How Do You Really Know If You’re Falling in Love?

Falling in Love

January 15th, 2018   |   Updated on July 8th, 2022

Are you falling in love? How can you tell? There’s no question that the early stages of a relationship can be confusing. You might puzzle over your own feelings, and wonder what the person you’re dating really thinks of you. Your own emotions may be difficult to fully decipher, and trying to categorize them as falling in love or as just a passing attraction can be tricky.

The only thing better than being in love is falling in love. Everything feels new, you aren’t quite sure if it’s really love yet, and you start waiting to see who’s finally going to say it out loud first. It’s the best.

1. Thinking this one’s special

When you’re in love, you begin to think your beloved is unique. The belief is coupled with an inability to feel romantic passion for anyone else. Fisher and her colleagues believe this single-mindedness results from elevated levels of central dopamine — a chemical involved in attention and focus — in your brain.

2. Focusing on the positive

People who are truly in love tend to focus on the positive qualities of their beloved, while overlooking his or her negative traits. They also focus on trivial events and objects that remind them of their loved one, daydreaming about these precious little moments and mementos. This focused attention is also thought to result from elevated levels of central dopamine, as well as a spike in central norepinephrine, a chemical associated with increased memory in the presence of new stimuli.

3. Emotional instability

As is well known, falling in love often leads to emotional and physiological instability. You bounce between exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, trembling, a racing heart and accelerated breathing, as well as anxiety, panic and feelings of despair when your relationship suffers even the smallest setback. These mood swings parallel the behavior of drug addicts. And indeed, when in-love people are shown pictures of their loved ones, it fires up the same regions of the brain that activate when a drug addict takes a hit. Being in love, researchers say, is a form of addiction.

4. Intensifying attraction

Going through some sort of adversity with another person tends to intensify romantic attraction. Central dopamine may be responsible for this reaction, too, because research shows that when a reward is delayed, dopamine-producing neurons in the mid-brain region become more productive.

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5. You want to do things you’ve already done again so he can be there with you this time.

Time to take a return trip to the Grand Canyon so you can kiss while the sun goes down and not care how cute or gross you look — you’re in love, dammit! And you don’t care who knows.

6. You’d rather stay in and do nothing with him than go out.

“Started staying in and going out less” is your new mantra, and it’s totally OK with you.

7. Little things, like going to the grocery store, are better when he’s around.

A walk down the cereal aisle can be a very romantic date if you’re with the right person.

8. You’re not worried about “scaring him off.

ou’re comfortable enough to cry in front of him or show him huge, slightly embarrassing collection of Beanie Babies (that you swear could be worth a fortune one day), because you feel secure that he’s not going anywhere at the drop of a hat.

9. You’re comfortable with making little sacrifices for him.

You wouldn’t put off your responsibilities for him, but if he’s sick and needs you to help take care of him instead of going to brunch one morning, you’re totally cool with that.

10. You talk about things you’ll do together in the future, without realizing you’re talking about the future.

It’s not weird to talk about that concert that’s in three months or the trip you want to take to the beach this summer around him, because he’ll be around to go with you.

11. Are you tempted to say, “I love you”?

A sure sign of romantic interest, some people are more hesitant to utter these three words than others. Although people might imagine that women are the first to utter it, though, research on heterosexual couples again indicates that it’s men who are more apt to say “I love you” first (Harrison & Shortall, 2011). They also tend to fall in love faster.

12. How intense are your emotions?

People high in attachment anxiety (i.e., they question their own self-worth in relationships) tend to experience a high degree of passion when romance is budding (Sanz Cruces et al., 2015). If that’s not you, a lack of intense feeling isn’t necessarily a sign that Cupid hasn’t struck—not everyone experiences falling in love the same way. In fact, those who have avoidant attachment orientations tend to fall in love with much less intensity.

13. Are you highly motivated to be with this person?

Transitioning from a casual relationship to falling in love may have a chemical underpinning: Evidence shows that dopamine-rich areas of the brain are involved in the beginning stages of love (Fisher, Aron, & Brown, 2005); these areas are considered part of the brain’s “reward system” and serve as highly motivational. Once couples are “in love” for a while, the intensity of these emotions tends to decline and different areas of the brain, potentially more closely linked to attachment, become more active.

14. Are you suddenly doing new things?

As people fall in love, they often branch out beyond their normal range of activities and try those that their partners favor. You might find yourself trying new foods, watching new shows, or attempting new activities like running, fishing, or gambling. People who fall in love tend to report growth in the content and diversity of their own self-concepts (Aron, Paris, & Aron, 1995).

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15. Have you been especially stressed lately?

