How Men Fall In Love: Is It Different For Men And Women?

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

What happens to a man’s body and brain when he falls in love? Do men feel a brief spark? Do men and women fall in love differently? Or do the similarities run deeper than we suspect?

Below, we’re discussing the implications that current information suggests when it comes to considering the male experience in romantic relationships. 

Nature, nurture, and neuroscience: How do men fall in love? 

Discussions about men and women often start from the cultural idea that people of different genders are simply “wired differently”. Some may believe that there are deep structural differences between male and female brains in an attempt to create a simple explanation for why women seem to act differently from men. So, how does a man fall deeply in love in comparison to a woman?

Contemporary neuroscience research in social psychology suggests that it’s often a mistake to assume that gender differences are rooted in the brain. In many cases, societal differences in how men and women are raised, educated, and treated by their peers may offer better explanations for how guys fall in love compared to women. This can be considered something that’s important to keep in mind as we look at how men fall in love.

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How does a man fall deeply? Men may fall in love more quickly

Current scientific details support the idea that, in many cases, men may fall in love more quickly than women tend to do. 

A survey of more than 170 college students suggested that male respondents reported both feeling love and saying “I love you” at earlier stages in their relationships than females. Another poll reported that more men than women believe in love at first sight, perhaps due to physical attraction and importance placed on physical appearance. Statistically speaking, men may be more likely to be “hopeless romantics” than women.

Falling in love can foster feelings of obsession in men

When someone is in the beginning stages of love, they may find it difficult to keep their partner off their mind. 

Research on romance suggests that this obsessiveness can be a very common and distinctive phase of new relationships as partners build a deeper emotional and physical connection to one another. Information shows that it appears to involve the brain’s dopamine reward system, the same mechanism responsible for habits and addictions.

Additionally, one study found that men in love display hormonal patterns similar to those seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder, with their serotonin levels dropping sharply. 

Interestingly, although women showed the opposite pattern — increased serotonin when in love — their levels of self-reported obsession were just as strong.


Men may feel euphoric when falling in love

A man who’s falling in love might feel happier, more energetic, and more confident. Part of this may be linked to the activation of the reward system discussed above. When you’re craving another person, every interaction with them can promote feelings of intense joy and nostalgia. This can translate into an elevated mood overall for a man in love, especially if he’s spending a lot of time with the person he’s falling for, which can contribute to sexual chemistry, physical intimacy, and a strong emotional connection.

This happy state may also make people feel more adventurous (regardless of gender). Some researchers believe that love can expand your sense of self, possibly helping your personal identity become more complex. The confidence and happiness a person gets from a flourishing romance may make them more open to trying new things and adopting new interests. These positive emotions can be a wonderful part of healthy relationships.

Men may want to see their partners respond

Many men might enjoy the feeling of provoking physical signs of affection such as a smile or a laugh from the person they’re in love with. A 2015 study looked at this pattern, analyzing how much male participants tried to make female participants laugh. The researchers found that the men’s level of interest in dating their partners strongly predicted how hard they’d try to be funny. Many strong and confident women may see a sense of humor as one of the most attractive traits.

This may be part of a larger need that some men may experience as they look for visible signs of affection from their partners in their actions or body language. A woman’s laughter may provide them with much-needed emotional support as a man falls in love. A lack of laughter may make a man feel confused about the other person’s feelings for him, and he may subsequently lose interest in some cases.

How does a man fall in love? Love can make men act gentler 

The initial sexual attraction that can spark a romance is often helped along by testosterone, a hormone that plays an important role in behaviors like sex, aggression, and impulsivity. However, a man’s testosterone levels decrease noticeably in the context of a man falling in love. This might have something to do with the way that many men begin to show their softer sides when they develop strong feelings for someone. In a healthy relationship, men often feel that they can unleash their authentic self, rather than playing mind games or only seeking out sexual encounters.

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Passion deepens to compassion when guys fall in love

Much of what we discussed above relates to the beginning stages of romantic relationships, which are often marked by an intense, obsessive desire for the other person. Research suggests that this urgency may decrease as the relationship matures, but feelings of empathy, trust, and attachment increase. This longer-term love may be modulated in large part by oxytocin, which appears to have powerful pair-bonding effects in mammals. When people fall in love in adult relationships, they generally develop deeper feelings of compassion for each other. This may result in actions like offering to do a physical task for a partner so that they can take it off their to-do list.

This process seems to work largely the same for most people, regardless of sex and gender. It may be marked by a greater ability to see things from a partner’s perspective and anticipate their needs. However, more research is needed to validate and support the experience that gender-neutral, trans, and non-binary folks may experience. 

Men in love might look past flaws

In loving relationships, men might be likely to see the best in their partners — maybe even viewing the other person more positively than they view themself. Many studies have noted that people with deep romantic feelings hold idealized images of their partners and find them physically attractive. This seems to be true no matter your gender or biological sex. 

How does a man fall in love, and how does a man feel toward his partner when he is in love? Well, according to the studies mentioned above, he likely sees his partner as the complete package or an extremely attractive and confident woman. Physical intimacy and sexual chemistry between partners may be very rewarding as well.

This doesn’t always translate into putting your partner on a pedestal or believing that they’re perfect. However, it often means finding the best interpretation of the other person’s characteristics. A man who’s fallen in love with someone might forgive their shortcomings and perhaps even be charmed by things that would normally annoy him.

How can online counseling support men in love? 

Once again, it’s worth remembering that the information presented above may not apply equally to everyone. Research can tell us about some of the broad patterns in the ways men fall in love, but everyone's experience will be slightly different. If you’re feeling confused about what love means to you or your partner, it might help to discuss it with a therapist. Having a neutral, professional perspective on your relationship can often help both parties understand each other better.

Some couples prefer online counseling over more traditional in-person therapy. Conducting sessions over the Internet might mean that you can talk to your counselor from your own living room. This may improve your comfort with the process and make it easier to express yourself honestly. It may also make it easier to coordinate schedules between yourself, your partner, and your therapist.

Is online therapy effective for relationship support? 

Most couples who tried online counseling as part of a 2020 study reported that the experience was helpful and positive. Many found that the online format made it easier for them to become “fully immersed in the therapeutic process”, and the majority said they were able to “effectively connect with their therapist”. 

BetterHelp’s online therapy program can help you find a licensed relationship counselor to help you understand and improve your relationship dynamics.


In many ways, men may fall in love in a way that mimics the female experience.  The early stages can involve an infatuation with someone else, which can slowly deepen into trust, compassion and deep attachment. Men may also fall in love quickly and feel a strong need for affection from their partners. 

If you’re seeking a better understanding of how love is affecting you or your partner, BetterHelp can pair you with a licensed relationship counselor.

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