As I mentioned in a post last week, I’m getting a tad frustrated with characters who fall in love almost instantly.
Thinking about all of this brought me to a couple of ┬árelevant questions: How long does it typically take people in real life to fall in love? For me, I knew within one month of dating my then boyfriend (now husband) that we were meant to be together forever. Insta-Love is all good and well and lovely, but there’s a REASON everyone else in the book complains and vomits when confronted by the insta-love couple.
I think one of the most exciting parts of a relationship are when you’re trying to figure out your feelings. I agree, insta-love is not very realistic, thus breaking the illusion you have while reading the book. Nothing defines a culture as distinctly as its language, and the element of language that best encapsulates a society's values and beliefs is its proverbs. The graphic to the right shows the words that are used in English proverbs, with the size of each word indicating how often it occurs (click for a bigger image).

A list of most of the commonly-used proverbs in the English language, with links to the meaning and origin of many of them. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby. Personally, it took a few months for me to fall in love (after dating, not just being interested). But, in real life, everyone falls in love at different times, so it’s hard to say just how long it ought to be in fiction. Although I’ll be interested to see how the insta-love will work out in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It's interesting to note that the two most common words in English proverbs are 'good' and 'never'. Although we knew early on that we were a perfect match, we didn’t act on that right away.
For me and DBF, I also knew within the first month of our relationship that we were meant to be together.

But usually, depending on the timeline of the book, I’d rather have it happen after a few weeks maybe, months preferably. My own love in real life could be considered fast (my husband proposed 11 months after we met and we were married five months later) so I do believe that intense, lasting love can be developed in a relatively short period of time.
A bit of armchair psychology leads to the conclusion that, if proverbs really do reflect belief, then the English are (or at least were when these proverbs were coined) inclined to be virtuous but negative - not so far from the truth perhaps?
We were in college, so it was probably an unusual length of time to date before getting married, but I didn’t want to get married while I was still in school.
It’s just that in some of these books, it seems like lust and infatuation is being confused with love.

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