Although a man’s emotions are just as deep and lasting as a woman’s, he doesn’t tap into them in the quite the same way.
If you’re single and looking for a committed relationship, understanding how men fall in love can be very empowering—the first step toward making healthy romantic choices. Women often experience love as something that “just happens” to us. The idea that men follow a slower and more deliberate process can be hard to believe and even harder to embrace. If you can accept this hard-wired difference, you’ll find that romance is as easy as stepping back and allowing a man to fall in love with you.
For years, you’ve heard men describe their slow-cooked emotions in a way that is a teensy bit misleading.
“It was love at first sight!” is how your confirmed bachelor friend will announce his engagement. It’s true that immediate, physical attraction does act like a bolt of lightning—producing that “my life will never be the same again” feeling. But do you really think he never felt that intense jolt with anyone else, ever before?
The truth is, he may no longer remember those other women who sparked a brief interest (not vividly, anyway) because he wasn’t able to complete the falling-in-love process with them. He reached a point where his infatuation cooled, but love wasn’t simmering in the background, ready to take its place. That can be a very disappointing feeling.
Men and women each long to experience the fireworks of a true emotional connection. No one wants to arrive at the 3-month or 6-month relationship mark and think, “Is that all there is?” Memories of those failed connections tend to fade quickly because the passion is already gone. (Did his “forgotten” women move on quite as easily? —perhaps not, if they believed the connection was deeper.)
2 Truths About How Men Fall in Love:
TRUTH 1: Listen politely, but skeptically, to a man’s stories of love at first sight.
Those stories are fun, but they feed the illusion that love “just happens,” and may prevent you from taking control of your own romantic outcomes.
You have the power to be the woman who men fall deeply in love with. Here’s the key: he falls in love only as he recognizes and acknowledges the amount of effort he is required to put into the relationship to keep it going. If he has to stretch and grunt to get across each relationship goal line, then he can’t help but acknowledge the effort that he is putting in. If he has to work to see you—which includes not seeing you as often as you’d both like to—then he will find out what it is to miss you. If he has to wait to become intimate with you, then he will be a little unsure of your feelings for him, and he will ultimately acknowledge that your value to him is greater than that of a “sure thing” or friend with benefits.
As a relationship advances, there are decisions that he must wrestle with:
- You’ve just met at a party. He really likes you and would like to ask you out, but you live 2 hours away. Is the 4-hour drive worth it?
- You’ve been dating for 3 months, but want to wait a bit longer before having sex. He believes that if you truly had feelings for him you wouldn’t want to wait. All his friends agree with him and are encouraging him to break up. Should he listen to them or stick with you?
- You’ve been dating for 6 months and he complains that you only see him a couple nights a week. His female co-worker advises him that you must be seeing other men on the side—any woman in love will “drop everything” to be with her guy. Should he listen to his friend or continue to accommodate your hectic schedule?
TRUTH 2: A man falls in love in the spaces in between your dates—when he has a moment to reflect on your importance to him.
Each move forward requires him to stretch.
When you’re apart, he will say to himself: “I must love her because last week I [moved her brother into his dorm room / drove 6 hours to see her for 20 minutes / took her mother shopping]. I’ve never made that kind of effort for a woman before.” This is how love sneaks up on a man, privately, in small moments of reflection. When he realizes that he doesn’t care what his single buddies are saying. He is sticking with this relationship because it has meaning for him.
And you can smile inwardly someday when at your wedding reception, he tells a roomful of people that he “just knew” you were “The One.”