Falling in love with someone is a truly beautiful experience…
It’s also terrifying, exhilarating, nauseating, and generally a veritable rollercoaster of emotion that’s wonderful and hideous at turns.
If you’re fortunate enough to have met someone special and think you’re falling in love with them, you’ll likely experience the following.
In fact, pretty much everyone who has ever fallen for another has gone through these stages, so you can be certain that most of the people in your life can relate to what you’re going through.
Hell, most films and TV series have drawn from these steps when portraying realistic relationships, because people can relate to them.
Think you might be falling in love? Here’s what to expect:
Stage One: Realization That You’re Interested In This Person As More Than A Friend
This often strikes out of nowhere and leaves you with your jaw hanging somewhere around Antarctica.
One minute you’re sharing lunch with a colleague, and the next minute, your takeout pad thai is getting cold because you’re enraptured by the way their nose bobs up and down when they chew.
Then it hits you: holy hells, you like this person.
After this realization hits, it doesn’t take long before some kind of a date is arranged, whether it’s drinks after work, or a movie, or a shared meal… without the guy who sits next to you at work and eats Cheetos all day tagging along.
Stage Two: Preoccupation
The person you’re falling for is constantly in your thoughts.
You overfill your coffee cup because you’re thinking about them, your eyes glaze over in class or during a meeting at work because you’re trying to determine your next step.
You miss a deadline because you were thinking about how they looked the last time you saw them, instead of being able to focus on your tasks.
Seriously, they fill your every waking thought, and might even keep you from proper sleep at night.
Stage Three: Idolization
Everything they do is just so cute, isn’t it? Yeaaaah. It is. It REALLY is.
Also known as “the smittening,” this stage turns you into a quibbling mess of heartsick jelly that’s just oozing with delight about everything your partner does.
You may fall for their fondness for huge, messy sandwiches that they get all over themselves when they eat, or find the way they snore at night to be completely adorable.
You’re peeling back onion layers and getting to know this person better, and pretty much every single thing they do is the most endearing thing in the whole entire world.
They can do no wrong, they’re amazing, and you want to just sew yourselves together so you never, ever need to be apart ever again ever.
This is where you’re getting seriously involved with the person, but you’re still uncertain about exactly how they feel about you because you’re too nervous to discuss it, so you’re awkward and flustered and you worry about what you say (BREATHE) and think that they probably believe you’re a complete idiot and did they notice that you forgot your deodorant today omg you better not hug them too closely (BREATHE) but if you don’t hug them then they might think you don’t really like them as much as you do but you don’t want them to think you smell and and and (PANICKED BREATHING)…
^ Like that.
At this point, you’ll obsess about everything from whether you waited too long to send a text reply to if you ordered something too snooty the last time you went out to eat.
You’re walking on imaginary eggshells, thinking that they have you and your behaviors under a microscope.
They’re likely just as insecure as you are, and you’re both doing the emotional equivalent of running around like panicked emus while desperately trying to keep it cool on the outside.
You might be scouring your partner’s social media accounts to try to find clues that they’re interested in other people, or checking their phone when they’re in the bathroom, or any other number of things that make you a giant asshole.
We get it, you’re scared, but don’t be a d*ck.
Don’t assume: ask.
Then ask more. And talk more.
Stage Nine: Do, Or Do Not
This is the stage at which you either find yourself wanting to cement “whatever this is” into a relationship, or finally run screaming because you’re overwhelmed by your own emotions.
If you love this person and want to cultivate something authentic with them, be brave and take the leap.
Stage Ten: Union
If you’ve managed to get through step nine without fleeing in abject terror, chances are you and your partner have had a good talk and decided to make a go of a relationship.
This is awesome.
A sincere partnership with someone you care about really is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things a person can experience in a lifetime, and love – real love – is the most powerful force on the planet.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.