A lot of people who come to me with this question have been in love before. In fact, most of them have… and this is what they find so confusing. Let me tell you a bit about Ana Rosa. I started working with her not too long ago because she came to me for advice about her budding relationship. She had been seeing her new guy, Joseph for about two and a half months and things were going well. They had a ton of things in common, they had so much fun together, their dates were exciting, their physical chemistry was great, they had really good communication… On paper it all looked really good. But Ana Rosa couldn’t tell if she was falling in love with him or if she just appreciated him as a person. This was her first question for me.
She wanted to know how long it takes to fall in love with someone because she couldn’t figure out whether she should be in love with Joseph at this point, or if it was normal that she wasn’t quite sure yet, or if she even felt that way about him… I completely understood her frustration because this is a common thing that happens in a specific situation. So, I decided to dive deeper. We needed to take a look at her last big relationship.
I wanted to know how she felt about that last man that she was truly in love with, and what the dynamics were in that relationship. Ana Rosa told me about her ex that she dated for four years, and she thought that he was the love of her life. The relationship had ended about three years ago, and it was a very bad breakup. The relationship started out as something from a fairytale – they fell so hard for one another right off the bat, and it turned into a whirlwind romance that unfortunately did not have the foundation to last.
She had moved to a different country to be with him, and for about two years, their life together was incredible. She explained to me that she never knew that she could feel like that about someone. They were madly in love, and she knew that she loved him with all her heart. She saw her entire future with him, so when things started to crumble, she fought tooth and nail to save the relationship. The problem was that he couldn’t find a way to combine his love for her with his love of being single, traveling the world alone. As you can imagine, this was excruciating for Ana Rosa, and despite his love for her, he would push her away and then pull her back in. It became a pattern that became toxic, and once she knew that she had tried everything that she could to save the relationship and still was unable to, she decided to walk.
Then came the long healing process during which she did so much personal development work. She recognized that she loved him more than anything, but there was no sugarcoating it: the relationship was not healthy and it was not sustainable. So after a few years of casual dating, she was ready to start dating seriously. And that is when Joseph came into the picture. They had met on a dating app and as she explained to me, everything about him was great on paper, but she wasn’t sure what she was feeling for him. It would make sense for her to fall in love with him because he was such a good guy, but was she falling in love?
So we needed to talk about a very common issue that happens after a painful breakup like the one she experienced. When there are toxic elements to a relationship like there were in her relationship with her ex, a very interesting thing begins to happen on a subconscious level. A person can start to become addicted to the high highs that follow the low lows. It’s that feeling of making up and coming back together. In severe cases, this becomes cyclical where a couple will subconsciously create tension so that they can then make up and feel that rush of emotions. These emotional ups and downs are very obvious, so it is not uncommon for a person to associate the highs with love.
The problem, of course, is that afterwards, when they find themselves in a more stable relationship, they aren’t sure if it’s love. They wonder if the lack of these emotional spikes signifies that love is not present, and it can be very challenging for them to determine what kind of emotions they are experiencing.
So, all that to say that love is a complex emotion and it comes in different forms – some of which are more sustainable than others! Let’s take a look at how to gauge its timeline.