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How Long Does It Take to Fall in Love: The Answer to Know for Sure

Wondering how long does it take to make someone fall in love? Is love at first sight even true, or that men might fall in love faster than women? Facts, experts, and research can show you how long it takes to fall hard and deep for someone.

how long does it take to fall in love

You must have known that when you came looking for an answer to “how long does it really take to fall in love?” you wouldn’t find a simple response. We can tell you the average time it takes to fall based on research, but we cannot tell you that it’ll take precisely three weeks for YOU to fall in love. 

Seeing how many couples from Bachelor in Paradise have broken up should tell you that’s not true. After all, love means different things to different people.

If you question how long falling in love can happen, and ask 100 different couples around the world, you will probably get 100 different ones. Some will say that it only takes for people to fall in love within seconds, others will say it takes weeks, while a few believe that love requires time to build if you really want to fall hard. There’s no one answer. Love is one of the trickiest things to measure because it doesn’t take a physical form.

The timing of falling in love depends on so many things. Love is not a simple thing. And romantic love is even more complicated. [Read: 18 tips to fall in love slowly like you’re in a fairytale]

The thing about love is it differs from couple to couple, and people feel things at different rates. Not only does it change from person to person, but it might also change as you age. 

Sure, a parent can fall in love with their child upon seeing them or feeling them in the womb, but romantic love isn’t the same. 

Romantic love takes some element of knowledge and time spent together. That is why we cannot give you a timeline for falling in love. Sure, you know what it feels like to fall in love but each and every individual person and relationship varies. [Read: What is love and how to recognize true love when you feel it]

There are a number of different things that impact how slowly or quickly you fall in love. To really know how long it takes, know a few factors that inhibit the development of affection that leads people to exchange declarations of loved for one another.

The psychology of falling in love

Have you ever wondered about the psychological aspects of falling in love? Well, if you have, then look no further. We have your answers right here.

1. Humans are psychologically wired to develop connections

Falling in love is hard-wired into our brains. Love and having a life-long and lasting relationship give meaning to people’s existence. [Read: Emotional connection – 38 signs, secrets, and ways to build a real bond]

These connections can help us make sense of our lives. Loving someone also makes us feel like we belong somewhere, and it makes us feel validated. 

2. Love produces chemical changes in your body

When we are in love, our brains are overwhelmed with feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals enhance the areas in our brains that are related to pleasure and our reward system. 

It also produces physical changes in your body including less pain, more joy, and a feeling of addictive dependence. [Read: Chemistry of love – how hormones make you feel love the way you do]

3. Love can take away stress or magnify it

As you probably know, love can be extreme. The increased levels of dopamine and oxytocin can make your body relaxed and almost stress-free.

However, if things don’t work out well with your loved one, this addictive attachment to someone can have the opposite effect too.

The initial stages of love are a wild ride where you are trying to develop intimacy. The anxiety related to whether or not the other person likes you can lead to hormonal changes, fear, and mood fluctuations. [Read: How to reduce stress – 17 fastest hacks to a calmer and happier life]

4. Love makes you feel safe, happy, and addicted

Being in love can make you develop trust in your partner. The oxytocin released through physical contact can strengthen your attachment and make you feel content, happy, and calm. This makes you feel secure and safe.

Because of such strong chemical influences, love can also make you feel addicted to the other person. Love feels like a need that you can’t ignore for very long. Studies show that being in love is like being high on cocaine.

5. Love makes you wear rose-colored glasses

Falling in love makes you see perfection in your partner because you have rose-colored glasses on. You feel like they have no flaws and they are just perfect. [Read: Infatuation – the definition, how to break out and 47 signs you’re deeply infatuated]

It doesn’t matter what they are really like, because you don’t see the “real” person yet. A fun fact – research shows that when you’re in love with someone, they will look 20% more attractive to you than they actually are!

6. Imagining your partner is better than reality

One strange finding about the psychology of falling in love is that thinking about your partner or having an imaginary conversation with them is actually more enjoyable than seeing them in reality.

Strange, but it’s true! The reason for this is that when you fantasize about what you like, there are more vivid emotions than you have in reality. [Read: Romantic sex – 15 ways to go from ordinary sex to romantic fantasy]

How long does it take to fall in love on average?

Here’s the science behind falling in love (and probably experiencing love at first sight.) According to researchers, people decide within seconds whether they are attracted to someone or not. This has something to do with the bursts of norepinephrine that’s also called the stress hormone, and phenylethylamine, also known as the love chemical. Technically speaking, it only takes at least one-fifth of a second for the brain to fire off reactions associated with feelings of love.

Meanwhile, approximately one to three months is the time most people say ‘I love you’. Also, on average, the maximum time interval is four months.

The overflow of hormones and chemicals in our brains will last up to four months, but then it will end pretty quickly.

But these are very generalized findings. [Read: Am I in love? 30 signs to read the fuzzy flutters after infatuation]

What people were surveyed? Was it millennials or boomers? Were these same-sex couples? Were these people who met each other online or in person? 

There are so many things that go into falling in love, is there really an average? Think about it. 

When a class takes the same test, there is an average score. That average makes sense because everyone learned the same material and took the same test. [Read: The pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back]

But love is so much more complicated. Everyone learned different things, has different pasts and has different hopes for the future.

So, the amount of time it takes people to fall in love on average is sort of meaningless.

If everyone met in person after talking to someone online for one week and saw each other twice a week for three months while going on similar dates, that average may be a bit more understandable. [Read: How to read the signs you’re falling in love and enjoy the process]

But some people are friends for years before starting a romantic relationship. Others see each other every day for a month after meeting and some see each other once a month or even less.

And sometimes you can feel in love when you’re not. Meeting someone and connecting with them instantly can mimic the feelings of love. Sex can release endorphins that mimic those feelings too.

An article from Cosmopolitan listed quotes from 13 people about when they knew they were in love.

Just the first three on the list varied from one month, three months to one year. Others said after a week, and one even said on the first date. [Read: Is he saying “I love you” too soon? 15 signs he doesn’t mean it]

Each answer from these couples in their 20s, 30s, and 40s varied so much. 

This is why the timing of love is so complicated. Some people aren’t sure of what they’re feeling when they’re in love. 

Others know it but deny it to protect themselves. There is just too much complication and confusion when it comes to love to give an average answer. [Read: How to manifest love: The steps to draw in your best love life]

How long does it take men to fall in love? 

According to a report in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, it takes a man 8.2 seconds to fall head over heels in love. Okay, maybe not truly in love – probably more like in lust. [Read: What are you feeling? Is it love or lust?]

Regardless of whether it’s love or lust, researchers say that the longer a man looks at a woman, the more romantically interested in someone he becomes.

But we’re talking about love here. Believe it or not, men fall in love more quickly than women. Research found that men think about confessing their love 97 days into a relationship. This doesn’t mean that they don’t feel it before that, it’s just how long it takes them to profess their love.

And here’s another interesting statistic. 39% of men say “I love you” within the first month of dating. This just proves that a lot of men are not afraid of commitment or falling in love. [Read: Does he love me? 37 Signs he’s past like and totally in love with you]

How long does it take women to fall in love? 

Scientific findings just go to show you that not all stereotypes are true. Not only about men, but about women too. 

Most people think that women are the ones who fall in and confess love more quickly than men. That’s simply not true.

Women take longer to say those three words to their partners – an average of 134 days, which is 46 days longer than men. [Read: Does she love me? 39 sweet signs she’s deeply attached and adores you]

And only 23% of women say “I love you” within the first month. So, that’s not living up to the love-crazy stereotype that women typically have.

Factors that affect how long it takes someone to fall in love

Of course, not all men and women are the same. We’re all individuals and have had our own life experiences which make us unique. So, it’s difficult to generalize too much.

However, there are some other factors that affect how long it takes someone to fall in love. [Read: Do I love her? 48 signs you’re slowly but surely falling in love with a girl]

1. Positive thinkers can fall in love faster

We discussed earlier how part of the psychology of falling in love is having on rose-colored glasses and seeing your partner as perfect. Well, people who are positive thinkers tend to do this more than those who think more negatively.

It makes sense if you think about it. Positive thinkers are dwelling on the negatives and are just losing themselves in their feel-good emotions.

They’re probably not trying to find anything wrong with the person or the new relationship. Instead, they only see good. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy and dramatic life shift]

2. Gender

As we just discussed, men typically fall in love faster than women. The reasons for this can vary. Some of them include the fact that there is a lust component to falling in love. Men are wired to “spread their seed” more than women are. 

