Love has a tremendous impact on the body.
Earlier this week, Mic published a chart that shows what the body goes through when people fall in love. Your mind becomes more focused, your eyes dilate and your cheeks begin to blush, among other reactions.
“When you’re in love, there are telltale signs: the deleted Tinder account, the text message conversations that stretch until 2 a.m., the distinct feeling that every Beyoncé song was specifically written about you,” Kate Hakala wrote for Mic. “While all that evidence is indisputable — just check out your last data bill — there are actual physiological changes that occur in your body when you find yourself with those feelings of L-O-V-E for someone else.”
But what do people actually feel when they fall in love?
We reached out to people across the country to see what their reactions were when they met the love of their lives. Here’s what they had to say.
‘I recognized her’
Ben Bryant first met the love of his life in 1967 during a summer theater production of “Carousel.” Bryant was the lead in the play. During one rehearsal, he noticed a woman named Betsy Hepburn, who had her own role in the play.
“Her presence hit me like a velvet sledge hammer,” Bryant said. “It was confusing.”
The two went to lunch, where Bryant admitted to Hepburn that he recognized her, even though they had never met.
“As we were eating our sandwiches I told her that I felt like I knew her,” Bryant said. “She replied that she knew we’d never met. I agreed that that we’d not met before, that wasn’t what I meant. I just had the feeling that I knew her. This was the absolute truth.”
‘Comfort, calm and happiness’
Johari, 39, met the love his life 20 years ago when he was a student at the University of Salamanca in Spain. They met at a summer party. At first sight, they had nothing in common. But after a little conversation, their love bloomed.
“When we first met, I felt a level of comfort, calm and happiness that I had not experienced with anyone else. It was as if we were old friends from the start,” Johari said.
‘Shock, excitement and fear’
Lindsley Lowell was 40 when she met the love her life, but the wait was well worth it.
Lowell met her now-husband on Match.com. They had a two-hour conversation to kick things off, even though she still felt nervous, having had bad luck with love in the past. But when she and her husband saw each other on the first date, it was love at first sight.
“We were so head-over-heels that we did a joint Christmas card and we weren’t even engaged,” Lowell said. “Looking back, I think it was nuts, but when you’re in love, you just go with it. Now married to him for five years, the way I felt was definitely spot on. … He was the one. I believe that if you don’t feel something right away, you will never really feel it.”
‘It felt like we had always known each other’
Sandra Jackson and her husband were friends first. But after about a year of knowing each other, their relationship became much more than that. Now, they’ve been together for more than 24 years. One day, things just fell into place.
“It felt like we had always known each other and that we were meant to be together,” Jackson said. “We are going on almost 24 years of marriage and it still feels like that.”
‘We were inseparable’
Amy Oestreicher never had a boyfriend. Brandon was her first, and her only.
Oestreicher, who had a few surgeries about three years ago, never thought she’d find love. But she created a dating profile and was almost immediately messaged by Brandon.
“By the end of that day we were writing novels back and forth to each other — I couldn’t believe how scarily alike we were,” Oestreicher said. “We had all the same likes and dislikes, we had visited all of the same places, had the same exact values and family memories, and the same quirky sense of humor! He made me feel like a person again and to realize who I was before the medical ordeal — who I still am.”
They met in March of 2013 and have been inseparable ever since. The two are planning their wedding for June 27 of this year.
“Brandon put me back in touch with ‘me,’ my vitality, my spunk, my hunger for life,” Oestreicher said.
‘She was glowing and just breathtaking’
Russell Cragun and his eventual wife’s first date was “the worst date” either of them had been on.
The two didn’t date again. Cragun even thought she moved out of the community. But then, a year later, Cragun saw her standing around after church. He immediately left his friends and went over to her.
“She was glowing and just breath-taking, beautiful and stunning,” Cragun said. “My roommate remembers me just getting up and ditching him mid-sentence to go up and talk to her. After talking to her that night I knew I wanted to date her.”
‘I was trembling with excitement for my luck’
Daniel Lavery met the love of his life when he came back from his Navy tour.
On the day before he headed off to law school, Lavery was approached by a friend, who said there was a girl he wanted Lavery to meet. Lavery almost put it off, but decided to go out with her after he found out that he and the woman were from the same hometown and shared the same birthday.
The first time Lavery saw her, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her.
“She had dark shimmering hair, a smile that showed an inner glow, and a face and body to die for. I was trembling with excitement for my luck,” Lavery said.
‘Destined to be together’
For Stuart Fensterheim, a marriage counselor, and his wife, love came at first breakfast.
The two met on eHarmony and decided to have their first date at Einstein’s Bagels. Though they had their own strong feelings for each other, a woman sitting next to them told them that they looked like they should be married.
“The way we were talking with one another was just precious and she could tell we were two people who were destined to be together and cared for each other,” Fensterheim said. “[We] looked at each other with nothing but deep love. Nothing has changed my perception of this. I know how important I am to my wife and she proves this to me every day. If I could bottle this and give it to my couples I would.”
‘A specific moment’
Nyong Atkins admitted that he and his wife got married young (they were 18). But they’ve been together for 16 years, and their marriage has worked well. Atkins said he remembers one instance when he knew he loved his future wife.
“I can recall a specific moment when I was dropping her off at home,” Atkins said. “I felt certain I was looking at my future wife.”
Hope Rising didn’t have much luck with men. But, seconds away from deleting her online dating profile, a message crept through from an interested man. After a little chat, Rising agreed to meet the man at a costume party.
“In walked Abe Lincoln,” Rising said. “The guy was not wearing a mask and seriously could win (and has several times) a look-alike contest. I was amazed to find out he was as genuine in person as he appeared via texts.”
Rising’s love for Mr. Lincoln was verified later when she showed him her list of 10 traits she desired in a man. He met all 10 traits.
‘It made my brain and my heart smile’
Kathryn went on a cycling trip across Canada, not expecting to meet the love of her life. While on the trip, she and a group of friends were walking toward a restaurant.
“I ended up walking beside this tall, lanky and oh so funny guy,” Kathryn said. “I remember the witty banter and how it made my brain and my heart smile and the walk passed very quickly.”
The couple got to know each other on the trip, and have now been married for nine years with two kids. They still bike together when they can.
‘Drawn and repelled’
Derek Handova met the love of his life online, only he didn’t fall in love with her until they met at a restaurant. The couple struggled to find commonality at first — his wife was from Asia and was learning English — but soon found that they enjoyed being together.
“I felt both drawn and repelled to her,” Handova said. “I was drawn in by her warmth and openness and repelled, not in a bad way, but by my own awkwardness.”