Falling in love is a fascinating experience, but it’s not always what we think it’s going to be. While growing up, we consume a lot of information that makes us think we understand what the signs you’re in love are and what being in love is all about. But the romance found in Disney movies isn’t always how it goes down. Likewise, if you read romance novels or even novels that incorporate romance, they can make you believe that anything is possible in the world of love. That one day, you wake up, it clicks, and you just know.
This idea of finding “the one” can make the whole process of falling in love very confusing. Is he or she the one? How are any of us supposed to know if we’re actually in love or if we’re just in love with the idea of being in love?
It’s a big, confusing world of love and life out there. But there really are some tell-tale signs you’re in love that can help you figure it out.
Here are eight important signs you’re in love:
1. You don’t feel pain.
And yes, I mean physical pain. (And yes, this is actually true!) Studies have shown that love really is a bit of a drug, and intense love actually has the ability to relieve pain. As written in the New York Times, a study at Stanford University showed that there’s a major link between love and pain. After studying the brains of 15 different college students who claimed to be in love, the study found that their responses to pain were just a bit more delayed than usual. Researchers studied the pain response in the students under three different scenarios. When a bit of heat was placed on the palm of their hands, while looking at a picture of someone they were in love with, they were less likely to feel severe pain. So if you’re knocking into walls or stubbing your toe while thinking about your one true love, don’t be surprised if you magically feel okay.
2. You feel like you’re on drugs.
This sounds extremely dramatic, but there’s truth behind it. When you first fall in love, and at times throughout your love story, you may like you’re on a sort of drug high. According to a 2010 study at Rutgers University, falling in love can produce a very similar sensation to getting high. When you’re in love, your brain releases euphoria, which can occur at various times throughout your cycle of love, and helps you solidify the bond between you and your partner.
3. You’re interested in new things. (That just happen to be about them.)
This doesn’t just apply to new sensations in your world, but in the literal sense. If you find yourself drawn to more new ideas and experiences than you’ve ever been interested in before, chances are, you’re in love. For example, if your new partner is involved in improv, you may find your Friday and Saturday nights completely entwined with laugh out loud comedy. If your partner is a huge soccer fan, you may find yourself with season tickets to see your local team. If your partner is a tax attorney, all of a sudden you may understand the IRS a lot more than you ever had before. If you’re in love with someone, you will find yourself more and more interested in what they care about. And the good news is, everyone likes new hobbies.
4. You check your phone a lot.
Many of us are already kind of super-glued to our phones.But when you’re in love, you may find yourself even more likely to quickly respond to a text message or even (gasp!) more likely to pick up a phone call. It’s a common joke that no one likes talking on the phone anymore, but when you’re in love, you may find that you make an exception for that special someone.
5. You check social media a lot.
Consider yourself lucky if you’re falling in love with someone who is not much of a social media user. Otherwise, consider yourself even more addicted to those social platforms. Not every couple is an “Instagram Couple” but you might be. If you find yourself posting a bunch of cute pictures and generally leaning into the corniness of the world wide web, you may just be in love.
6. You feel sick.
Nobody likes being sick, but being lovesick really is a scientific phenomenon. If you notice your heart racing, your hands getting sweaty, your stomach filling with flutters that kind of make you feel nauseous, don’t rush to the doctor. You really may just be in love. The stimulation of adrenaline and norepinephrine is legitimately something that happens to most of us when we’re in love. You can truly feel like you have the flu when really, you’re just overwhelmed with those feelings of love. (There’s no medicine for it!) You may also experience symptoms like appetite loss and feeling kind of nauseous. What a world.
7. You catch yourself smiling.
This sign is a little more pleasant than all of that flu stuff. If you happen to check your phone in front of a friend, chances are they’ll tease you about the big smile plastered across your face. It’s a common theme in movies and television shows and there’s a reason why. When someone is in love, you can almost always tell by the big ol’ smile on their face.
8. Your sex drive is higher.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re in love with someone, you’re more interested in being intimate than you may have been with a partner you cared less for. At the beginning of a relationship in particular, it’s pretty common for people (especially women) to want to be intimate with their partner all the time. Mixing love and pleasure is a really good thing, so embrace it!
Just like every person is different, every love is different. When you fall in love, it may not look exactly like any other time you have fallen in love. Different people allow for different experiences, and age, gender, and plenty of other factors come into play when you’re falling in love. What will always be true however, is if you think you’re in love, you just might be. If you find yourself dreaming of your partner—if you find yourself thinking of them first thing in the morning and at the end of each night—you’re most likely falling in love. It’s a beautiful, strange, and wonderful experience. Enjoy it!