As a result, men are more susceptible to catching feelings of horniness and have less of a logical hold on their feelings in the beginning. That’s not to say that some women don’t, but from a biological perspective, they are more discerning than men.

3. Your relationship with your parents

If you don’t have a great relationship with your caretakers during your childhood, you might be more likely to fall in love with someone more quickly. [Read: Helicopter parents – 30 ways they ruin their children’s lives]

When a child is deprived of love and attention from their parents, it drives them to seek it out in other people.

Therefore, when someone falls in love quickly, they could be subconsciously trying to fill the void that their parents created with the love from a partner.

They don’t necessarily know they are doing this, but it is something that they seek because they were starved of love growing up. [Read: Interfering parents – all the ways they can affect your love life]

4. Your parents’ relationship with each other

We learn about love from watching our parents growing up. Are they loving, caring, and affectionate toward one another? Or are they cold and toxic with each other?

When we see a good example of passionate love between our parents, then that gives us a positive feeling toward love in general. However, when we see a toxic relationship, we develop a more negative feeling toward what is supposedly the “love” between our parents.

How do people fall in love?

Falling in love doesn’t have a magic formula. If you do this, this, and that, you will fall in love…Nope. [Read: 47 Sweet signs you’re falling in love and slowly moving past the like stage]

Once again, think about The Bachelor. These people know each other for approximately six weeks before an engagement. On average, they say “I love you” four to five weeks in and at least four people make it to that point. 

How likely is it that all of these people actually fall in love with this person by that point? 

Well, they put their lives on hold, haven’t spoken to family and friends, and can’t even watch TV or read a magazine, so their life is essentially occupied by this person, even when they don’t see them. [Read: Have you ever wondered what falling in love feels like for real?]

So, you can see how circumstance and state of mind come into play?

People fall in love in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they bond over common interests like sports or music, and other times they have intense chemistry. Some even fall in love when they have nothing in common. 

Romance like flowers, candles, and chocolate can amp up the feelings of love for some people, while others go on adventures or stay on the couch when they fall in love. [Read: When should you say “I love you” for the first time and do it right?]

So, again, even the ‘how’ when it comes to love depends on you.

How to know if you’re falling in love 

Unless you can measure your levels of oxytocin, it can be hard to know for sure whether you’re in love. You may say, “I’ve been with this person for so many months now and I’m happy, so I must be in love.”

Or you might convince yourself you’re in love because you want to be in love. You’d be surprised how often this happens. As we mentioned, probably not all The Bachelor contestants are in love when they say they are. [Read: How to know if you’re in love and it’s not just butterflies]

There are a lot of signs that you are in love. Things like wanting to share good and bad news with them instantly or wanting to say “I love you” could be a signal that you are, in fact, in love.

Sometimes friends even notice a change in your behavior when you’re in love. 

Some people also won’t admit they’re in love until their partner does. This can make things hard because not everyone falls in love at the same pace, even in one relationship. [Read: How to respond to “I love you” when you still don’t feel the same way]

Knowing you’re falling in love is just as different for everyone as the timing of it.

When can you say you’re truly in love?

This is another big question with a complicated answer. You can say you’re in love when you feel it. Most people would say when you know, you know. 

There are no rules about it. There isn’t a timeline or a relationship milestone you have to hit in order to say ‘I love you’ and mean it. [Read: How men fall in love and the 7 stages they go through]

Sure, you may regret it one day or look back and realize you weren’t in love when you thought you were, but that doesn’t change how you felt in the moment.

So, as long as you think that is what you feel, you can say it. Love is complicated and messy. 

There is no perfect formula for love, knowing when you’re in love, or when the right time to say it is. It all comes down to you and your relationship. [Read: New love – Should you be the first to say “I love you” or wait to hear it?]

However, do not rush love. Enjoy the process of falling in love and growing those thoughts and feelings. 

You don’t need to beat the other person to say it or feel it fast because you are afraid you’ll lose it. Love is something to be enjoyed in the moment. 

It is something that feels good and scary all at once. [Read: 18 tips to fall in love slowly like you’re in a fairytale

Falling in love can feel like you’re doing it wrong, but whatever feels right to you is right. There is not any all-encompassing advice we can offer for you to make love easier. 

Because love and falling in love is so individual, you can’t look for a quick fix or broad answer. You need to look at your own situation. You need to fall into your own feelings and identify them. 

