Being a woman trying to make it in the world of dating and relationships, understanding what men think, especially when it comes to something as deep and complex as falling in love, can be absolutely exasperating.
This is just one reason why the existence of Reddit is such a gift to modern society.
For as long as man has had the written word, writers across the globe have struggled to capture exactly what it feels like to fall in love.
Sure, some of the greats like William Shakespeare and Pablo Neruda got close with their incredibly romantic works, but by and large, even the greatest poets on planet Earth will tell you this:
What does love feel like?
It is almost impossible to describe the emotions and thoughts flowing through you when you’re in the midst of the actual process known as falling in love.
How is it that an experience that is so darn universal can be so difficult to describe succinctly? Is it because love makes us stupid? Is it because when you’re falling in love it’s too hard to even bother thinking about anything else, like how to use words correctly?
I’m kind of joking about those possible reasons it’s so hard to describe the thoughts and feelings you have when you’re falling in love, but the fact of the matter remains that it’s nearly impossible to do so.
It’s something akin to asking people to describe the taste of water. It can’t be done, and yet, it’s something you know for certain once you’ve tasted it for yourself.
In my opinion, if you’ve ever wondered whether or not you’re falling in love, chances are you probably aren’t.
While describing the experience might be pretty darn challenging, it’s my belief that if you find yourself needing to ask whether or not it’s love, chances are good that it’s probably not.
Of course, men don’t typically discuss love as often as women do, but that’s because we live in a society that teaches men from boyhood on up that wearing their emotions on their sleeves is a sign of being weak and effeminate. God forbid a man make himself emotionally available, right?
The truth of the matter is that men fall in love just as often and just as deeply as women.
Unsurprisingly, this means that men also have their own experiences with trying to explain what falling in love is like.
While no one man’s description is ever going to be exactly like another’s, the fact remains that just making the effort to describe their thoughts and feeling to someone else, they are proving exactly how much the man or woman in question means to them, and you don’t have to be a scholar to understand that!
If you doubt me, check out what men on Reddit had to say when one woman posted this question on the Ask Men subreddit: “What’s it like to fall in love? How does it feel? What things do you do? What kinds of things do you think when you fall in love?”
Here’s what men think (literally) when they’re falling in love with you, according to guys on Reddit.
1. It’s cinematic
“It’s like someone pushed a button and now you’re in a movie. Everything is about her, everything you see, and the time of year is (for some reason) so appropriate for this moment in the relationship. The song on the radio isn’t just a song, it’s your soundtrack. You feel like you’re caving in, inside. And you want to devour her like a savage.”
2. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way
“Being overwhelmed and anxious but in a good way. Thinking of someone else first instead of yourself.”
3. It’s Pavlovian (kind of)
“Falling in love is like, well, there’s a button in front of you that says, ‘Press this for free cookies.’ But, every time you press it, a bird [poops] on your head instead. But you keep pressing it, ’cause you really want a cookie. And once in every 100 times, you get a cookie. And it’s the best cookie you’ve ever had. And while you’re eating it, you realize you’ll willingly get pooped on 99 more times in the hopes of getting another cookie.”
4. It’s always on your mind
“For me, I can’t stop thinking about her. Not like an infatuation, but in my everyday life she comes up. Like when I go to the store and I’m buying whatever garbage I’m going to eat I think about what she would like. I usually think about her in the morning while I’m getting ready and at night before bed.
For me, it is a lot like infatuation but when I’m in love with someone … I don’t think about her showering or whatever depraved thing I’d normally think. It’s innocent and a little pathetic.”
5. It’s great, but it’s scary
“It’s absolutely horrifying. It feels so good, so right, but it feels so tenuous like the actual universe is trying to keep it from happening. You walk on eggshells because you don’t want to cause a disaster. You emote a lot, blush easily, and maybe try and push her away a bit to temper your own feelings. It’s a hell of a ride.”
6. It’s like … getting a new laptop?
“It’s like when you get a new laptop. In the beginning, everything runs so smoothly, there’s no clutter anywhere on the hard drive, the casing is all shiny and clean, you don’t have a ton of [stuff] on your desktop, and you learn new shortcuts and features about it every day. It’s pretty great.
Then you slowly start getting familiar with it. You start installing some programs that you know can be kind of shady onto your computer, saving [stuff] that you’ll never use onto your desktop, and maybe you’ll finally take off that protective plastic cover on the screen. I mean it gets in the way a lot, right? It’s still all good, though. Your computer runs pretty well for now.
Then comes the stage where your laptop is slower than a hamster-powered one, it overheats like crazy and shuts off at the most inopportune times, and the software is all buggy cause you have a ton of [stuff] installed on it. So you think about getting a new laptop.
The people who never get past the first stage cause they actually [take care of] their stuff, I think that’s what love kinda is?”
7. It’s literally like falling
“It’s like falling in a well, except with love instead of a well.”
8. It’s intense
“It feels great. Exciting. Looking back, it goes by fast too. Becomes kind of a blur. It’s a happy, intense time where you’re very distracted and probably neglect other parts of your life — but you won’t care. Not during, anyway.”
9. It’s devastating
“‘I’ve only really ever been in love twice. The feeling is indescribable. It’s like, constantly being in a warm and toasty bed in the middle of a snowstorm. The feelings of joy, pleasure, anxiety, and hope are overwhelming, but in a good way. It fills up that hole in your soul. You wish that every day lasts forever.
Then, the inevitable heartbreak. The first time it happens, it almost kills you. It destroys you for almost a decade. Then, if you’re lucky, you get a second chance. A second love. And … you realize that you’re too scared to fully invest yourself into it. So you go into it at 70% instead of 100%. And you make mistakes, lots of them. All because you don’t want it to hurt like the first time. And because you didn’t love them at 100%, you end up [messing] it up and hurting yourself again.
You then realize that there is no point in love because it always hurts. And it hurts for a long time after the fact. So you begin hitting on random women and sleeping around because it doesn’t hurt. Or, I guess it hurts a lot less than Love. And you tell yourself that sleeping around is the only way to validate your presence in the world. That it’s the only way to know that at least someone in the world likes what you do for them. You spend every night and day thinking about how much you [messed] up. Living in the past and reliving the days of old and the days that never came.
Finally, you realize that you might not ever love again. And you make peace with that fact.”
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10. It makes you feel strong and ready for anything
“Looking back when I was dating my wife seriously for purposes of marriage, I was willing to fight and do anything for her. It was this crazy strong emotional feeling.”
11. It’s just really comfortable
“Am I the only one in a committed relationship that doesn’t feel this overwhelming sense of love that everybody is describing? I felt like this for about the first year of dating, but it’s just subsided into feeling really comfortable all of the time.”
12. It’s never the same
“It’s different every single time.”
13. It’s a chemistry trick
“It’s nature’s way to get high on chemicals. Sadly it doesn’t last long.”
14. It’s revelatory
“For me, falling in love has always been a series of realizations, not a process. Getting to know her better, realizing you’ve been chatting for 8 hours — she’s pretty awesome. Waking up and she’s the first thing on my mind — I really really like this girl. Almost get in a head-on collision and first thought is her — oh, fell in love somewhere in there.
I’m always blind to the actual intervening steps, and the feeling never seems to change. I only realize that it has looked back.”
15. It’s something you just know when it happens
“If you have ever been fishing at a pier, you’ll sometimes wonder ‘was that a bite’ after a small amount of turbulence on your rod. Then when you get an actual bite, there’s no doubt about it whatsoever. You just know. Sappy love songs are now masterpieces.”
Rebecca Jane Stokes is the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek.