This week’s question comes from Isabel:
“Dear Orna and Matthew,
How long does it take to fall in love for real? I’m confused and I hope you can help me!
My boyfriend of 3 months keeps telling me that he is so in love with me. He’s always saying how much he loves me. I’m not sure I’ve had enough time to know how I feel about him. I’m afraid he is hurt by my not telling him yet and I don’t want him to go find someone else. I think I just need more time to know for sure before I say the L-word.
He’s a great guy and I find him attractive. We met online and he pursued me right away. I just don’t know if he’s the one. Should I know right away?
I’m so confused. Please help!”
Thanks for reaching out to us and for sharing your confusion about whether or not you are falling in love with your boyfriend.
It seems like you are feeling pressure because he is clear on how he feels and has communicated that to you. We want to assure you there is no deadline for you to know implicitly if you love him. The pressure you feel about it is being created by you.
If your guy says he loves you and he is pursuing you for a relationship then he probably isn’t going anywhere. You can relax and allow yourself to be courted by him. This will allow you to get more in touch with how you feel. You’ll also be able to introspect on a much more important question…
How Will You Know When You Are Falling In Love?
How long does it take to fall in love? It depends on how you define falling in love. Are you expecting a big sign to drop out of the sky and hit you over the head? Does falling in love have to be intense or dramatic? Should love be something that is all-consuming or can it be quiet and easy?
The first step is simple but may not be easy. Get in touch with what you expect to feel when you fall in love. You might have an expectation blocking you from your experience of what is actually going on inside of you right now.
Are you able to determine if something is missing from this relationship?
The truth is there is no time limit to falling in love with someone. It can happen in a moment or it can develop over time. Ask a hundred couples and you’ll get answers that vary from immediately to months or even years.
Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you are looking for or if you have an unrealistic expectation about falling in love, then you can miss something amazing that is right in front of you.
Let go of the need to know and instead get curious about what it means to you to fall in love and what it might feel like.
What About Love At First Sight?
The romantic idea that you’ll know in an instant when you meet someone that this is your soulmate is certainly an exciting one. It also sets up an unrealistic expectation and can lead you astray due to false positives.
This is because of the way your subconscious mind works. The subconscious mind is tasked with keeping you alive. Its job to keep your body alive functions within a very narrow range of temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. If your body moves outside of this narrow range, you will die.
This is also the way your subconscious regulates your behavior and your emotional responses to outside stimuli. Basically, your subconscious is working to keep things the same in order to keep you alive. It uses two criteria – known and unknown. If it is known, the subconscious can recognize it and will allow you to proceed without must hesitation.
The spark of attraction to another person is a signal of your subconscious recognizing a familiar energy or dynamic. It sends a signal announcing, “This is familiar! This is familiar!”
If you have negative experiences from your childhood about connection and intimacy, that familiar signal could be an alarm announcing, “Watch out! Danger ahead!”
This creates a false positive if you misinterpret the signal as excitement rather than fright. A supposed “love at first sight” could be a danger signal telling you to run away from a possibly toxic person.
How long does it take to fall in love? It could be in an instant or it could be a false positive sending you into an undesirable relationship dynamic.
How Do You Feel When You’re With Him?
Do you feel safe and cared for when you are with him? Or do you feel uncertain and afraid you are going to make a mistake? The answer will tell you a lot about whether or not he is an ideal match for you.
The goal is to be in a relationship that inspires you to feel good about yourself (not one that triggers feelings of insecurity or that you have to prove yourself).
Pay attention to how you feel when you are with him, as well as how you feel when you part from him. Notice your inner dialog. Is your mind quiet or is it spinning about what you should have said or what you did wrong?
Instead of worrying about how long it takes to fall in love, focus on what emotions he inspires in you.
How long does it take to fall in love? Getting in touch with the emotions he inspires in you will give you the clarity you need to identify the feelings you have for him.
Falling In Love Comes From Chemistry And Emotional Connection
You’ve already stated that you find him attractive. Are you looking for the lightning bolt of chemistry to let you know that you’re falling in love? While chemistry and attraction are important, having a strong emotional connection with him will deepen your feelings.
Chemistry is a product of your differences while emotional connection comes from your similarities. This sounds contradictory but it is your differences that create the spark of attraction. Masculine and feminine energy, introverts and extroverts, these natural opposing energies work like magnets to bring the two of you together.
Emotional connection comes from what the two of you share in common. When the two of you share how you feel and are able to see each other and be seen, then you feel a powerful connection and bond that is the source of emotional intimacy.
When both of these exist between you there is a powerful connection and attraction that can lead to a satisfying and lasting relationship. This kind of connection doesn’t just happen by accident. Taking a more conscious approach to love will help you create an ideal partnership that can withstand the test of time.
Asking “How long does it take to fall in love?” puts your focus on the wrong thing. There are other questions that are more important to determine whether the two of you are a good match for the long-term.
Can The Two Of You Navigate Conflict Together?
Being able to navigate conflict together is one of the most important indications that you can maintain a long-term intimate relationship with your guy. (It’s possible that the two of you have not had any bumps in the road yet.)
Conflict in your intimate relationships is inevitable. There will be challenges that the two of you will need to work out. That’s why it’s important that you don’t try to avoid discord during the dating process. There’s no need to create conflict, but it is okay to occasionally rock the boat if it comes about by speaking your truth.
Knowing that the two of you can repair and reconnect through conflict is one of the most important deciding factors to determine an ideal match for love to last.
How long does it take to fall in love? If you haven’t overcome any obstacles together it’s more of an infatuation with the potential for love in the future.
Can You Be Your Authentic Self With Him?
Wanting to be loved for who you really are means you have to be willing to show up as your authentic self. It can be exhausting and anxiety-producing to be constantly twisting into a pretzel trying to please your guy.
An ideal relationship is one where you can be yourself and the connection between you is easy. What happens when you share with him how you feel? Does he get defensive and argue with you? Or is he able to hear you and acknowledge your feelings?
Start letting him know how you feel. You could even share with him that you like hearing that he loves you and that you’re still figuring out your feelings for him. Share your truth about your attraction for him and that you’re enjoying the journey to see how it unfolds.
Being authentic is like sending him an invitation to meet you at a high vibration. When your partner is able to meet you with his authenticity then you can create a deep connection.
Wondering how long it takes to fall in love? When you can be authentic and share your truth with one another you’ve laid the groundwork for love to blossom.
Do You Share Similar Life Goals For The Future?
Common interests are nice but they are no indication that the two of you are on the same page about what is really important. Your relationship is still young, so this is a great time to discover what he values and what his goals are and see if you share the same perspective on what’s important in life.
You may have different strategies for dealing with challenges, but if you share the same values and goals then you can find a way to work together to solve any problems that arise.
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Worrying about how long it takes you to fall in love isn’t helping you stay present to what you are actually feeling and evaluating if he would be a good match for you for the long term.
Letting go of the need to know if it’s love or not, and instead, getting in touch with how you feel about him right now will allow you to be present in the moment so you can evaluate the relationship for its long-term potential.
Want to know if he is your soulmate? Download a copy of our complimentary eBook and audio, “Recognizing Mr. Right” and discover the secrets to finding your ideal match for lasting love.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.