Knowing if a girl likes you and knowing if a girl is falling in love with you are two very different things.
Signs of interest can be easy to recognize, but a woman falling in love will be harder to see.
Not only is it rarer, but the signs are, in many ways, even more, complex and subtle.
And yet understanding how she feels, particularly as your connection matures and deepens, is important for a healthy relationship.
In this piece, we’ll explore the most prominent signs of love, and why they’re so important to spot.
Why you need to be able to tell if a girl is falling in love with you
There are two main reasons you need to know if a girl is falling in love with you. First, if you think you might be falling in love with her, you’ll want to know that your feelings are reciprocated, or at least what the future of the relationship might look like.
On the other hand, if you’re just interested in dating her casually, it’s important to know if she feels more strongly about it.
Perhaps, you’ll want to break things off or slow them down, but at the very least you’ll want to have the information you need to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to the nature of your relationship. Knowing how she feels at every step is essential.
The three stages of love
A fascinating report covered by the BBC explores the three stages of love.
While love is obviously a complex phenomenon that differs from person to person, breaking it down into phases can help us understand how love evolves.
The first phase is called lust, which is the testosterone-driven period when you can’t wait to tear each other’s clothes off.
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The second is called attraction when each of you is constantly thinking about the other and is driven by dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Finally, attachment develops. This is when you get through the anxiety of attraction and move into a more settled form of being in love driven by oxytocin and vasopressin.
That third phase is where relationships become “serious,” and that is when you want to know if you and your girl are on the same page.
So how do you know that a girl is moving into that third, more specific and serious form of romance?
1. She cuts off other guys
In this age, it’s not uncommon for girls to date several people at once. She’s playing the field and playing the market to see what’s out there. It’s only when she really starts making a connection with one man that she puts the brakes on other relationships to focus on the one she cares about the most. Once this happens, you can be sure she’s taking you more seriously.
When she signals exclusivity to you, she thinks you’re worth investing all of her romantic time and effort into. That’s something people generally only do when they’re starting to fall in love.
2. She starts making plans for the both of you
Plans for the both of you can be big or small. Small plans include dates or even weekends away for the two of you. Larger plans include weekend trips, family events, and full vacations.
More than the specific activity, however, it’s the assumption behind a plan that sends a signal: If she plans a date that’s six months away, for example, she clearly doesn’t expect the two of you to break up. You generally find that kind of long-term commitment from people who are in love.
Then, of course, there are Big Plans. Talking about the two of you moving in together is probably the most obvious example, but it doesn’t have to be quite so extreme. She might, for instance, ask you questions about transferring her job at work. Would you go with her? Would you do the long-distance thing?
She’s planning for herself, of course, but she’s including you in those plans — building a life that involves you for the long haul, and considering your interests along the way. When someone starts planning their life around you, it’s usually because they’re in love.
3. She gives you meaningful gifts
Gifts speak volumes, especially when they’re given by a woman. When a woman gets you a gift, she likely put some thought into it as a signal of how much she cares.
A meaningful gift doesn’t have to be (and often isn’t) very expensive. On the contrary, a meaningful gift is one that lets you know that she really gets you, that communicates her affection without regard for money.
Maybe you mentioned a book that you really want to read, and a few days later she surprises you with a paperback copy. Or maybe you talked about a cartoon you liked as a kid, and she grabs you an old copy at a yard sale for your office.
The point here is what your mother used to say: It’s the thought that counts. If she’s giving you gifts that require thought or special attention to what you say, she might be communicating something very meaningful — that she’s falling in love with you.
4. She finds your faults and quirks endearing
Everyone has faults and quirks that can rub other people the wrong way. But love does a funny thing to people. It transforms those idiosyncrasies from something irritating into something endearing. This might be one of the clearest signs of love.
Telling you how “cute” your differences are isn’t just accepting and appreciating you for who you are. It’s her trying to tell you she gets you in a way that other people don’t, likely because she loves you.
5. She talks about you as a couple
Listen for the collective pronoun “we” when your girl starts talking about you. With that small shift, she’s considering you as a unit, and it might be because she’s in love. You’re no longer just some guy she’s dating, even if the two of you are exclusive.
You’re someone whose happiness she sees as inseparable from her own. This is a more subtle version of her starting to make plans for the two of you, but don’t be surprised if they come together. Language reflects emotion.
6. She tells you
This should be obvious, but sometimes our own perceptual filters get in the way. It can be easy to hear a girl say that she loves you and still doubt that she’s “really” in love with you.
But if she chooses to drop this on you for the first time, she’s probably in love. We don’t risk such large statements if there isn’t at least a kernel of truth to them.
If she says the words, then she probably means it — or at least feels some very strong emotions that are creating the experience of love. So listen for and acknowledge the significance of those three words.
What to do when you think she’s in love with you
Once you realize that she’s in love with you, it’s time to act on that knowledge. You might just want to celebrate that you’re both feeling the same way — that’s one of the most exciting discoveries in a relationship. But if her feelings are more serious than yours, or you’re just not feeling the same way, you might want to have a respectful and open conversation with her.
No one likes feeling rejected or out of step, so tread lightly, but be honest and straightforward. There’s no reason to let her keep going further down the path of love when you’re just not feeling it.
Either way, recognizing when a girl is falling in love with you can help you to enrich and define your relationship.