How Do Men Fall In Love? Tips For Reading Your Significant Other

Updated May 6, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
“Regardless of gender, reading someone can be complex and everyone gives off different signals. Affirm yourself for putting yourself out there while also knowing some of the unknowns in dating make it exciting. Falling in love is a beautiful thing, but it is also okay to be scared.” - Ryan Smith, LPC, NCC

Gauging someone’s feelings, particularly in matters of romance, may involve learning to read their behaviors and potentially “decode” what they’re saying about falling in love when you communicate. While generalizing isn’t always helpful, and it’s always best to approach the topic directly, it’s normal to feel apprehensive about talking to a man about his feelings about you. 

How men fall in love

There are several things to keep in mind about men when it comes to how they fall in love—some of them may fit better with heterosexual relationships, but most of them are flexible and can apply to everyone.

To provide some clues, it may be helpful first to learn what science has to say on the matter:

Chemicals and evolution can play an important role

Our brain chemistry plays a significant role in what makes humans fall in love. When men fall in love, their brains flood with dopamine, norepinephrine, phenylethylamine, oxytocin, and testosterone, creating a rush of positive emotions. Though pheromones' role (or even existence) in humans has been disputed, there’s compelling new evidence that these chemicals are frequently activated by a woman’s pheromones, which are chemical scents we give off that are undetectable to the nose but irresistible to the brain.

Some men also seem to fall out of love more quickly than others because the same chemicals may facilitate the “high” associated with being deeply in love, yet subside as a relationship mellows and gets more comfortable. If a man becomes dependent on the “thrill of the chase,” and that thrill wears off, he may look for it again with someone else. In that way, when a man falls in love, he may not always know how permanent his feelings are.

Men may fall in love first

A recent study in the Journal of Social Psychology surveyed 172 college students, finding that men reported falling in love faster than women and professed their passion earlier in relationships than their female counterparts. According to co-author Marissa Harrison, “Women are assumed to be emotional, sometimes overly so, or rash,” she says. “Both men and women in our study presumed that women would fall in love and say, “I love you” faster than men.” Despite common perceptions, according to research, it's likely a man falls for a potential partner earliest most of the time. However, it's important not to draw overly general conclusions about how all men fall in love with a potential dating partner.

According to London-based psychologist Neil Lamont, however, these study findings shouldn’t be surprising at all. “Meaningful relating is as important to men as it is to women. And while societal and cultural norms may have dictated that men should be strong and resilient, the reality is [that] a well-lived life for men will typically involve deep and meaningful, loving relationships.”

You think he’s in love, but it’s hard to read his behavior

Ways to tell a man is falling in love

Despite the light that science sheds on the matter, there is no formula that predicts falling in love. Men fall in love for many reasons; sometimes, they may not even recognize it themselves. Although multiple things can provide insight into whether a man has fallen in love with you, remember that every man is different, and love rarely travels in a linear direction. 

Here are some pieces of insight to consider that may help you understand and read a man to tell if he’s in love:

Men may fall for what they see

While new research is working on verifying the belief, many studies indicate that men are more visually oriented than women regarding sex, which can impact how they fall in love. It follows that men may be more visually driven when falling in love with women. However, for some, this may add to the confusion over whether a man has fallen in love with you. 

Physical attraction and sex drive are different for each person. Hair color, height, eye color, how a person carries themselves, what they typically wear, and more may affect how physically attractive you are to different people. 

Everyone has their tastes, and if your man expresses that you fit his, it may contribute to his romantic feelings for you. This initial attraction can build over time as he finds more things about you that he likes, and at some point, he may fall in love with you.

Guys fall in love with potential mates who appreciate them

“Playing hard to get” is a popular trope in romantic movies and literature, but the message may sometimes be more hurtful than helpful. Men fall for and pursue women in many ways for many different reasons. In the short run, that playful hard-to-get attitude may pique a man’s interest. Still, in the long run, men can lose interest in the “game,” and their feelings for you will wane, too. Pretending to stay aloof or distant can make a man feel like his efforts to get to know you and potentially make you happy in the future aren’t appreciated, and he may be better off looking for love elsewhere.

Men fall in love when they can make their partner happy

Happiness is an integral part of healthy relationships, and the bonds between partners are often more robust when they can form an emotional connection through happiness. If a man feels like he makes you truly happy just by being himself, it may facilitate feelings of love. If a man makes gestures that make you feel good, whether doing thoughtful things for you, giving you small, unexpected gifts, or paying you sincere compliments, he’s likely trying to make you happy. At this point, it’s essential to let him know that you appreciate that. When the gestures get more profound, and he makes you feel safe, comfortable, and happy in his presence, tell him as much. Most men enjoy hearing face-to-face that you feel safe and valued when you’re together.

When a man falls in love, he may try to be a better person for your sake

We all have flaws, but if they cause challenges in the relationship, he may work on his for your relationship’s sake if he falls in love. This may include small gestures like helping with everyday tasks or tidying his space when he knows you’ll be there. On a deeper level, he may try to change if he has jealous tendencies that affect you negatively or keeps you at a distance because of trust issues. Part of this process typically includes working on communication. If he tries to learn more about you and the things you value, it’s likely he’s using that information to be a better partner for you. 

You think he’s in love, but it’s hard to read his behavior

Explore ways to read your significant other from an expert

You're in good company if you’re in a relationship with a man but can’t tell if he’s in love with you. Many people struggle to tell how their partner feels about them, and it can cause stress and sleepless nights if he neglects to reveal his feelings. Although it may be easier to simply ask him how he feels, it’s understandable to feel apprehensive and vulnerable about that-- it may hurt if the answer isn’t what you anticipated. 

If you and your partner have disparities in how you feel about each other and are committed to working on the relationship, speaking to a couple’s counselor can make a big difference in your progress. A counselor can help you resolve the issues contributing to mixed signals and teach you communication skills to serve you throughout the relationship. 

While research suggests that couples counseling helps significantly, some couples have challenges finding the right therapist. In such cases, platforms like Regain provide an excellent resource for couples seeking guidance. With online counseling, you can speak with a relationship counselor according to your schedule from home or anywhere else with an internet connection via phone, text, online messaging, and video chat. 

Therapy solutions through Regain are often more affordable than traditional in-person therapy without insurance. A growing body of research indicates that online couples counseling is as effective as conventional treatment. For example, a 2021 study published in the National Library of Medicine found that couples had high satisfaction levels, better adherence to treatment plans, and better mental health after participating in video therapy sessions. 

Counselor reviews

Here are some counselor reviews from Regain clients seeking advice for love and relationships:

“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think differently. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”

“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling initially, but I truly believe that it makes a difference in our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to, and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”

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