8 things a man does when he’s falling in love, according to psychology

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Love really is what makes the world go around. Certainly, it’s one of the major things that makes life worth living.

So you might think, given that love moves mountains and launches fleets and burns cities to the ground, that it would be easy to know when a man is falling in love.

But that’s not always the case.

You see, men are trained from an early age not to show their feelings.

Plus, love always involves a risk. Putting your heart out there is practically inviting it to get broken, and many men struggle with the emotional vulnerability it takes to acknowledge that they are falling in love.

In fact, we are so good at hiding this from ourselves that sometimes we don’t even realize ourselves when we are falling in love.

So whether you’re trying to figure out if a man you know is developing strong feelings, or you yourself aren’t sure if you are falling in love or not, psychology can help.

Here are some things men often do when they are falling in love. If you notice some of the people around you or find yourself doing them, maybe it’s because love is in the air.

1) He pays more attention

One of the first signs that a man is falling in love is that he starts paying more attention to the object of his affection.

He will become much more interested in their needs, feelings, and emotions. He will also remember things they told him, little details that he might not remember about others that he is less attracted to.

It’s a scientific fact that emotion effects our ability to remember things.

When we can attach deep emotion to a particular detail, we are more likely to remember it.

And of course, it’s easier to remember details when we are paying close attention in the first place.

So if a man starts remembering little things like the birthday of the person he is drawn to or the number of siblings they have, it might be because he is falling in love.

2) He becomes more emotionally open

As I mentioned earlier, men are still socialized in many ways to avoid showing emotion. That’s less true than it used to be, but it still remains the case that many men grow up under the impression that showing strong emotion is unmanly – especially when those emotions are ones of love and affection.

When a man starts falling in love, a lot of that socialization goes out of the window.

Mental health counselor Kimberly Smith points out that if a man confides in you and opens up to you emotionally, it’s a strong sign that he has powerful feelings for you.

Often, this kind of emotional openness is very difficult for men, so it takes a strong feeling of attachment and love to get them out of their comfort zone and willing to share their feelings.

3) He stays close

Love requires a kind of emotional closeness and intimacy. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I mean that when a man starts to fall in love, he may actually get physically closer.

We all want to be around the people that we love. Makes sense, right?

So when a man first starts falling in love, he will want to be close to the object of his attachment.

We all have an innate biological drive to touch the people we love. So when a man starts falling for someone, he will take any opportunity to be around them and even touch them.

It could be a gentle hand on the other person’s arm or shoulder. It could be a playful tap on their leg. It could be holding hands once a relationship is been established.

There are many different ways for this desire for physical closeness and touch to show itself. But whenever you notice it, it’s a strong sign of a man in love.

4) He gets protective

Men have a deep need to protect the people they love.

After all, there’s a reason men are, in general, stronger and more aggressive than women.

From an evolutionary perspective, part of the role of men in early human society was to protect their families and tribes, both from other men and from other dangers like wild animals.

The world has changed a lot since then, but psychology hasn’t always kept up. Many men still feel a strong drive to protect people they love.

Signs of this protectiveness include:

  • Checking in on you regularly;
  • Walking you to your door or car;
  • Making sure you get home safe;
  • Defending you from criticism;
  • Being concerned about your health and well-being.

These days, men don’t have to protect their women from rampaging Neanderthals or sabertooth tigers. But the urge to protect has not gone away, and it can be a powerful sign of a man falling in love.

5) He plans for the future

This is one of the clearest signs of a man who is in it for the long haul.

You’ll hear it in the way he talks. Instead of making plans for his own future, he will certainly start making plans for a shared future with you or the person he is falling for.

He’ll start saying things like, “we should go here on vacation,” or, “when we have kids,” or, “once we’ve retired…”

These are powerful signs of a man who is in love, because it indicates he can’t see a future without the other person in it.

“Futurizing with your mate is a healthy activity that will make you both happier, because as you look at the future, you’ll be creating things to look forward to, and that’s where happiness comes from,” writes therapist Barton Goldsmith.

“One thing that successful relationships all have in common is that the couples in them make plans for the future, both near and long term,” he adds.

6) He changes his behavior

If you suspect a man is falling in love, keep a close eye on his behavior. Because if he is truly in love, his behavior may change in ways that can be quite subtle, but are powerful.

For example, a man may take up new hobbies if it gives him more opportunities to be close to the object of his affection. Or he may make changes in his lifestyle, such as working out more to be more attractive.

You may even start focusing more on his career in an attempt to be a better partner.

These changes can be both conscious and unconscious. But if a man suddenly starts behaving differently, it might be a sign that he’s falling in love.

7) He changes his mood

Love does a number on our brains. As couples therapists and Harvard Medical School professors Richard Schwartz and Jacqueline Olds point out, falling in love releases powerful chemicals in our brains that can change both our behaviors and our emotions.

For example, the flood of oxytocin that comes with developing a deep attachment to someone else makes us happier, and at the same time fuels our desire to be close to one another.

If a man suddenly seems happier and more joyful than he used to be, it might be because love has changed his outlook on the world.

At the same time, you probably don’t need me to tell you that love isn’t always a picnic. Sometimes, it can make us miserable. If a man is falling for someone that he thinks is unattainable, for whatever reason, he may in fact become more visibly upset and unhappy.

8) He puts in the effort

As a man starts to fall for someone, he may start putting more effort into the relationship he has with the person he’s falling for.

He may start planning dates. He may stop focusing on personal growth. He may make the effort to show more affection and leave the other person in no doubt about how he feels.

He may also start taking more care over his appearance.

Psychologist Benjamin Hadden pointed out in a 2018 survey of how love relationships begin that people often start taking more care of their personal appearance when they are falling for someone.

After all, it makes sense. As a general rule, men don’t take the same care over the way they look as many women do, but once they start falling in love, they want to become attractive to the person they are falling for.

Signs of a man falling in love

 For lots of reasons, many men occasionally try to hide how they feel when they are falling for someone. But that doesn’t mean they are always successful.

Keep an eye out for these signs of a man who is falling in love. Whether it’s with you, or whether you are the man in question, these signs can give a clue to how a guy really feels.

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