As welcome as falling in love might be, evidence links the experience with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol (Marazziti & Canale, 2004). So if you’re anxious, tense, or just plain jittery, it might be a normal response to the strain of repeated social encounters with someone whose impression matters deeply to you.

Let’s find out what other people have to say about Falling in Love on Quora:

He makes you a better person, and vice versa. He’s your best friend and you can’t imagine living without him. Read more here… By Jess Lee

The first and foremost thing that one needs to realize is that there is no universal definition of Love but in order to know the answer to this question you do need to have a definition of Love. How can you answer a question if you don’t understand a critical piece of it? Then how do you proceed? Read more here… by Anudeep Gupta

True love is a destination at the end of an infinite journey that our lifetimes are too short to complete. Perhaps when you check off all the things below (and more) then you’ve arrived at the TRUE LOVE station: I love you, not because you make me feel how I deserve to feel. Read more here… by Ellen Vrana

I struggled with this question for years. And then I had children. You know you love someone when you are willing to make sacrifices for them. I’m including all forms of love: romantic love, parental love, family love, friendship, etc. Read more here… by Thomas Antunez.

Love and infatuation are both intense emotions that one feels for another person. Infatuation is often misinterpreted as Love. But the two feelings differ in their actuality of love, intensity and final outcome. Read more here… by Upasana Debroy.

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I used to wonder the same thing… until I fell in love at 29. How do you know when a joke is funny or when something smells good? It’s intuitive. Laughter simply bounces out of your chest or you naturally go “hmmm” while tilting your nose up. It is the same way with love. One day you might be looking out of the window, running on the treadmill, shopping for groceries, holding his hand, you could be doing anything, and the thought simply comes, “I love him.” That’s how you know you’re in love. Read more here… by May Lam.

One day you meet someone under the strangest circumstances. The connection is instantaneous. Like it’s a predestined meeting. Like you’ve been together before. This person evokes the right emotions in you, in the right places. Read more here… by Meghna Srivastava.

Love is basically a state of mind. You are in love, when your logical thinking totally fails. Its the stage when you virtually become BLIND, DUMB and DEAF all at the same time. You start considering that person the best for you, which in reality may or may not be the case. Even after knowing other person’s flaws, you will still have the same feelings for them.You will find pleasure in doing even the most stupid things with them, which your logic wouldn’t have approved before. Read more here… by Shelke Madhavi.

This is another way of saying you don’t know right now. You just met the girl. You’re having sex. You love her unique smile – unique from every other smile you’ve ever been given. She gets you to do things you never thought about doing before. She gets you to laugh. She gets you to daydream about what life would be like with her, and you hate the thought of life without her. Read more here… by James Altucher.

Begin by being totally honest with yourself about who they are and who they aren’t. Watch who they are both when they’re with you and when they’re not with you…this, unfortunately takes some time – at least a few months – as people are often not who they believe or present themselves to be, and, even if they are exactly as they seem at first. MOST people are not who you initially perceive them to be OK, now the 2 “million dollar” questions. Read more here… by Will Stern

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Believe me, my perception of love might differ a lot from yours. Try not getting offended. Tell me if I’m wrong, but its not actually possible to think of a person day in and day out, so you know you are in love when you think of the person when you are in no mood to share anything with others **dont be hypocritical, you can’t think about a person “all” the frikking time. Read more here… by Musharraf Sheikh

Everything we think and feel is “just chemicals in our brain.” Sometimes those chemicals produce the states we call “love.” And chemicals (or electrical impulses) don’t “try to trick us.” They don’t try to do anything. They just exist and have certain effects on us. Read more here… by Marcus Geduld

Female and man's hands with red hearts

In his sketch book, their portraits were on page 16 and 17, apart! But when the book closed, they kissed in folds! Back in school, he would stare at her from the last bench, today, she is walking up the aisle, in a white gown, and he is still staring..from the last bench..He loved her so much to the extent of letting her go, where her happiness resides! His definition of love wasn’t confined to possession, it was way beyond that. He knew he was in love, a love which meant her happiness, without insecurities, without boundaries! Read more here… by Aasees Kaur

People seem to think “love” is some esoteric, mystical state that must be carefully studied and precisely identified. It’s really not. It’s just an emotion, like so many other emotions. So how can you tell if you’re angry? Sad? Joyful? That’s how you can tell you’re in love. Read more here… by Claire J. Vannette

Love can’t be explained , it is feeling that can just be felt. When we fall in love with anyone whether it is human being or a pet , we just indulge in them and our heart is always thinking about them no matter what mind says , even in the hardest period of life that includes work pressure. Read more here… by Sahil Bansal

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