I’m a bit of a romantic so it’s hard for me to admit there are telltale, science-based signs of being in love – a checklist, if you will.

Don’t we just know in our gut?

Perhaps, but love can be hard to tease out from the other emotions and thoughts that come with it.

The whole experience can be disorienting so it might help if you knew the tendencies of those in love, revealed through scientific research.

Here they are:

You think about your partner constantly – this is happening because every time you do this, your brain rewards you with dopamine, which leads you to do it over and over again to keep getting that reward.

You want your friends and family to like her – gaining entry to someone’s social circle is a big deal so to put your partner, as well as yourself, through that gauntlet, reflects how seriously you feel about them. Evidence shows that people are motivated to “marshal support” for someone they feel strongly about. 

You celebrate their triumphs – romantic partners will often feel pride and positive emotions when they see their partner succeed, even at something they themselves can’t do, rather than feeling negative and inferior.

There’s mutual “like” – in a cross-cultural study, researchers showed that a critical factor preceding falling in love was “reciprocal liking“, where both people find the other’s personality desirable.

You miss her when you’re apart – the extent to which you miss each other, reflects how interdependent your lives have become. In this particular study, researchers learned that the intensity by which people missed each other, directly corresponded to how committed they felt to the relationship.

Your sense of self has grown by knowing her – it’s often others who tell you this but the things you care about, your habits, how you spend your time – have changed.  They’ve been influenced, usually in a positive way, by your partner.

I know, some of these are common sense.

But don’t they help, particularly when read together, to understand when real love might be unfolding?

Sometimes it’s hard to know.

Of course, these are not hard and fast rules, but they might help the next time you’re wondering if you’ve found THE one.

Leave a Comment