How Long Does It Actually Take To Fall In Love? Here’s What The Research Shows

Is there a specific amount of time it usually takes to fall in love, or is it case by case?

By Keelia Clarkson2 min read
Shift Drive/Shutterstock

Whether you’ve been with your boyfriend for a month, six months, or a year, you’ve probably wondered where the relationship is headed. You definitely feel a lot for him; your heart does a little flip whenever he kisses you, you anxiously await his good morning text, and you’re always in a better mood when you’ve just been with him.

You’ve likely even wondered if it could be love, or eventually turn into that – after all, doesn’t it take a while before we’re actually in love with someone? How long does falling in love usually take? Is there a normal timeframe, or does it just depend on the couple?

What the Research Says

As is the case with most things, there’s no hard and fast rule for how quickly we should or will fall in love. While some might be reticent to invest more deeply in a relationship (whether due to insecurity, past trauma, immaturity, or something else), others swear they knew they would fall in love quickly from the moment they laid eyes on their significant other. But how quickly can someone fall in love, on average?

A 2013 study found that men typically take 88 days (which comes out to around 3 months) to say “I love you,” while women normally don’t declare such a thing until 134 days have passed (which is nearly 4.5 months). Falling in love, at least according to the research, takes a little more time than a single glance, but it can also happen relatively quickly in the grand scheme of things.

Men typically take about 88 days to say “I love you,” while women take about 134 days.

Signs It May Not Be Love, But Infatuation

It’s relatively common to hear someone insist they fell in love at first sight, saying they saw their significant other and just knew. While this is a romantic thought, the reality is that truly falling in love — and staying in love — takes time. 

This means that, more often than not, we’re infatuated with someone at the beginning of a relationship, a sort of excitement, passion, and adoration that often fades as quickly as it developed – which is why it’s not uncommon to see a relationship that looked really serious fall apart in about three months.

So what are the signs that you might not yet be in love, but still be infatuated?

  • You haven’t been together very long, but you have very strong feelings for him.

  • You put him on a pedestal; he doesn’t have any flaws in your eyes.

  • You become jealous and possessive easily and often, and feel anxious when you’re not with him.

  • The relationship is moving very quickly.

  • You ignore your friends’ and family’s comments that don’t line up with what you feel (and ignore what they call “red flags”).

  • You can hardly think about anything but him.

  • You’re willing to change long-held values to align with his.

  • You’re often nervous that he’s going to leave you.

Signs It’s True Love

So what are the signs of true love, the kind that develops slowly and genuinely? The sort of love that isn’t felt immediately, but expressed after a few months of falling deeper and deeper for one another?

  • You’ve been together for at least a few months, and your feelings have continued to grow as you know him more deeply.

  • You’re aware of his flaws, and while you want them to improve, you love him anyway.

  • You always love being with him, but being apart from him doesn’t cause you anxiety or make you feel jealous.

  • The relationship has progressed steadily.

  • Your friends and family are positive about the relationship.

  • He’s added a lot to your life, but he hasn’t taken over it.

  • You’ve connected even more deeply through shared values and beliefs. 

  • You feel at peace in the relationship.

Closing Thoughts

Falling into infatuation is fast, but falling in love takes time – according to research, at least a few months for both men and women. While there’s no right or wrong timeframe in which to fall for someone, it’s helpful to know how long it normally takes for that kind of connection to form when we’re in the throes of emotions in a new relationship.

Don’t miss anything! Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get curated content weekly!