Relationships take a long time to build, but the feeling of falling in love happens in less than a minute. We review some scientific studies that prove it
Falling in love, that crucial event in life that probably happens less than you would like, can last an instant or years. All of the above, counting daisy petals and all that, that's what's really difficult, because you know perfectly well when you are in love when you can't get away from that person and every time you separate, you can't wait to see him or her again.
Now, not all romances begin in the fastest and most passionate way; some are simmering, in the distance or for many years. There are even some that return after a while. And also, those that perhaps less so, arise in a more rational way, without being entirely sure at the beginning. And it is precisely these that can generate a kind of anxiety, since one of the two tends to give more than the other, and then the nerves arise.
“Falling in love is a complex and multidimensional experience, in which there is a combination of physiological, psychological and social factors.”
Normally, relationships always start with “I love you.” These are the magic words that set in motion what we might consider as an official couple relationship. According to a 2016 survey, people on average wait 144 days or five months to say it. The curious thing is that there are variations in terms of gender: according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men took much less time (97 days) than women (139 days), which means that women are more cautious than men when it comes to securing a partner relationship.
The physical effects of falling in love
It is one thing to recognize it and quite another to feel it. How long do we go from friendship or a feeling of affiliation to falling in love? According to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, falling in love lasts only one fifth of a second, during which time there are 12 different areas of the brain that work simultaneously to release chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin or adrenaline that cause “euphoric” feelings.
This could be the scientific and physiological basis of love, which generates some stress, even if it is positive or pleasurable. “It is important to understand that falling in love is a complex and multidimensional experience, in which there is a combination of physiological, psychological and social factors,” asserts LaTonya P. Washington, a sexologist and couples therapist, in a recent article in Best Life magazine that has collected these studies. “Given these factors, it's impossible to pin down an exact timeline for how long it takes the average person to fall in love.”
According to her, it depends on the circumstances in which it arises. “For example, one study found that those who meet online tend to fall in love faster than those who met through more traditional means, such as being friends or co-workers,” she says. Clearly, “personal experiences and individual beliefs influence how people view the process of falling in love. If someone has had a negative or traumatic experience in a previous relationship, they may be more skeptical or cautious about hooking up with another in the future.”
“Building a healthy, strong relationship requires continuous effort and reciprocal dedication.”
Be that as it may, everyone has their own timelines, which is why you shouldn't set fixed expectations. “It's important to remember that the timing of falling in love can vary by individual and relationship,” weighs Kerry Lauders, a couples therapist. “Some people may take very little time to forge an emotional bond, while others much longer. In addition, the amount of time two people have to get to know each other and build trust can also affect that timeline for falling in love.”
Finally, it should be noted, as Washington cautions, that building a healthy, long-term relationship is not the same as falling in love. “While the process of falling in love can be exciting and very exhilarating, that's only the first step in a longer journey,” she stresses. “Building a healthy and strong relationship requires continuous effort and reciprocal dedication.” Therefore, don't rush, but continually communicate with each other to see what they are feeling as time goes on.
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