Look, falling in love isn’t an exact science—er, I mean, I guess it is kind of scientific when you consider there’s a love-inducing hormone called oxytocin that surges in your body when you’re catching feels for someone. But the act of “falling in love” looks different from one person to another.
“Body language is not generally the best way to gauge whether you or a person is in love with someone,” says Louis Laves-Webb, an Austin-based psychotherapist. And that’s because to one person, a shrug of the shoulders or a tussling of the hair might mean they are definitely into you. But to another person, it could just mean they have really bad dandruff and needed to itch their scalp?
The TL;DR: There’s no exact way you can tell if someone is in love with you. Apologies for the cliché, but most of the time, when you know, you know—and it’s best to tell your S.O. if you are experiencing those feelings.
That said, if you want some helpful cues to point you in the right direction and make sure you don’t look like a clown professing your love to someone who thought y’all were only in a situationship, here are some not-so-obvious signs you may have been struck by Cupid’s arrow.
- “According to a recent study, being in love can actually reduce physical pain by 40 percent. It’s further proof that being around someone you are in love with during an uncomfortable medical procedure can make the experience more bearable and help physically as well,” says Adina Mahalli, certified relationship expert for Maple Holistics.
- “Mimicking behaviors and head nodding were related to attraction and liking someone in Western cultures,” says R. Matthew Montoya, an associate professor of psychology who led research at the University of Dayton, which identified a list of nonverbal behaviors people exhibit when they like someone.
- “If your stress has increased, that can be a sign you’re in love since your brain is pumping out the stress hormone known as cortisol,” says Ross Grossman, owner of Affinity Therapy Services. “If every text, or lack thereof, is driving you crazy, you may find yourself in love.”
- “When someone has your full and undivided attention—and, yes, you don’t feel the need to check your phone when you’re in their company—that sends a cue to them that you are interested and definitely in love,” says relationship expert Michelle Fraley, owner of Spark Matchmaking.
- “If you can hold someone’s gaze for at least four seconds, that eye contact can communicate to another person a message of love,” says Fraley.
- When you’re in love, you may also sweat or feel sick and nauseated due to the heightened cortisol, says Audrey Hope, relationship expert at Season’s in Malibu.
- “Before people find The One, they often have a wandering eye. Even when dating someone, a person who isn’t yet in love will find themselves checking out other options unconsciously. However, once you are in love, you lose interest in everyone else. Your partner is truly the only one you have eyes for,” says Mahalli.
- “The best indicator of whether you are in love with someone is the degree to which you can be vulnerable with them. Just as letting someone physically close to you can be a sign you love them, letting someone know your emotional self is a sign of love,” says Laves-Webb.
- “When we are in love with someone, science shows we begin to put them above ourselves. They become our priority,” says Emily Lyons, CEO of Lyons Elite Matchmaking.
- “When you find yourself worried about their safety or going out of your way to make them safe and comfortable, that’s love,” says Grossman.
- “When you’d rather a car splash mud all over your dress than your partner’s clothing, you’re in love,” says Grossman.
So yeah, there are definitely some body language signals you can pay attention to in order to determine if you are in the depths of love. But let’s be honest, it’s 2019: A sure-sign example of being in love is adding your S.O. to your Instagram aesthetic, even despite them not matching the color scheme of your feed. Now that’s love.