How Long It Takes To Fall In Love With Someone, As Explained By 18 Men & Women

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man and woman falling in love

Everybody's a little bit different.

If you Google the phrase "how long does it take to fall in love," you're going to get a lot of hits. Trust me, because it's a thing I totally just did.

Among the search results, as is often the way with Google, there were some lists, some expert opinions, and some totally unhelpful sources of "information."

However, even if you look at all the data that exists, it remains impossible to come away with a perfect formula that will allow you to figure out exactly how long it will take for you (or anyone else) to fall in love.

You see, love isn't some magical gate that suddens opens and allows you to walk through. You don't just look up and realize that you have reached your destination.

Falling in love is a process and, in fact, many people would go so far as to say that when it's real, you never stop falling in love with someone.

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That is surely a romantic thing to say, but also a totally unhelpful one, right?

In order to fully love another person, you need to spend quality time with them — emphasis on the word quality. You need to spend the kind of time together where you're learning about the other person and what they're like at their best and at their worst, which means you need to be willing to let the other person see you at your best and worst in return.

For some people, this takes days; for others, it takes years.

I decided to ask a group of men and women (who shall remain anonymous) to share their thoughts with me in order to help shed some light on this complicated question. It was fascinating to see what they had to say.

Here's how long it takes for a man or woman to fall in love with someone, according to men and women.

1. After you've taken enough time to get to know each other.

"2 years."

2. It depends on the person.

"I think it depends on the person. I think to really fall in love with someone you need the time to get to know them, and that’s faster with some people than others. I’ve had friends who turned into crushes who I later realized I loved, but for me it took getting to know them to suddenly have this deep emotional reaction to even thinking about them. I don’t think I can put a time on it, but if I had to, three months ...

"But I don't think you are really in love until you've been with someone long enough to find out their faults and love them in spite of them. For me, it only took a couple of months. The hardest and quickest I’ve ever fallen."

3. Your own maturity plays a role.

"I’ve been In love once and I married him. No, I’m not a hopeless romantic who married her high school sweetheart. Pretty much the exact opposite. A ridiculous pragmatist who never saw the point. Also, ewwww to feelings and vulnerability. I would say it took 25-year-old me 7 months to allow myself permission to be in love and then another 2 to tell my partner."

4. I wasn't sure.

"I feel like the two times I *really* fell hard for someone, we’d been hanging out/dating/hooking up for about a month. Then the prospect of a day/night without him was strangely disappointing. Then another month goes by — a day/night where we weren’t part of each other’s day actually made the day feel incomplete. So one month until I suspected I was in love ... two months until I knew for sure."

5. You just know ...

"It can be a very short time. Someone can come into your life and you just know."

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6. Becoming infatuated and falling in love take different amounts of time.

"I think it takes time for true love. At least a few years. Infatuation can be immediate, though."

7. It depends on a combination of factors.

"Have you had a significant disagreement where both of you actually acted liked rational adults and discussed it calmly, coming to a mutually acceptable conclusion? Have you been able to say no to something and not have the other person pout? How about demonstrated to your Important Person that you've got their back in a fraught situation? Understood and acted upon the fact that there are some situations where the other person's needs far outweigh your own?

None of those situations have to have been major occurrences. It's just as likely that all of them could have been. Most likely they're a combination. If you're finding that your first reaction to those situations usually entails thinking of the potential impact on the person you believe you love, and second, on how the two of you will handle them, together, then you're probably actually, really, in love. Every relationship proceeds at a pace dictated as much by the pressures brought upon it from outside as it does on the desires of those involved."

8. There are different types of love, and some happen before others.

"I think falling into love can happen pretty quickly. I don't think that it's love that causes a long-term sustainable relationship, I think it's compatibility, trust, loyalty, good communication, etc. When you're in a relationship with someone for a long time, the amount of love you feel ebbs and flows because love is an emotion. What you do with that emotion is up to you!"

9. Sometimes you miss it happening.

"It can be pretty quick, over the course of a conversation. You probably can't know it until later. Or at least I never trust my gut. I try to make myself wait to jump into that. But sometimes I'm bad at that. Sometimes it just hits me so fast and hard I can't deny it and it's a matter of not blurting it too early that I chase her away."

10. Forever ...

"I guess it depends on what 'fall in love with' means. Be very strongly attracted? Moments. Become vulnerable to each other and develop trust and companionship that can last forever? Years, if ever."

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11. However long it takes to show the real you.

"As long as it takes to share the 'real' you and receive the same courtesy in return. For me, it took a few months."

12. A year, but only if you live in the same place.

"A year, in the same town, and I am currently married to my long-distance relationship, so I'm not hating, but there's something very different about knowing someone when they can't show just their best self. When you see their worst self, you know if it's love."

13. A year because the first six months are just the honeymoon stage.

"About a year, because the first six months or so really are a sort of honeymoon phase, trite as the expression is, and then as time passes and your partner's flaws become more apparent, by the year mark an honest, observant person should be able to tell whether their doubts and misgivings are compounding (however slowly) or becoming part of the fabric of one's affection, as well as discern whether they're feeling the same way about you."

14. It depends on what love means to you.

"Depends on your definition of love. An instant to fall, but years to see someone completely enough to know if you really love them as they actually are. To me, the question is how long does it take to really and truly know another person? And of course, you can never be 100 percent sure you do fully know someone else because the universe is strange more than a little cruel."

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15. Falling in love and loving somebody are two different things.

"I think falling in love and loving somebody are different. I could fall in love with someone in less then a week, maybe even a day. To love someone and know your lives, personalities and goals are compatible together and have future potential takes longer. This varies based on the people and their dating circumstances, for example: Do they live together? Are they in a long-distance relationship? Are they still dating other people?

So it's hard to put any definitive number to that. In my own experience, living with someone for 6 months to a year should give you a better idea if the relationship can last. But love is changing often, so this is an extremely difficult thing to answer to an audience. It’s like the tide and ocean waves. You can truly feel in love one moment, and in the next, it could be fleeting."

16. After you've lived together.

"When you start living together. I think you need to live with them long enough to see them a) really angry b) really sad c) really ill and d) really into something you dislike and be okay with all of them. That may take different amounts of time, but I don't think you can call it real love if you haven't seen all of them and accepted them with anything less than compassion."

17. Never less than a year.

"It never took me less than a year from the moment I met someone, usually more like 2 years. But I once fell for a friend of 13 years, another time with a women I had known for 16 years."

18. When my walls come down.

"I guess this is the time I need to get used to their proximity, learn to know them and let the defenses down. It doesn't feel like a voluntary process, by the way. I simply find myself slowly opening up the more I get into a women. And at some point, I realize I'm connected to her in an unmissable way, and I can say 'I'm in love' without a doubt."

RELATED: 18 Signs You've Fallen Into Genuine True Love With Your Soulmate

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.