From the first romantic film she ever sees, every girl thinks they have an idea of what it's supposed to look like to fall in love: lingering glances, post-coital cuddling, candlelit dinners, wonderfully deep conversations, and lots of walking in sunsets while holding hands. However, that picture the movies paint is a bit skewed from what the experience actually feels like. It turns out, the stages of falling in love are much better expressed through our trusted friends — emojis.
I know: 🤔. But hear me out. There is a lot of science involved when we talk about falling in love. Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, psychologist for eHarmony, broke it down into five stages for every woman: butterflies, building, assimilation, honesty, and stability. Real, physical body stuff is happening when a lady catches the feels, as hormones and neurochemicals that control anxiety, lust, attraction, happiness, bonding, and attachment are all released.
But in laymen's terms, falling in love is kind of a hot mess that tosses you around and turns your brain into mush. It's hard to make sense of all that scientific jargon and data, especially if you aren't a certified psychologist. It may sound silly, but emojis are the new language of the heart, and that's according to a linguist. So here are the most relatable stages of falling in love, as told by emojis.
Stage One: Heart Eyes 😍
Heart Eyes is that poster of Justin Timberlake or Katy Perry that you hung on your bedroom wall as a teenager. You get all giddy looking at it, your heart starts to flutter, and maybe you secretly talk to it late at night, just a little bit, not in a weird way...
Every time you see the object of your affection, Stage One crushing gives you sweaty palms and a little flutter in your chest. But it's mostly all eyes. Your attachment doesn't get much deeper than really liking what you see (and liking whatever fantasy you're probably projecting onto him/her).
Stage Two: Wink Kiss 😘
At this point, you and your crush start talking to each other. You're all, "OMG, we're talking to each other." Heck, this person is more than just looks. They're surprisingly as fantastic inside as they are hot. Too good to be true? Maybe. But suddenly, you're feeling a little Wink Kiss-flirty, which is like an adrenaline rush and a sexy, little confidence booster all in one.
Stage Three, Part One: The Bride 👰
Things are progressing at hyper-speed at this point... well, in your daydreams at least. You're wondering, "Will they get along with my family? What kind of inside jokes will they have with my dad? What's their shoe size? Would a trip to Paris be more romantic in the fall or spring? What style of wedding dress do I want to wear?"
Is my heartbeat the only one escalating right now, or what?
Stage Three, Part Two: Face-Palming 🤦♀️
Then, Stage Three, Part Two comes in, and you just take to face-palming yourself over and over and over again for getting so carried away. Luckily, that was all internal. Reel it back, you tell yourself. But can you? You're kind of freaking out. No, you're really freaking out. Another face palm might help. OK, that's better.
Stage Four: Shrugging It Off 🤷
Stage Four arrives with an Ariana Grande-style shrug. Going a little overboard is natural, so you're just gonna have to accept the process. Relax and just enjoy it. This mega hottie is just a person, after all. Just another regular, everyday person...
Stage Five, Part One: Little Pink Hearts 💕
...but you want them to be your person. You start shaking all the defenses, excuses, and fantasies, and that makes room for little pink hearts to start flying all around. And it dawns on you: What you're feeling is real.
Stage Five, Part Two: Twin Dancers 👯
Yes! Happy dance. This is friggin' amazing. You admit it, you accept it, and this relationship happening. Oh, boy, it's happening.
What you need, more than anything right now (besides your gal or guy), is a twin dancers night out with your best friends to celebrate. You need to confide, discuss, cheers, and, ultimately, just dance it out.
Stage Six: Full-On Big Red Heart ❤️️
Red Heart alert. It's the final stage: love. Simple, pure, and all-encompassing. At this point, it feels like there's nothing else you can think, say, or do, besides accepting the universal symbol for "I've fallen. Hard."
OK, I know we're talking emoji here, and I started out by saying that the movies give us an inaccurate portrayal of what it feels like to fall in love... but dammit, if The Notebook is not what love is, then I never want to Red Heart again.
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