When to say I love you. As a new couple, there are a lot of different “firsts” that you will get to experience together. Whether it’s a kiss, a dance, or something more intimate, sharing these with your new partner can be thrilling and exciting and make you feel like the world exists just for your love.
But what about when things start to get serious? How do you know if what you are feeling is genuine or just a fleeting bit of passion? This is a question that plagues most couples, and it usually culminates in 3 words: “I love you.”
This day and age, it’s easy to throw around these words a lot, especially in a hyperbolic sense. We tend to say it to people that we’re not involved with as a way of saying thank you, which can make it seem a bit less meaningful (you got me concert tickets? I love you!). However, when it comes to our significant others, the words should carry weight, which is why it can be tricky to know when to say I love you.
Unfortunately, there is no “right time” or formula that you can follow in this situation. Some people may say the words after being together for months while others might say it as soon as the second date.
What is imperative, though, is that you mean it, regardless of the circumstances. If you say it with empty feelings, then you are not only hurting your SO but yourself as well.
Love vs. Lust
For some people, it’s hard to understand what your feelings mean and how they can evolve over time. In fact, you might be completely smitten with someone one day and then despise them the next, so does that mean you love or hate that person? Similarly, if your happiness and glee start to fade as the relationship goes on, does that mean that you’re falling out of love?
Again, there is no right answer here, so you have to try to figure it out for yourself. Overall, though, the best way to know if your feelings are genuine is to have them tested. For example, if it’s all lust and passion, then they should fade away when you see your partner in a particularly unflattering light (even if it’s just in your imagination).
Another thing to consider is whether or not your feelings are based on a crush or something more genuine. As a rule, a crush is when you feel strongly about someone without being with them, meaning that you love the idea of being a couple more than actually being together.
Typically, in those cases, if you do ever start to date your crush you will find that reality is nowhere near as exciting as fantasy, and you might discover that he or she is not all you imagined.
Timing is Everything
So, where does that leave us with the “love” dilemma? Well, what it means is that we shouldn’t rush into anything, especially when showing our true feelings is on the line. We are all afraid of saying the words and not hearing them back, so most of the time we refrain from saying it until we are absolutely sure. In the end, that can actually be a good thing as it will force us to evaluate our feelings so that we can better understand them.
This all comes back to testing your resolve. Thankfully, you can do this on your own, and it can provide you with some excellent insight into your real feelings.
Here are some questions that you want to ask yourself before saying “I love you.” If you answer no to most of them, then chances are that you are not in love, and shouldn’t move things in that direction. Conversely, if all you see is yes, then what are you waiting for?
- Do I think about this person a lot?
- Can I envision myself with this person several years from now?
- Do I want to have kids with this person?
- Does he or she do anything that annoys me?
- Is there anything that would be a deal-breaker for this relationship?
- Have I seen all sides of his or her personality?
- Have I shown him or her all sides of my personality?
- Do I feel comfortable enough to open up to this person?
- Do I want to be a part of his or her family?
- Does the idea of saying “I love you” excite me?
- Am I afraid of rejection from this person?
While there are plenty of other things that you can ask yourself, this is a pretty good start. In the end, the key thing to consider is how much you want to be with him or her and what you’re willing to do or put up with to make that happen.
No one is perfect, so can you accept this person with all of his or her faults? What happens if nothing changes in his or her personality? Can you live with that? Once you’ve dived deep into these questions and approached them objectively, then you can figure out what you’re feeling and whether it’s appropriate for you to say “I love you.”
While we all tend to discuss these issues with ourselves or our close friends, many times we neglect the person who is most important to the conversation: our SO.
One reason is that we don’t want to seem too needy or clingy, especially if he or she doesn’t reciprocate our feelings. Another reason is that we’re afraid. However, at the end of the day it’s crucial that you are both on the same page as to what the other is feeling, so the more open you are about it, the better off you’ll be.
Think about it this way, if you’re afraid that you’ll “scare” off the person who you love, does that mean that he or she feels strongly about you? If it’s that easy to turn your SO off to the idea of being with you, then what is your relationship based on?
Overall, the best thing to do is talk to your partner and see how he or she is feeling as well as open up about your own thoughts on the subject. Even if you are rejected, it’s better to know sooner rather than later so that you aren’t assuming one thing is true when the reality is completely different.