When to say i love you

Alexa Johnson

It’s the three little words everyone wants to hear – or doesn’t. At least not yet. Timing is everything when it comes to professing your love for your romantic partner for the first time. You want to make sure they feel the same way as you. But how do you know they do unless you put it out there?

A good way to gage whether or not your partner will return the phrase is by how long you have been dating officially. In college, between the three to six month marker is usually enough time to “fall in love.” Then again, it’s different for everybody! As long as you don’t blurt it out after two weeks (too soon, buddy; brace rejection!) or one year (what are you waiting for?! I’m surprised they’re still with ya…).

Saying “I love you” stands for a lot of things. It lets the other person know that you feel completely comfortable and close with them. It lets the other person know that you can see a future (not necessarily marriage, just a relationship with no set breakup date) with them. It lets the other person know that you are committed to them and them only.

There are certain times when blurting ILY for the first time is a big no-no. For example, when you are heavily intoxicated, in a sexual situation, or when they say it first and you know you’re not ready and/or don’t feel the same. Never say it back if you don’t feel it too, as it will only give false hope to the other person and hurt them in the end.

Be mature about it, though. Say something like, “I really, really like you, too, but I’m just not ready to say ‘I love you’ yet.” If you know there’s a chance you could fall for them, add in, “I’d really love to keep getting to know you.” If their feelings are strong, they’ll wait. If they don’t, then face it, they do deserve the right to move on to someone that will love them back.

Society likes to think the boy should be the first to say it. But if you’re a girl and want to say it first, then go for it girl! Personally, I like to wait for the guy to say it first, simply because I get too nervous and want to make sure they’re definitely in this thing before I am (my own crazy defense mechanism).

So, how to say it? First, talk about your feelings with one another. Have you enjoyed spending time together? Do you see this going somewhere? Then, when you are confident and you’ve tested the waters, say it. Do it in person, mean it, and pray for the reciprocated response. It’ll be OK, I promise!

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