How long does it take for love to develop?

Hubby and I on our wedding day just after we said “I do”!

Last week I wrote a post about how long women (in search of a long-term partner) should wait before giving up the hooch. It created quite a stir in the comments section which, as Tomi (one of the commentors) pointed out, gave me the opportunity to clarify and communicate my position, which rocked! All in all, I found it challenging and exhilarating.

As part of those comments, Tomi asked me (or maybe he was asking hubby, wasn’t sure), how long, in my opinion, does it takes before love develops in a relationship.

An excellent question I found myself pondering last night as I watched the finale of the Bachelorette. In about 8 weeks, Emily weeded through 25 men on wild and worldly dates to narrow it down to just one (I won’t say who just in case you’ve PVRed it). At the finale, she professed her love and said “yes” when he proposed.

But is 8 weeks and a couple of one-on-one dates enough to truly develop “love”?

I don’t know. I definitely think it’s plenty of time to develop a solid case of lust and excitement knowing that the chemistry and potential for more exists.

I believe there is a big difference between lust and love. To me, lust is what we usually feel at the beginning of a relationship. The first few months where we have the rush of emotions, the wanting to be together all the time, the excitement, heart pounding, belly butterflies. Lust fires up your chemistry and gets your juices flowing. It fills you with hope and a sense of endless possibility. It’s the inkling that love…could happen! Unfortunately, it can also cloud our judgement and have us doing things we never thought we’d do.

Lust is like the much older, semi-slutty sister of love! She gives great advice and loves you to death but watch out because before you know it, she’ll have you shooting Tequila at some sleazy bar pushing you towards the douchebag with the amazing bedroom eyes and the great ass! You’ll wake up in the morning in a haze, very hungover having had a great time but with plenty of regrets.

For me, love is what can be born out of lust. It’s the strong silent type. Where lust is a raging fire that can sometimes burn you…or burn out too quickly, love is the long, slow-burning flame that will keep you warm, safe and toasty for years to come.

Love is when your relationship moves from the fire and sparks of lust into something deeper, more profound and lasting; built on qualities that go beyond chemistry but into deep mutual respect, shared values and dreams, a commitment to each other’s happiness, and a profound sense of “home”.

How long it takes to move from lust to love varies for each and every person but I believe it usually takes a couple of months (3 to 4) to develop.

That being said, I know people who’ve gone from meeting to lust to love much faster and some much slower. I think there are a zillion factors that come into play; how open we are to it, how trusting, how self knowing etc…

For hubby and I we each had a different experience. For him, he knew he loved me probably after 3 months where I took a little longer to come into my feelings. I was more hesitant. To be honest, I wasn’t sure he was the real deal. But he was and he was patient and trusting knowing what I felt long before I did. We were together around 4 months when I finally said those magic words “I love you”.

His response…”I know…”

How long do you think it takes for love to develop? What are some of your love stories? Do you remember the first time either you or your partner said ‘I love you’? Come on…share the wealth…

More blog deliciousness here:



  1. prudencemacleod says:

    Sweet story. Yes, I agree that love and lust are not the same. They can work well together, but you should never confuse the two. For me, I believe that love happens when we decide to be in love. It can happen instantly or take years to arrive at the decision. However, make no mistake, it is a decision, one that most people make unconsciously (falling in love). On the other hand, you can make this decision consciously, deliberately, and it will be every bit as strong and true.
    What? Don’t believe me? Never tried to think outside what you were taught as a kid? Ha. Both my partner and I did it this way, and we have been madly in love for over 16 years, and we still are.
    Try deliberately choosing who and what you love. You will be amazed at what can happen, the fun you will have.

    • Love that Prudence “love happens when we decide to be in love.” TOTALLY something my Mom has said to me time and time again. Love is a choice. I couldn’t agree more and I adore your love story. 16 years…beautiful thing! Congratulations and here’s to the next 16 knockin’ your socks off!

  2. Natalie's Hubby says:

    Been almost 9 years- still lustin baby! Loving ya all the way.

    PS: check out Hubby’s Corner Aug 6th: A Sasquatch habitates in the pacific northwest…as legend has it!!

  3. What a fab wedding pic, Natalie! You are a beauty, girl. 🙂

    Great distinctions, and you’re right – it’s so easy to be clouded by that first, enraptured, gotta-be-together-all-the-time kind of feeling (I wouldn’t call it lust exactly, but we’re all on the same page here). I’m so glad you two are together. You seem to truly be soulmates!

    By the way, thanks for the linky-love today! You rock!

    • Thank you Kathy – it’s my fav pic! 🙂
      And yes, I do think it’s easy to get the two mixed up. Saves a lot of heart ache if you go in with your eyes open…that’s for sure!
      We are….soul mates…life partners…it feels incredible!
      You are most welcome…one of my all time favorite posts! My Mom loved it too!

  4. Oh, I love this pic of you two! What a gorgeous couple you are! Awesome suit, Hubby! Love the color of it! And it goes without saying how uber-beautiful Natalie is in that elegant gown!

