9 signs that you’re falling in love, according to psychology
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Tuesday 21st September 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
9 signs that you’re falling in love, according to psychology
Falling in love is one of the strangest and most wonderful things a human being can experience. And while it’s different for everyone, there are some common thoughts and feelings that can help people identify when it’s happening.
You might be experiencing one of the obvious indicators – like not being able to think about anyone or anything else but that person – or the signs could be more obfuscated.
Whatever it may be, there’s no doubt that falling in love in today’s labyrinthine dating landscape is complicated. In a bid to simplify things a little, The Independent spoke to psychologists to identify some of the clear signs that you might be falling in love with someone.
- You can’t stop staring at them
It’s a classic sign of infatuation: losing yourself in the eyes of the one you love. Consultant psychologist Marc Hekster explains that this is one of the most obvious signs that you’re falling in love with someone. “Why wouldn’t you want to look into the eyes of someone who you experience as the most beautiful and attractive person in your world?” he says.
The thing is, when you look at someone you love, you don’t just see what they look like. You might see your entire future together, or at least imagine what it could be.
“You are looking for something,” says Hekster. “If you have ever seen a mother looking at their newborn baby, or looking at their child in a loving way, then you will recognise some of this constant staring at your love object.”
- You abandon your usual activities
If you’re enjoying spending time with someone, the reward system in the brain increases your motivation to want “more” of that time, explains dating psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree. “You start to crave their presence,” she adds.
You may start thinking of ways to be near them, too, which can include taking up their interests in the hope it could help strengthen the fledgling bond between you.
“For example, you may detest salsa, but find yourself enrolling on a salsa course, even if they are not on the course, because you feel closer to them by proxy,” explains Mason Roantree. “It also gives you something else you can talk to them about, and perhaps it’s a way to entice them to get closer to you.”
- You don’t mind when they do something unattractive
“The power of love and new love, in particular, is primitive,” says Hekster.
This means that when someone you’re falling in love with does something you might perceive as unattractive, whether it’s being untidy or leaving the toilet seat up, you won’t mind. In fact, you might not even notice it.
“Love can be immensely powerful and can be associated with the loss of all inhibition,” adds Hekster. “Think about parents who are in love with their baby and how they will acknowledge that they love their child no matter how dirty they are, or how much they stop them from sleeping.”
- Time flies when you’re together
If you are falling in love with someone, chances are, your time with them will go by very quickly, explains chartered psychologist Daria Kuss.
You know those maddening, annoying habits that your partner has? Those things that always make you furious? It can be very tempting to tell your mother-in-law about them, especially when you’re feeling particularly irritated. Resist the temptation! It’s not a good idea to trash talk your partner, either to them or to the people closest to them. Your mother-in-law might decide to share your words with your partner when she’s feeling particularly irritated with you.
This is often the case when we’re doing something we enjoy – and spending time with someone we’re falling in love with is no different.
“You are in the flow when you are with them,” she adds, “so you won’t notice the ticking clock when you spend time together”.
- They can do no wrong
Falling in love can warp your sense of reality a little, says Hekster.
“It is likely that if you feel deeply in love with someone, then you will have a somewhat unrealistic view who they are and how they present themselves,” he adds.
So whilst you might be inclined to be critical of someone else doing or saying something, if your partner does or says them, you might love them for it, because in your eyes, they can do no wrong.
“Even if they are wearing sandals with socks. It’s what makes them so beautiful, right?!” he adds. “When you are in love, all you see is a version of beauty that feels unchallengeable. It is the idealisation of the individual upon whom all your feelings are focused.”
- You feel unusually optimistic
When you’re falling in love, everything else in your life might feel weirdly wonderful, says Mason Roantree.
“You might also feel a little more energetic for no apparent reason,” she adds.
“This is the result of all those ‘dopamine hits’ you have been getting from thinking about your partner and doing things, either with them or that remind you of them.
“The act of positive anticipation helps reduce feelings of stress, so the anticipation of being with your partner boosts your mental health making you feel better about life.”
- You want to touch and kiss them
Again, this might seem very obvious. But the reason why you want to touch and kiss someone you’re falling in love with is far more deeply rooted than you might think.
When you touch someone you’re falling in love with, it releases the “love hormone”, oxytocin.
