Whether they end up stumbling over our words, planning cheesy date nights, or expressing their feelings in an over-the-top way, there are some adorably awkward things your partner will do when they're falling in love. That's part of what makes the whole dating thing so much fun, as well as why awkwardness — while slightly nerve-racking or embarrassing in the moment — can be a good sign for the future of the relationship.
If you've been noticing that your partner seems more uncomfortable than usual, it might be due to nervousness as their feelings start to grow. "Awkwardness is a major part of the dating game," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "It’s especially true when falling in love. You want everything to go perfectly and impress your partner. And, when you try too hard and care too much, you get nervous. Awkwardness ensues!"
So really, all you can do is enjoy these moments for what they are. And if you're also feeling the fall, you can be awkward right back. "Laugh at it (in a good-natured way) and see it for what it is: endearing behavior of someone falling in love," Bennett says. Here are a few more adorably awkward signs your partner is head-over-heels, or at least heading in that direction.
1. They've Been Getting A Bit Emotional
It might seem over-the-top or awkward, but it's not uncommon for someone who's falling in love to have experience big outpourings of emotion. So if your partner wells up when they see you for the first time in two weeks, or gets a bit misty when you surprise them with a sweet date, don't be surprised.
"The emotion of love can be all encompassing — and sometimes your partner will see you, have a thought about their feelings, and start to cry tears of joy," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "It’s a little awkward but it means they feel deeply for you."
2. They're More Affectionate At Unexpected Times
Plenty of folks expect some form of affection when they meet up with their partner for a date, or when they part ways for the evening. So it makes sense why your partner's burgeoning feelings may be revealed during unexpected moments of affection.
In these moments, "they're becoming overwhelmed with feelings of joy," and may lean in for a big hug or a kiss, Dr. Klapow says. "Depending on the situation it can be a bit out of place but it means they are feeling the love."
3. They've Created A Nickname For You
It's not uncommon for couples to pick up little nicknames for each other, as a bond starts to form. So if your partner starts referring to you by a sweet name, "it may be a sign they are getting serious," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle.
Of course, if you don't love the name they're using, you can figure out one that better suits your personality. But it's always fun to appreciate the reason why pet names come to be. "It’s may seem awkward but it’s all about them feeling comfortable with you," Dr. Klapow says.
4. They Look At You Adoringly
As your partner begins to fall in love, you might catch them looking at your adoringly as you pour your cereal in the morning, or you might spot them staring from across the room as you scan through Netflix. And it can feel a touch awkward.
But for a person who's falling in love, these mundane moments of the day can be super meaningful. If you catch your partner staring, it might mean they find you so interesting that they're literally falling into a trance, Bennett says. Pretty cute, right?
5. They Talk More Openly About Sex
Sex can have awkward moments at any stage of a relationship, but especially so when two people are just starting to fall in love. Once that happens, "sex becomes a much deeper act," Bennett says. You might find yourselves opening up more about what you want and chatting about what you both like — and that can definitely feel strange. But again, it's just a sign of comfort.
6. They Stumble Over Their Words
Even though you're becoming more comfortable with each other, that doesn't mean you'll both be immune to butterflies. So don't be surprised if your partner stutters over their words.
"Humans can get nervous around people we respect, admire, and love," Bennett says. "If your partner sometimes stumbles over words or seems flustered around you in general, this shyness and awkwardness could be happening because feelings of love are developing!"
7. They Forget What They're Saying
As Hershenson says, they may also "get nervous around you or lose their train of thought because they are smitten." So if your partner seems to blank in the middle of telling a story — in a nervously awkward kind of way — it may be another sign they're falling in love.
8. They Brush Your Hand As You're Walking Side-By-Side
"The first time someone tries holding your hand can feel really awkward if they are standing close to you, and one of their fingers grazes your hand," Dr. Danielle Forshee, doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, tells Bustle. "They’re almost testing what you do with that gesture."
So see it for what it is, and hold their hand back — if you so choose. These are all the sweet little stages of a blossoming relationship, that can serve as tiny clues that your partner is falling in love.