Probably, this isn’t the answer you were hoping for, but if you made it this far in the article, hopefully, you understand it a little better. There is no one answer to falling in love. [Read: 20 Signs she’s falling in love with you and wants something serious]

Nor is there a perfect timeline for love. There is nothing perfect about love, and that is sort of what makes it so perfect. 

So, stop worrying about the timing and being so sure and maybe getting it wrong, and just enjoy the ride of a lifetime. Falling in love isn’t science; although it can be argued it is. Falling in love is magic and should be treated as such.

Love and age

As you get older, the pace at which you fall in love differs greatly. Maybe it’s because you realize love is something different. [Read: What is true love? 22 signs of love to know if your love is real]

And maybe it’s because you didn’t know what love was when you were younger, but have since felt it and know what you’re looking for.

Either way, how long it takes to fall in love has a lot to do with your own age. Now, this isn’t always the case. You’ve probably heard of 70-year-olds who fell in love the very first day they met.

But would they truly be in love? Or just consumed with lust? [Read: Dating age rule – what’s an acceptable age gap for a couple?]

Prior heartache and love

Another inhibiting factor that causes someone to fall in love slower is if they’ve been in love before…and ended up getting hurt. 

That heartache and pain cause a person to shut down and guard their feelings, making it really hard for them to fall in love again.

They are more cautious around people they have deeper feelings for and may even keep them at arm’s length, so they won’t fall in love. [Read: Falling in love too fast and why you need to slow down]

It takes those people much, much longer to fall in love than the average person who hasn’t been heartbroken.

Love from person to person

Some people tend to fall in love a LOT faster than other people. So, really, it just depends on the person and their rate of love. Honestly, a lot of girls seem to fall quicker than most men. It’s just the way they’re wired.

It depends on who you are as a person. Those who have a lot of love to give find it easier to fall in love than people who are naturally more guarded and not as in touch with their feelings. First, determine which type of person you are. [Read: 9 relationship stages all couples HAVE to go through]

Not only does it change from individual to individual, but it also changes depending on the person you’re with. You could fall for someone much faster in one relationship than you will with someone else in your next.

Love versus lust

We can’t ignore this topic when discussing how long it takes to fall in love, because too many people confuse lust with love. Those people would be the ones believing in love at first sight. 

That’s not to say that love at first sight doesn’t exist, but when there are people who say they fell in love immediately with a LOT of people, well… [Read: 10 signs you’re feeling lust and not love]

Let’s just say that the old tale of the boy who cried wolf comes to mind. The actual definition of love is an intense feeling of deep affection. The real definition of lust is very strong sexual desire.

But wires get crossed when people mistake affection for sexual desire. You can be really, really attracted to someone and think you’re in love when in reality, you’re just in lust. 

Admittedly, the two are related. Normally, you experience extreme sexual desire for a person you’ve fallen in love with. [Read: What is lust? 25 typical signs to look for and ways to turn it into love]

Signs you’re in love

In order to gauge how long it takes you to fall in love, you have to figure out if you’re in love for real or not. Here are some signs that you’re really in love.

1. The thought of them makes you smile

If someone brings up their name and you can’t help but smile, it’s a sign they’ve got your heart.

2. They’re the first person you want to tell the news to

Be it good or bad, they’re the person you turn to whenever you have news in your life. You can’t help but race to keep them in the loop in your life. You also like it when they share their feelings and emotions with you.[Read: 18 ways to split casual dates from real love]

3. Their happiness means more to you than your own

This one speaks for itself. Love means being selfless when it comes to their happiness.

4. You see them as a part of your future…forever

If you can’t envision your life without them always by your side, you’re in love.

5. You are 100% your natural self with them

You know that no matter what you do, they won’t judge you and you’re comfortable being completely yourself, thus why you always want to be around them. [Read: 15 special ways true love sets itself apart]

So…how long does it take to fall in love?

Ah, finally! The big question is answered … or is it really? Well, the answer is actually quite simple: it depends. Not exactly what you wanted, right? But the truth is that love is different for each person individually and for each couple.

You might fall in love way faster with one person than with another—and that’s completely normal. Different circumstances dictate the rate at which you fall in love. You can never put a specific time on when you want to fall in love because it’s just not natural.

[Read: 19 sure signs of love to watch out for]

Love isn’t simple. It’s not measurable. It changes from person to person and relationship to relationship. However long it takes you to fall in love is how long it takes to fall in love—it’s that easy.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...