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Falling in love is the greatest thing in life and one of the most powerful experiences that humans can go through. The oldest known love poem was written on a tablet over 4,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. It reads, in part, “Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit, Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn, Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart, Lion, sleep in our house until dawn.”
Skip a few millennia and you have Shakespeare asking, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.”
And now we have English singer and songwriter Dua Lipa declaring, “I believe that you’re for me, I feel it in our energy, I see us written in the stars. We can go wherever, so let’s do it now or never, Baby, nothing’s ever, ever too far.”
I am fascinated by love as it is the most personal thing that we go through as humans and also one of the most universal things that we share with each other. And while each case is unique unto itself, there are a few things that seem to be common to almost all loving relationships.
As men, sometimes not having had experience talking (or even dealing with) our emotions, we aren’t sure what we are feeling. Especially if it’s your first time, you may not be sure you’re falling in love. Let me help you figure it out!
“We make time for what – or who – we love,” says Rachel DeAlto, the chief dating expert for Match. “If you’re rearranging, reprioritizing, and reimagining your life, you may be falling in love,” she explains. The way that I describe it is that the whole Trojan War was over a woman, Helen of Troy. Meaning, if a man wants a woman he will alter the course of history or literally move a mountain.
If you find yourself making plans, but making sure your plans match with hers, that’s a great sign. Just as important as the making of plans is how you feel about them too. Sure, we all love our guy time and getting together to watch the game. But if her family is coming into town, you’re excited to meet them and you tell your friends you’ll try and meet up with them after. Check out some helpful videos of Rachel and myself talking about how to show someone you care.
It is human/animal nature to like shiny, pretty things and want to show them off to other people. Take for example dogs that are so proud to show you their stick collection or a gorilla mom showing off her new baby to a human mom. They are happy, excited and proud to show off the new thing that makes them so happy. It is the same way for us as well. When we feel like we have won the dating lottery, we want everyone to meet this amazing creature!
A question that readers bring up often online is that they have been dating for a while and still haven’t met the friends or family of their significant other. There may be some valid reasons for it. If it’s you who has not made the introductions, you may not have a close relationship with your family, or maybe you are moving away from a bigoted group of friends. Or maybe you feel that if you try and “make it real,” it will disappear. If you have one of these valid reasons, it is something that you need to communicate to her. Otherwise she will think you are embarrassed about her, or worse that she is a side-chick and you are married.
All of us have quirks or habits that we are a little embarrassed about and try to hide or downplay. When I was dating in the ‘90s and 2000s, it was still considered dorky and uncool to read fantasy or sci-fi. So while I read and owned 100s of these books, I tried to keep it to myself, or at least not advertise it right away. My absolute favorite series of books ever was “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan, and I had never met anyone else who read it or with whom I could discuss it. Well, on Myspace (definitely dating myself!), I actually found a girl in my area who had read it, and I couldn’t wait to talk to her about it. We are now married!
What might be just a little habit or quirk, quickly becomes something you adore about them. A few examples from Womens Health Mag:
“The ‘shimmy’ when she puts her pants on.” —Joe S.
“The way she smiles in her sleep.” —Karthik K.
“When she tries to tell me a story but can’t remember any of the important details.” —Isidro I.
“Her high voice, wide eyes, and open hand smacking the table when she suddenly gets an epic idea.” —Brent M.
“When she is laughing so much that she accidentally snorts.” —Jon T.
“When she puts her hair behind her ear, and later on it falls in front of her face and she does it again.” —Romauld O.
“Wrinkling her nose when she smiles, laughs, or is embarrassed. My wife does it and it’s my favorite quirk of hers!” —Jordan P.
“When she crosses her legs and dangles her shoe off her foot, twirls it, and spanks the ground with it.” —Kent L.
Sometimes men can be a little dense and we may not understand what it is we are feeling. And feelings may start to creep up when you don’t even realize it. But if instead of thinking, “What am I going to do this summer,” you start thinking, “What are we going to do this summer,” it’s a good sign! So many men think that they have to give up something to get into a relationship, like giving up their freedom to go out with the guys or do weekend trips. What happens is that thoughts of doing something with her actually feel MORE fun and exciting to do, and you happily want to spend more time with her.
In a relationship there are three entities, you, me and us. As you spend more time with each other, some of your worlds overlap. There is my favorite restaurant, her favorite restaurant and our favorite restaurant. My favorite movie, her favorite and our favorite.
You start to develop inside jokes between the two of you, and you may even pick up new hobbies or interests that you both share, like volunteering or skating, that neither of you would have done solo. When this shared world becomes as exciting and vibrant as your own world, you’re heading in the right direction!
In the same way that you start finding her quirks adorable, you finally feel comfortable to let your own guard down and let her into all of yourself. Many men think that we need to portray this confident, powerful leader to draw people to us. And that may catch attention, but it’s the ability to show her your true self that is going to start endearing her to you. Instead of compartmentalizing all your different aspects (cool dude, goofy dude, sports guy, secret romantic, baker) you can actually start being all of them. And let me tell you, it feels awesome because you’re never worried, “What is she going to say when she finds this out about me?!”
When I was first dating the woman who today is my wife, her future maid of honor once took me aside at the bar we were in. With her eyes tearing up, she told me “I just wanted to let you know that I have never seen her so happy. She is able to be all of herself with you and doesn’t feel she has to hide any part of her.” That made me feel so good, and I was happy that others seemed to see it as well.
Unfortunately, there is no exact, quantifiable way to determine whether you are in love. Sometimes you just gotta feel it! According to a 2013 study for eharmony, men actually fall in love QUICKER than women! Men on average take 88 days to say “I love you,” while for women, it was around 134 days.
This may be because women tend to hedge their bets. Before they let their emotions consume them, they want to be sure about how he feels. Or it could be that women never want to be the first one to say it, or that men just fall harder. My first date with my now-wife was January 8 and I said I love you on May 3. So for me, it was 118 days before I said “I love you.” But because I hadn’t ever been in love before, I wasn’t sure that I was, so I was probably in love earlier than that.
Ultimately, no one can know but us if we are in love. Through evolution, our senses gather tons of information that we may be unaware of, but that is building us toward love. You love her smell, you just feel safe with her, you feel at ease when she is around. You are noticing and reacting to many tiny stimuli that eventually comes out as a gut feeling. Trust that feeling!
Love is a pretty amazing thing, and when you have someone who loves you for all you are, it raises your own confidence because it makes you less concerned about your shortcomings, or failures, as they all make you who you are and the person she loves. It has been a rough few years, and I think all of us have figured out a little more about what we want out of life. And if that is love for you, go get it and good luck!