficiently, and thus, they may fall in love faster. A person with higher EQ would often understand that they are falling in love as they know their own emotions and feelings. On the other hand, a person with lower EQ might not interpret their feelings or the signs given by the other person correctly, thus taking longer to realize they are in love.

Stages Of Falling In Love

If you are wondering whether you are falling for a person, knowing about the different stages of love can be helpful.

1. Realization

Irrespective of whether you have known the person for a long time or have just met them, your thoughts about the person begin to shift in the first stage of love. You start seeing the person in a whole new light. Suddenly, that person is not just a friend or someone you know; they are much more. The person becomes the center of your focus, and you realize you like them. You have now officially begun the journey of falling in love.

2. Constant thoughts

In the next stage, your mind starts wandering to that person more often. You find yourself smiling, remembering something they said. Their thoughts intrude on your mind when you least expect them. You may be just going about your typical day, but something happens, making you think about them. Suddenly, you can’t wait to share all the exciting events about your life with them, hoping to see them smile.

As the days pass, these thoughts may increase in frequency. As a result, you might find yourself getting distracted at work, forgetting important tasks, and losing sleep because of your preoccupation with the object of your affection.

3. Clarity

In this stage, you start knowing the person better. You unveil all the aspects of their personality. Every piece of information you uncover may make them seem more appealing to you. The way they touch their hair when nervous, the crinkling of their eyes when they smile—all things make them more endearing to you.

In the process of knowing them, you may find out their flaws as well. For instance, they might make a snorting sound while they laugh or have an unconventional dressing style. However, even their most annoying traits will seem cute to you.

4. Ambiguity, anticipation, and awkwardness

At this stage, you are aware you want to get into a relationship with the person but do not know what the person feels. This leads to a feeling of uncertainty and anticipation. You start overanalyzing their every action to assess whether they reciprocate your feelings.

Whenever they offer you a compliment or say something nice, you start feeling that they like you too, but when they don’t do something you expected or pay you less attention, you assume the worst.

With your growing feelings for them and ambiguity about their feelings, you start feeling self-conscious around them. The smallest of things become big worries. Thoughts such as “Did I laugh too loudly? “Is my hair a mess?” “Was that a wrong thing to say?” might be a common occurrence at this stage.

5. Excitement and hypomania

The world suddenly starts feeling brighter, and you start seeing all the beauty around you. It may feel like all the happiness in the world is suddenly at your feet, and every love song you hear might seem more relatable somehow.

With the excitement, there is also excess energy. You may find it difficult to sleep or eat. It is common to experience flushing, stuttering, racing heartbeat, trembling, and sweating when the object of your affection is around you.

6. Jealousy and longing

At this stage, you start becoming possessive about the person. You want a chance to make them yours, and so, even the whiff of another potential suitor circling them can send you into a fit of jealousy. There is an underlying fear that the person may reject you, and this makes you hold on to them more tightly.

You might resort to subtly warning off other prospects and discreetly checking the person’s phone and social media to understand if they are interested in anyone else. Since you still have no idea what the other person feels, it is natural to feel an intense longing to be with them.

7. Helplessness and resignation

All this time, you are thinking with your emotions. The feelings you have are too intense for you to think logically. You are fixated on that person, and if they rebuff you in any manner, you may immediately feel dejected. However, as time passes, the fixation will slowly reduce.

Your logical brain will take over and curb any irrational tendencies. While the hope to be with the person will still be alive, you will be prepared for the worst-case scenario. It does not mean your feelings for the person will reduce; you will handle it more maturely.

8. Climax

Finally, you will reach a stage wherein you will own up to your emotions and confess your love to the person or decide to keep them a secret. Sometimes, you fear the person will react negatively, and you are scared to jeopardize any existing relationship you have with them. Some don’t want to seem desperate or needy, so they wait for the person to make a move or give them a sign.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does love affect the brain?

Love stimulates areas of the brain associated with reward. It creates a surge of neurotransmitter, dopamine, and other chemicals of the reward circuit in the brain that participates in the feelings of pleasure and focused attention. It also heightens the motivation to pursue and acquire rewards (1).

2. What is love at first sight?

“Love at first sight” is an expression to describe an instant feeling of connection at the very glimpse of a person. It may mean falling in love with a person at the first meeting. However, the feeling may not always be mutual.

Falling in love is a subjective concept influenced by several factors such as personality, age, and emotional intelligence of a person. It also depends on a person’s background, time spent with the partner, and gender. So, the answer to how long it takes to fall in love may be different for different people. However, statistics show that men may fall in love more often and believe in love at first sight, while women need more time to assess their partner before falling in love. That said, there is no specific rule for falling in love. Every person is unique, and so is their journey of love.

Key Pointers

  • A person’s age, past relationships, personality, other circumstances, etc., determine the time to fall in love with the other person.
  • It is believed that men may take longer than women to fall in love.
  • The stages of falling in love are realization, constant thoughts, clarity, awkwardness, excitement, jealousy, helplessness, and climax.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Marissa A. Harrison and Jennifer C. Shortall (2010). Women and Men in Love: Who Really Feels It and Says It First?
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.2010.522626?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=vsoc20
  2. Andrew Galperin (2010). Predictors of How Often and When People Fall in Love.
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/147470491000800102
  3. Joshua M. Ackerman et al. (2011). Let’s Get Serious: Communicating Commitment in Romantic Relationships.
    http://assets.csom.umn.edu/assets/165677.pdf
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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship... more

Bharat Sharma

(DCA, MPCC, RPC, CCAC, SAP)
Bharat Sharma is a qualified Integrative Psychotherapist in Alberta, Canada, currently working as the director at Edmonton Counseling Services. A Master Practitioner in Clinical Counseling, Canadian Certified Clinical Supervisor, and Qualified Substance Abuse Professional, Sharma believes that the mind, body, and soul are intrinsically connected. Therefore, he practices integrative therapy that involves the entire human experience, Mind, Body, and Soul. ... more

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