You may have had friends who say that they fell in love a couple of weeks after meeting someone, but other people can be together for months and months and still not be sure. While there’s no one-size-fits-all algorithm for how long it takes to fall in love with a new partner, experts say there are a few common factors that influence the pace of how long it takes to love someone.
When you have a new datefriend and it feels like you’re not falling at the same speed, it can make you question whether the relationship is right. The reality is that there’s so much that goes into falling in love with someone that has nothing to do with them, personally. (“It’s not you, it’s me” isn’t always a lie.) Your upbringing, your mental health, your values – all of these things can affect your ability to fall in love. And often, says relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, L.C.S.W., a slow burn often indicates a brighter future.
“There’s no one answer or time frame, but I generally find that when people say they are in love after four weeks or even after eight weeks, they are talking about lust! We can have lust and passion at first sight, but it takes longer than that to really get to know someone and figure out who they are and how the two of you connect. Love is definitely something longer term,” she says.
Patience is a virtue when it comes to assessing a budding relationship, and Hartstein says each person deserves feel free to fall at their own pace. “Even if the person you are dating proclaims their love early on, that’s no reason for you to start questioning yourself and your feelings. Everyone is different.”
Though we can’t pin down exactly when someone will become aware of their feelings, there are some factors that can make people to fall in love quickly, on average. Or, at least think they have. Here are some things that can affect influence how long it takes to love someone:
Positive Thinkers Can Fall In Love Faster
Generally, positive people might find it easier to talk themselves into a more optimistic mindset, and that includes their feelings toward someone else.
“Positive thinking can increase how much love you have for your partner for several reasons,” psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., tells Bustle. “First of all, if you are already thinking positively in general, you are much more likely to notice and appreciate those qualities in your partner that you love rather than take these characteristics for granted or overlook them. Also, if you typically tend to engage in positive thinking, you are likely to be a more open-hearted person in general, as well as towards your partner, than someone who tends to be more of a negative or even neutral kind of thinker.”
If you tend to look on the positive side of everything, that’s going to translate to how you look at relationships.
Men Might Fall In Love Faster Than Women
It may go against every gender stereotype ever – but that’s exactly why gender stereotypes are total BS. According to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Social Psychology, men fall in love faster than women. The study also found that they expressed it sooner – but some experts think this might be more to do with men being more secure in their convictions rather than actually falling in love faster.
“Generally, men are seen as less emotional and may not question their emotions as much as women do,” Rachel Needle, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, tells Bustle. “On the other hand, women are often more likely to analyze their feelings and hesitate before saying ‘I love you.’ Thus, a man might not actually be in love, but will say it when the feelings are strong and believes that he is. Despite what rom-coms of the ‘90s may suggest, many men do desire meaningful connections and relationships. They might sometimes fall harder faster, but there is no telling how long that feeling will last.”