    Lust and love go hand-in-hand but lust is not only the semi-slutty sister, she’s the immature semi-slutty sister of love. Love is the more mature, responsible sister. I think it takes 3 months to a year before people drop their ‘best-foot-forward’ mode and just be themselves. That’s when you find out if there is anything about that person you just can’t live with or live without. Really young people have a hard time waiting and do mistake lust for love. I think colleges and high schools ought to offer courses on the aspects of the opposite genders so girls would have a clue as to what it means when boys want to jump in the sack on the first real date–that’s not love. And boys would learn that girls sometimes play games and all is not what it really is.

    Wow, several books could be written on that interaction! Love this post and so happy you and hubby got it right!

    • Almost forgot…Thanks for including me in your mashup of awesome links, Sweets!

    • Awwww thank you Marcia!!! Making me blush…hehehe….
      ROFL, it’s the immature semi-slutty sister. LOVE THAT! And I couldn’t agree with you more on the timeline. It’s definitely different for everyone but I think recognizing the difference between the two within yourself is key!
      I agree, young people have a harder time with it. God knows I was a fool and mixed the two up a time or two. Thankfully I figured it out…LOL!!
      A course in high school would be AWESOME!! I think they should also do self-esteem classes, especially for girls, starting right in elementary school!!!
      And you are sooo welcome for the linky love….

  5. “I believe there is a big difference between lust and love.” Yep, Natalie! Lust is that instant connection via what the eyes see and what makes the hormones rev. Love is the connection that then makes a person give a darn about the other. It is the piece that makes someone care how your day went versus just wanting to get down to the kinky stuff when they see you. It is what makes someone switch around their day to help you with an unexpected problem. So many get tricked by the lust bunny. Oh she knows what you want and whispers such charming things in your ear or pours the tequila if need be, but she tells lies. I think anything shorter than two months of dating connection (depending on how often you are spending time together) is still dancing the rumba with lusty.

    • Oh Barbara…GREAT distinction!!! Wow – well said girl….
      The lust bunny….ROFL…I got a visual of a girl in a sexy bunny suit smoking a cigarette pouring shots of tequila whispering “go for it….” Lying skank!! LOL!!!
      I agree….2 months is an excellent starting point to at least make sure there’s more than meets the hormones. 🙂

  6. You two are so freaking cute! I just love your story/relationship. Yep, BIG difference between lust and love. What I thought was love was often just lust, but I was too dumb to know the difference. It wasn’t until David came around that I finally figured it out. Which is probably why we’ve been married sixteen years. He says he loved me within the first week of meeting me. I think I was in lust for about a year before I really started to understand what love was. Hmmm, this might be why I’ve been married three times. I finally learned to shut up the lusty slut and listen to my heart. Don’t worry, she’s still around, but is only invited to certain parties. Otherwise she’s in the back room mopping and doing laundry. 😉

    • Awww thanks Tameri!!
      Girl, you weren’t dumb! Lord….we’ve all made those mistakes and regretted them. We live and learn and that’s the main point, right?!?! Cause you got it right with David…melt my heart with your love story….
      ROFL…finally shut her the lusty slut…bring her around to certain parties…Girl, I freaking love you! WAHAHAHA!!!
      Best. Comment. Ever! LOL!!

  7. Coleen Patrick says:

    I love that wedding photo!!
    My husband and I were friends first–we didn’t date until about 5 months after we first met. But I went from “he’s just a buddy” to knees a shakin in love! 🙂

  8. Lovely post and I agree! After kissing far more than my fair share of “frogs”, I finally realized the key for me was to find a man with integrity, honesty, and good values who I could trust and respect. I needed to have the cognitive foundation first before my heart could follow. From there, very quickly bloomed friendship then love. I’m sure lust was in there somewhere but it was quickly outdone by the others. Now, our relationship (we just got married in April 2012) deepens every day and still has a pretty good amount of lust remaining. He is my rock, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and my love of a lifetime. Best of all, I met him through Eharmony (now I sound like a commercial but it’s all true). And I wouldn’t know what to do without him. He’s the only man I have ever imagined growing old with, and I’m sure I’ll still want to snuggle up next to him and talk the hours away. Great post, thanks for reminding me how much I love my husband! Best to you and your husband, beautiful picture too!

    • Charity, what an incredible love story!! I love how you wrote about realizing what you wanted in a life partner and not being willing to compromise. I find it so interesting that when we finally seem to make that “choice,” things can fall into place magically. Your love story is beautiful, romantic and just…inspiring!!! I love it!!!
      Congratulations on your wedding and here’s to a lifetime of love, lust, romance and happiness!!!

  9. I’m guessing you didn’t get married in Canada? 🙂 Love the picture…you two look so happy!

    Great post, Natalie. I think if more people would wait for lust to take a backseat to love (the one directly behind the driver’s seat, not the last one on the bus…because lust is still important, lol), there would be more long-lasting relationships and marriages.

