Most people have a hard enough time admitting that they've fallen in love with another, never mind explaining what brought on such euphoria in the first place. Even women—the fairer, more verbal sex—rarely go into detail about how their hearts were won. Maybe that's just because, according to an old Chinese proverb, "Couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without talking." Um, right! Staffers at iVillage asked all the guys they know what makes them fall in love. Here, the juicy secrets they revealed:
"I found true love only one time in my life. Talk about compatible, we had everything in common—from taste in food to how many times we wanted sex. There was nothing about her I didn't like, until I found out that she did it only to please me and she didn't like anything we did together (except maybe the sex). She was a great actress and a great heart-breaker! My advice: Be honest and search for compatibility."
—Giovanni, 41, CA
Blindsided—in a good way
"I fell in love with my fiancé, and I didn't even see it coming. One day I didn't get a chance to see her and found myself missing her smile, her laugh, her smell. You begin to recognize, expect and miss the way she does things or makes you feel. And then she surprises you, and you love her even more. I love the way she walks, moves, even the way she puts things in her purse."
—Ed, 26, NY
Simplicity: Beer and video games
"True story: I met a woman online, and when we got together for our first date, she said, 'I hope you don't mind, but I don't feel like a fancy dinner. Can we just go get some burgers and a few beers, then go back to my house and play video games?' Now, I'm not a big video gamer, but even I thought that was adorable. It was true, pure love. Then we broke up, but still..."
—Tom, 34, NY
Makes me forget everything
“I fall in love with someone who can make me laugh, who makes me smile the moment I hear her voice or see her face, who can make me forget everything else going on around me. Her presence alone is enough to make me feel like the most important person in the world. (She should feel the same way about herself in my presence. It's a two-way street.)"
—Seth, 25, NY
Want what you can't have
"I think members of both sexes are often attracted to people who are not attracted to them. Someone who doesn't want you is irresistible. Often, when I know a girl is into me, that's a big turnoff."
—Tom, 26, NY
In love with love
"I am a sucker for love. It won't take much for me to fall for her—besides her undying love for me."
—Yash, 25, DC
Food and sex
"It's rather simple, I guess, and in this order: the looks, the sex and the clincher would be her ability to cook. All are necessary to equate to love."
—Big John, 32, NJ
"I can't fall in love with a woman if she doesn't have a sense of adventure. I'm not talking about sky diving or anything like that, but she should be willing to see a film that she wouldn't normally see, attend concerts that contradict her usual taste, etc. New York City is just too amazing and has so much to offer, it drives me crazy when people (not just women) are content to just move in their small circles."
—Jonathan, 29, NY
"Let's look at love like a body of water. To reach the deep end, you must first travel through the shallow end. With that in mind, I feel that initially there has to be physical attraction. It's also important to 'like' the woman before you can love her. I think when it all comes down to it, what makes me fall in love with a woman is being able to talk with her. Every guy I know who's in love has a story that sounds something like this: 'I think this could be it. The other night, we just talked for like eight hours with no uncomfortable silence!'"
—Bill, 24, NJ
"I love it when women can do guy stuff better than me. Everyone is a better driver than I am—in fact, everyone's blind, drunken grandmother is a better driver than I am—so that doesn't count, but women who do things like eating hot peppers or belching or enjoying war movies make me crazy in the good way."
—Tom, 34, NY
A force to reckon with
"Love is a series of subtle events culminating with the realization that this woman is capable of drawing out a force that allows you to be something more than you can be on your own, something greater."
—Doug, 29, MA
"I fell in love with a girl when she could tell me what a 6-4-3 DP meant in a baseball box score without having to be told 3,987 times. I fell in love with a girl when she truly realized that I'm not selfish, just completely clueless about why she would want someone other than me. I fell for a girl when she understood that it doesn't have to be true when she massages my ego. It doesn't even have to be reasonable or make sense, just as long as the ego boosts keep coming."
—Danny, 24, DC
"You just have to be able to talk to each other."
—Doug, 30, MA
Tell the truth
"If you know when my head is in a bad place, if you know when I need a phone call, if you know when I need to be told I'm good at something, if you know when I need to be told I'm awful at something, then just maybe I'm falling in love with you."
—Matt, 25, PA
"To fall in love, I need to feel safe to discuss anything with my girlfriend and know that she will not judge me harshly. I also need to know that she supports me, because life is tough enough without having to battle in relationships. She should have inner and outer beauty. She should be honest, and if there is a problem, we should work together to resolve it in a constructive way. Her personality should bring out my best qualities, including my sense of humor."
—Ralph, 36, DC
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.