Love is never straightforward, which means it can often take you by surprise.
As anyone who has been in love will know, the reasons why you fall in love are so far-reaching that they don’t always make sense, you might not even know what they are yourself.
Hence why it can sometimes be difficult to identify the reasons why someone might fall in love with you.
It could simply be that they find you attractive, funny and intelligent. But such things will only get you so far, given that true love tends to be prompted by something deeper than superficial qualities.
Perhaps you remind them of someone they love dearly, like a long-lost family member, or maybe it’s all of the small gestures you for for them without even realising.
We spoke to psychologists and dating experts to identify the seven surprising reasons why someone might fall in love with you.
The exposure effect
It might sound silly, but if you keep bumping into someone, you increase your chances of forming a relationship with them.
It’s something known as the “exposure effect,” explains dating psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree.
“By simply being exposed to the same stimuli (this could be an object or a person), we are more likely to have a positive attitude towards that stimuli,” she adds.
“It is believed to be because of a sense of fluency or ease with which think about something. It explains why one might like a song after having heard it several times, despite not liking it initially. Simply crossing someone’s path enough times, whether that be bumping into them in the supermarket or passing by on the street, might initiate attraction.”
You might think that true love means making grand dramatic gestures – think proposing at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Sure, if someone does something like that for you, it probably does mean they love you. But do not ignore the smaller and more tacit gestures, notes Match’s dating expert Hayley Quinn.
“It could be remembering how someone likes their eggs in the morning,” she says.
“Kindness and consideration isn’t something that’s captured in a moment, it’s something that’s continually demonstrated to us. Especially after a few false starts in relationships, someone might be pleasantly surprised by how consistently you show affection, and as a result may end up falling in love.”
Standing by them
Being there for someone in the midst of a crisis is one of the most authentic forms of devotion.
It could be that someone is going through a challenging time at work, if you are the person to stand by them and offer them support, it could be the start of something special.
“You might find someone falls in love with you for the support you offer,” says Quinn. “However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that you perpetually have to give to a relationship, and have no personal boundaries. Rather that when times get tough, you show a willingness to take one for the team: because you realise you are a team.”
Interdependence is what builds a relationship, but what sparks that initial surge of attraction can often be independence, explains Quinn.
“If you maintain your own life and priorities when you start dating someone, it shows that you have healthy boundaries for earning your trust – and this can be very attractive.”
If, on the other hand, you meet someone and immediately start to question where things are going between you, it can put immense pressure on the relationship and actually put someone off.
Instead, focus on championing your independence and letting the relationship develop at its own pace, suggests Quinn.
“It will create breathing room not only for the other person to become attached to you, but for you to make a wise decision as to who you form that attachment with.”
You remind them of someone close to them
We feel safer and more comfortable with things or people we find are familiar, explains Mason-Roantree.
It might be that you remind them of a close friend or even an ex-partner, which is no bad thing so long as you ended amicably.
“We find this familiarity appealing and can spark romantic feelings,” Mason-Roantree adds.
“If you possess features or mannerisms that someone has found attractive in someone else in the past, they are quite likely to feel an attraction towards you. This is probably where the notion of ‘a type’ comes from.”
People fall in love when they continually feel good in your company, says Quinn.
“This is another good reason why you want to avoid distrust, cross-examination and over-analysis at the start of dating.
“If you start to spend more time talking about the relationship than actually enjoying it, this is the anathema to romance. Instead, focus on enjoying your time together.
“If someone continually feels nourished by your company they may fall in love with you. Positivity, playfulness and the ability to turn around a bad day, can all make someone yearn to be around you more.”
How you treat others
Success in dating is not simply about how you treat your potential partner, but how you treat others around you.
In fact, sometimes that’s when our best qualities are demonstrated, says Quinn, whether that’s being polite to a waitress, or caring for our children.
“A person who is looking to fall in love – not infatuation – should be less focused on superficial appearances, but very focused on how you engage with those around you,” she adds.
“So if you’re a loving mum, a good citizen, or a loyal friend, these qualities can all make people fall for you.”