  10. “Lust is like the much older, semi-slutty sister of love!” HA! This should go on pillows. Or t-shirts. Hmm…and makeup bags. 😉 Fabulous post, Natalie. I hope you’re writing a book on love. You and your hubby are such a gorgeous couple, inside and out.

    My dog knew I loved (or would love) my husband before I did. I adopted her partly because of my die-hard gonna-stay-single decision. “She doesn’t like guys,” I told him, about three seconds before she ran over and jumped up on him with glee. My other favorite story is my parents’. They knew the day they met. Forty years later, they’re still crazy about each other.

    • OMG I’m going to be RICH RICH RICH!! Genius August!! LOL!!!
      Awww…thank you girl!! Your compliments are just so wonderful….and who knows, maybe someday I will write a book on love…hehehe….
      OMG I LOVE your dog story! That is perfect!!! And you know, it’s so true. Our dogs know us, love and us and have these fantastic instincts about them. It was a definite sign that your man was a keeper…LOVE that…sniff…total “awwwww” story!!
      Your parents are deliciously fabulous…sniff…so incredible, eh?! It’s amazing to have them as role models for sure…beautiful!

  11. Love is a choice, a surrender. I got this needle-point thing as a wedding gift (don’t know where it is at this moment, it’s here somewhere) that said: “Choose the one you love; Love the one you choose.” Attraction can develop out of love IMHO.

  12. Love that photo! I may even go back and watch the video again. It was that good. My smile was enormous when I read hubby’s response to your first declaration … he knew it was real. I’ve invited a dating coach to my blog in the next little while and I’m going to add this post and the previous one (way to handle the comments, btw!) to the bottom of her interview. As always, you rock!

    • Awwwww…THANK YOU Patricia…sniff…
      I know…from day one, he’s just blown me away!!!
      I am HONORED to be included in that post…sniff…honored!!! And thanks for the vote of confidence on the comments section from the last one. It was tough to know how to handle it but I was proud of my approach….it was tough….LOL!!!
      YOU ROCK…HUGS!!!

  13. Beautiful wedding pic, Natalie! My husband and I have been together for 15 years, married for 13. I have to say…it was love at first sight (or so I thought) for me. We dated for 6 months and then broke up, then several months later got back together, and I realized what I thought was love before was lust. Your description of the two is perfect – and love is something that develops over time, with nurturing and patience. It’s a gut feeling that can’t be put into words.
    Great post!

    • What an incredible love story. It’s amazing sometimes the things we realize when we have the opportunity to take a step back and really evaluate.
      I am so glad you and hubby got back together and here’s to the next 15 years of awesomesauce with chocolate sprinkles on top!! Squeee…
      Tks for sharing and so happy you enjoyed the post!!!

  14. Karen McFarland says:

    Both you and hubby make a awesome couple Natalie. But how long does it take love to develop? Wow. That’s a deep question and one that is different for each person/couple. There are no set rules, which makes the answer to that question tough. When my husband and I met, there was no immediate attraction. In fact, we didn’t like each other very much. Then, over time, we became friends. As we spent more time together, an attraction started and well, that was a long, long time ago. I will say one thing. There has to be more than lust for a relationship to survive. It’s important, but it isn’t everything. 🙂

    • So well said Karen. There is definitely no set time that’s a rule. I think that’s why it’s sometimes so hard and confusing for people to sort out and manage; to be able to see love through the trees of lust. It can be hard! I agree with you completely a lasting relationship definitely takes more than lust to survive. A lovely key element but one of many! 🙂

  15. Honestly those questions would require an entire post for me. BUT, wanted to say how gorgeous you look in that picture!!!

    • AWWWW thank you Nina!!

      I know, eh?!?!?! It’s a beast of a topic with a zillion points of view, each as valid as the next! I hope you share your thoughts in a post sometime…I’d love to get your point of view. 🙂

  16. Fabulous blog Natalie! You know how I adore this subject 😉 Thanks again for the great reminders and the mention. You and your hubby are an inspiration to all of us hoping to find our TRUE mate! XOX

  17. I love the way you described lust and love. I am reluctant to admit it, but I knew that my husband was quite possibly The One after about a month. We met in April, got engaged in September, and married in December (8 months!). We were next-door neighbors and went to church together, so we spent a lot of time together. However, we have discussed that we probably shoud have dated a little longer before getting hitched to prepare a little more for the plunge. That said, I think we were in love within several weeks, and my parents visited in the summer and pronounced later that they had a feeling this was The One as well. We’ll celebrate 20 years this year.

  18. Love that pic! I definitely agree that love and lust are different. Lust is 100% physical. Love is the point where lust, commitment, and friendship overlap. I think if you take out one of those three, you have something, but it isn’t love (at least not romantic love).


  1. […] Hartford has a post about how long it takes for love to develop. I’ve talked about this before, especially since I don’t really believe in love at […]

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