• You've only just met them, and you can't stop thinking about them. You've had a lot of disappointments, and are left wondering: why do I catch feeling so fast?

  • Counsellor Georgina Sturmer explores the potential underlying reasons

  • If you struggle with relationships, find a therapist to support you here 

So, what does it mean, to ‘catch feelings’? It’s about developing strong romantic feelings for someone, often in an unexpected way. It’s been over six decades since Elvis told us that ‘Wise men say … Only Fools rush in …I can’t help falling in love with you’.  

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with the idea of love at first sight. But if you’re questioning why you catch feelings so fast, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect.  

In this article, I explore why it might happen, the implications for our relationships, and some tips to consider.  

So, why do we catch feelings quickly? It feels natural to seek connection and relationships with other people. But let’s look at why you might find yourself overtaken by unexpected romantic feelings for someone:

Fear of being alone

It feels natural to seek connection and relationships with other people. But there’s a difference between wanting to be in a relationship with someone else and needing to be in a relationship with someone else.  

If you feel scared or anxious about the idea of being alone, then you might find yourself hurtling into a relationship.  

Images and stereotypes about love and romance

We’ve all grown up with fairy tale love stories and imagery. This is compounded by stories and images we see on social media. In fact, the ‘dopamine hit’ of love at first sight isn’t dissimilar to the feeling that we get when we engage with social media.  

Think about how much of this you have internalised into your own search for love and romance.  

Peer pressure

Consider the encouragement that you receive from friends or family. Maybe your friends are ‘coupled up’ and want you to join them. Or perhaps there are family or cultural pressures for you to find ‘the one’. This can add a sense of urgency to our own search for romance.  

Rescuing and caregiving

It could be that when you catch feelings, you are acting out your default relationship patterns. Do you find yourself drawn to look after, or rescue other people? Perhaps your desire for romance is tapping into a need to care for other people.  

Being looked after

This one might sound a bit silly at first glance. After all, who doesn’t want to be looked after? But sometimes this drive indicates that we lack the resilience or motivation to look after ourselves.  

What are the implications for your relationships?

If you find that you catch feelings quickly, let’s look at how it might impact on your relationships.  

Unrealistic expectations

If you have created a romanticised image of your partner, watch out what happens if (or when) the romance fades and you’re faced with a real-life human being. Perhaps the initial spark leads to fondness and affection. Or maybe you’re left feeling disappointed that your partner doesn’t live up to expectations.  

This can be even more difficult if life throws a challenge your way. What happens to your romantic spark when you’re faced with loss, trauma, or difficulty?

This applies the other way round too. Have you created a false image or persona to attract someone else? Are you able to really be yourself with them? Are you able to express your needs?


If you catch feelings so fast because you struggle to be on your own, then you might find yourself in an unbalanced co-dependent situation.  

I have heard of co-dependency referred to as ‘relationship addiction’ and this description rings true.  

Inappropriate relationships

If you find yourself falling hard and fast for someone around you, be mindful of whether they are an ‘appropriate’ partner. This is not a judgement call over whether they meet a certain set of expectations, it’s a reminder that sometimes we might feel attracted to someone who is unavailable in some way. Maybe they are already in a relationship, or perhaps there is a power imbalance.  

Risk of manipulation

I don’t want to sound like a total killjoy, but if your partner is overwhelming you with romantic gestures, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any red flags. 

‘Lovebombing’ is a common feature at the beginning of a relationship which might later become coercive or abusive. Or ‘breadcrumbing’, which describes behaviour that we would connect with stringing someone along.  

Looking deeper at yourself and your relationship patterns

In counselling we have the time and space to reflect on your relationship patterns and where they come from. Here are some ideas of what we might consider:

Relationship role models

Consider the relationship role models that might have impacted on you when you were growing up. Are you trying to recreate them, or perhaps reject them? Have these role models built into relationship patterns that you can identify in yourself, such as security, neediness, detachment, and avoidance?  


Boundaries offer us a metaphorical shield, to protect ourselves from people around us. If our boundaries are too high, then it’s hard for us to trust or feel secure with others. But if you find that you ‘catch feelings’ easily then it might indicate that your boundaries are too low. Sometimes this is because we are keen to please others or we have low self-esteem, and this can leave us insecure.

How can you build healthy and balanced boundaries around yourself? Doing so enables us to be feel secure and trust other people, to be ourselves and show vulnerability without fear. It also protects us from the judgement of other people, or from our perceptions of what they think about us.

What are your fears? 

Are you scared of being on your own, do you catastrophise about the idea of loneliness or rejection? And are you able to challenge these fears so that you can make balanced decisions.  

Consider your own self-esteem, and how that impacts on your relationships. How you feel about yourself, and how you feel deserve to be treated.  

Further reading

Recovering people pleaser? 10 steps to help you say no

5 tips for anyone with dating fatigue

Relationships and love: are they really hard to find?

Why do I push away the people I love?

What's at the root of love addiction?