“This will make you feel happy and strengthen the connection between you and your partner,” explains Kuss.
- You always think about them
“Falling in love involves a surrender of our feelings to another person,” says Hekster.
In that surrender, Hekster explains that we merge with that person in a way and become completely preoccupied with them to the point where they dominate our thoughts.
Again, this is partly thanks to oxytocin, which is released in the brain during sex.
“It can affect emotion, cognition and social bonding,” adds Hekster, all of which can make you feel closer to someone and foster feelings of love.
- You want them to be happy
When you start to fall in love with someone, you might find yourself feeling more altruistic than usual, says Hekster.
“This characterise the more mature versions of love,” he adds, explaining that it can be a sign of deep, long-lasting love.
“You don’t only want happiness for yourself, but you want it in equal measure for the other person.”
By Olivia Petter
TOP TEN OF THE DAY
The Top 10: The real stories remembered for a vivid detail that isn’t true
Some events are remembered for a detail that is completely untrue
Thanks to John Peters for suggesting this list. He had read an interview with John Stonehouse’s daughter Julia, in which she corrected the record in the first example.
- John Stonehouse left a pile of clothes on a beach in Miami. That is how Wikipedia says the former Labour minister faked his death on 20 November 1974, and it is the story most of us know. In fact the clothes were stowed in a beachside cabana.
- Horned Viking helmets. Only one helmet survives from the period and it does not have horns; no contemporary sources mention them. Nominated by Robert Shrimsley.
- Alexander the Great cried salt tears because there were “no more worlds to conquer”. The original story is that he wept because he learned from an Indian holy man that there was an infinite series of worlds. He said: “So many worlds and we have not even conquered this one.” Stewart Slater said: “A Greek of Alexander’s time would never have thought he had conquered the world by that stage of his expedition, since he only went east and the Greeks had been planting colonies around the western Mediterranean for about 400 years.”
- Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on a church door. No evidence that he did, and most scholars think he probably posted them to the archbishop. Thanks to Steven Fogel.
- The Spitfire saved the country in the Battle of Britain. In fact, the Hurricane was more numerous in service in the summer of 1940 and shot down more German aeroplanes. According to the air ministry’s figures, for every two Luftwaffe planes brought down by Spitfires, three were shot down by Hurricanes. Nominated by Paul T Horgan.
- Jeremy Corbyn won the election in 2017. Thanks to Citizen Sane.
- Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves. Actually, those marriages were annulled. Nomination from Andrew S.
- They drank the Kool-Aid. The poisoned vat in the 1978 Jonestown murder-suicide wasn’t Kool-aid, it was Flavor Aid, a rival brand. Thanks to David Boothroyd.
- Sir Francis Drake said he would finish his game of bowls before setting off to attack the Spanish fleet. No contemporary source for a story first told 37 years later.
- “Mama” Cass Elliot died from choking on a ham sandwich. (It was a heart attack). Nominated by Nicci French.
There is some overlap here with the Top 10 things people are remembered for that they didn’t actually do (Freddie Starr’s hamster, Eve’s apple, Emperor Julius Caesar, Nero fiddling, Magellan circumnavigating the world, Guillotin’s guillotine, Stephenson’s steam locomotive, Rosa Parks in the White section of the bus, and Peter Mandelson’s mushy peas).
By John Rentoul The Independent.
REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– Nicolas Chamfort
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou
Happiness is…being in love and being loved.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
Wanna go on a picnic? Alpaca lunch.
When men say “I’m fine” they actually mean it.
Love is…a brush with destiny.
A time to fall in love…A time to stay in love.
1866 H G Wells, English writer, was born. His books included The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds.
1915 Stonehenge was sold at auction to Mr C H Chubb for £6,600 as a present for his wife. Mr Chubb presented it to the nation three years later as his wife didn’t think it suited her.
1962 Bamber Gascoigne’s University Challenge was screened for the first time.
1965 BP found oil in the North Sea.
1972 The birth of Liam Gallagher (born William John Paul Gallagher) musician and singer-songwriter. He was formerly the frontman of the rock band Oasis until the band split up in 2009 and he formed Beady Eye.
1985 Madonna scored her first UK No.1 album with Like A Virgin, ten months after its release.
©2021 Phil M Robinson