Dating, Decoded
new couple wondering whether it's too soon to fall in love

Am I Falling In Love Too Quickly?

I feel super strongly about her, but it’s only been a few months.

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Q: I’ve been with my partner for almost two months. When we met, we had an instant connection and had so many similarities. We’re in a long-distance relationship, her being in Florida and me being in London, but we talk almost every single day for hours despite the five-hour time difference.

This is my first WLW and long-distance relationship, so it is all quite new and exciting but also a bit scary. We have healthy communication and are both focused on our individual healing. Ever since I met her, I’ve been happier and want to be a better person.

We have said “I love you,” but more in the “as a human” way — not in the romantic way because we think it’s way too soon and neither of us wants to jinx it. We decided we would stop saying it until we feel it in both ways. However, I do feel like I fall in love with her a bit more each day, but it feels wrong because it’s only been two months. It’s probably just infatuation, right? What do you think? — Michelle

A: Hi, Michelle! I smiled so hard when I read your letter, my cheeks hurt. I’m so happy that you and your partner get to experience this kind of whirlwind romance. It sounds so pure and exciting.

As you acknowledge, your relationship is very new. If your love story was a movie, this would be the part where there’s an adorable montage of you two staying up late to FaceTime across time zones, booking trans-Atlantic flights, making out in the airport, running through the rain, riding bikes, swapping ice cream cones, bursting into laughter over inside jokes, and locking eyes over a candlelit table at an Italian restaurant, all set to an upbeat pop song. (A cover of Taylor Swift’s “London Boy,” rewritten as “London Girl,” obviously.)

You’re in the honeymoon stage, which means the feel-good hormones dopamine and oxytocin are flooding your brain right now. Your hypothalamus is basically wearing rose-colored glasses. This phase doesn’t last forever — most research says it ranges from a few months to two years. And just for the record, it’s not like your relationship turns to stale drudgery after that. If your connection is strong, the honeymoon phase gives way to an incredibly meaningful, satisfying kind of intimacy and trust.

If you think you’re infatuated, you’re kind of right — but that doesn’t necessarily mean your feelings aren’t real. You can be on a hormone high and be legitimately falling in love at the same time. Let yourself enjoy it.

One person might claim it takes six months to know if you’re in love; another might believe it can happen in weeks. Neither are wrong.

The thing is, it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly what constitutes love. Is it the unshakable belief that you’ll want to spend the rest of your lives together? The freedom to be your most authentic self? A rock-solid sense of safety? Intense passion? Finding the other person hot even when they have morning breath? A combination of all the above, or something else entirely? Maybe! Love takes a unique shape for each of us, and it can change over the course of our lifetimes. If you’ve had strong feelings for someone before, it probably feels a little different this time around — that’s normal. Those feelings should evolve as you learn more about who you are and what you want.

I was going to say there’s no checklist that can determine whether you’re in love, but actually, this is the Internet — there are plenty of them. If you read any, take what resonates with you and toss out the rest. Love isn’t one-size-fits-all. One person might claim it takes six months to know if you’re in love for real; another might believe it can happen in mere weeks. Neither of them are wrong.

Also, there’s no limit on how many times you can say “I love you” to someone new. You shouldn’t run around dropping L-bombs every time you get a hint of a new crush, because that’s a pretty immature way of messing with other people’s feelings — but it’s absolutely OK to say it multiple times to different people as long you truly care for them. Nobody is out there counting how many people you fall in love with. And if you say “ILY” and your feelings fade later on, that doesn’t mean you jinxed it or that your emotions at the time weren’t valid.

All that said, I do have one question for you. Have you two met in person yet? If not, I’d suggest doing that as soon as possible to further solidify your connection. As dating coach Diana Dorell previously told Elite Daily, it’s totally possible to form a strong connection with someone you haven’t met face-to-face, but you risk falling in love with the idea of them rather than who they actually are. Chemistry might feel different in the real world, so test that out as soon as you can.

Here’s what I want you to do: Keep enjoying your new relationship. Plan a visit if you haven’t met IRL yet. Trust your gut when it tells you you’re in love, and say it whenever you’re ready. And — this last one is important — give the relationship some breathing room when you are apart. I promise your bond will become stronger if you maintain your individual friendships and interests, too. A little absence makes the heart grow fonder — and it just might bring clarity about how you really feel.

Dating, Decoded appears on Elite Daily once a month. Have a question for Hannah? Submit it here.

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