I wish I could tell you that love was easy.
Unfortunately, very few things in life are as complicated as romance.
How do you know that you’re in love, for example? I mean, most people will tell you that “you just know once it happens”, but not everyone’s instinct is as strong as that.
What’s more, falling in love doesn’t necessarily happen all at once. There are stages, and everyone goes through them differently.
All in all, it’s pretty complex stuff.
There’s one thing I can tell you for sure, though. If you recognize these 10 signs, you’re more in love than you realize.
1) You adore how they smell
Yep, that’s right.
As it turns out, scent plays a vital role in sexual attraction. If your partner or crush smells irresistible to you, it means your body considers them great mating material (in translation: you are likely to have healthy and strong offspring).
“Okay, so that means I’m attracted to them. Big deal. I want to know about love, though!”
Alright, here’s another fact: research shows that scent has an influence on how much women trust their partners, which might impact their feelings of love and commitment.
Plus, I don’t know how about you, but every time I’ve been in love in the past, I just wanted to get completely lost in that person’s scent. It felt safe. Like home.
How about your person? How do they smell to you? If you feel like burying your nose in their neck every time you see them, it’s a big sign you’re more in love than you realize.
2) You literally can’t stop smiling
Falling in love is ecstatic.
It doesn’t have to feel that way straight away, mind you – some people begin to develop gentle feelings before diving in completely – but at some point or another, most of us feel so joyous our mouths literally hurt from smiling.
This isn’t very surprising. When you’re love-struck, your body releases high levels of dopamine, which is a chemical that’s in charge of the reward system in the brain.
Every time you interact with your person or even just think of them, it’s a bit like getting high on drugs. And of course, it feels absolutely amazing.
3) You find even the most boring tasks kind of fun
When I fell in love in my second year of university, the one thing I noticed most was how everything just seemed…kind of fun?
I used to work at a restaurant at that point and spent many evenings waiting for my shift to finally be over so that I could just go home.
Once love was added into the equation, though, I suddenly didn’t mind waiting tables so much. In fact, I was so high on love that I actually enjoyed it, and the only reason I looked forward to the end of my shift was because I was going to see my partner.
When you’re in love, the contours of the whole world shift. You become more optimistic and hopeful. Even washing the dishes is kind of a blast because at least you get to daydream about your person.
4) Your focus goes out the window
As I said, almost every task is fun when you’re in love – that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to focus on it very well, though.
According to research, falling in love decreases your focus and performance. In fact, one particular study says that the more in love you are, the worse your focus is.
So, are you in love more than you realize?
Think of your ability to focus on day-to-day tasks that require some level of attention. If your mind drifts away every few minutes because you just can’t get that lovely face out of your head, you know what it means.
I, for one, realized just how head over heels in love I was through reading fiction. As a huge bookworm, I was flabbergasted when I realized that I literally couldn’t read one whole page without losing track of the story.
I didn’t finish a book for about two months. My love life was just way too exciting.
5) You feel like a teenager again
Do you know that song “Like a Virgin” by Madonna?
That’s how falling in love feels, no matter if you’re eighteen or fifty.
Love is a hormonal mess. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, you name it, they’re all wreaking havoc in their own ways and making you crave one singular person with all your heart.
This emotional hurricane isn’t unlike being a teenager again. What’s more, love makes you so excited that you feel quite youthful because you get the sense that you still have so much beauty and happiness ahead of you.
Hope is a wonderful thing.
6) You love learning new titbits of information about them
When I fell for someone at sixteen, I used to memorize little titbits of information about my crush just to deepen my obsession (because that’s what falling in love is on a chemical level – getting obsessed).
Every new thing I learned made me ecstatic, no matter how small or ridiculous it was.
“Oh, he hates onions! How fascinating!”
Not everyone is as crazy as that, but the point still stands. When you’re in love with someone, you want to know everything about them so that you can love them even more.
Their little quirks are the cutest thing ever. The way they speak is so soothing you could fall asleep to the sound. Their childhood memories are something you want to keep somewhere safe and cherish forever because you consider it an honor that your love interest confided in you.
You’re simply swallowed up by curiosity and wonder.
7) Looking at them is like admiring a painting
Sight is the most valued of the five senses. Is it therefore so surprising that the person you’re falling for looks like the most breathtaking painting you’ve ever seen?
How many times have you listened to them talk and couldn’t even hear the words because you were staring at how a lock of hair perfectly curtained their face or contemplating the immense beauty of their eye color?
Yeah. If you’re so struck by their beauty that you can’t even focus on the conversation, chances are… you’re more in love than you think.
8) Your heart jumps every time they message you
If there’s one thing social media is great at, it’s making sure that your loved one is with you at all times, even when you’re physically not together.
All those hormones we talked about? They don’t go nuts only when you’re around your love interest – they also spike when you interact with them in whichever form.
A message from them is like a reward. And dopamine goes crazy for rewards.
Ask yourself: Do you often check your phone to see if you’ve received a text? And does your heart jump when you do, your lips widening in a happy smile?
Sounds like love to me.
9) You aren’t interested in dating other people
Don’t get me wrong, sexual attraction isn’t something that necessarily only applies to one particular person at a time. You can be in a happy relationship and still find others attractive.
However, the early stages of falling in love are so very intense that people rarely feel any desire to even look at someone else.
Each time I fell in love, I had such tunnel vision that other people became just that. People.
I could see no sexual or romantic potential whatsoever. I was too busy thinking about my significant other.
10) You’re terrified and excited at the same time
Love is wonderful. It’s also really freaking scary.
Falling in love means you’re opening your heart to someone. It means you’re putting all your defenses aside, becoming vulnerable, and trusting another person not to hurt you.
It means you’re willingly stepping into a life where heartbreak is a very real possibility.
And it’s terrifying.
But you know what? Everyone’s scared when they fall in love. It’s part of the process.
Everything that’s worth something comes with its own obstacles. In love, that obstacle is fear.
But once you decide to face it and jump in anyway…you’re choosing to create something beautiful.
Enjoy it for what it is. After all, being in love is one of the most marvelous things a human could ever experience.