Question: “I went on vacation and met this amazing guy, and he spent New Years with me in NYC, and we have grown super close. He asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes of course. I have such strong feelings for him, but obviously don’t want to scare him away. How early is too early to say those three words??” Is there an appropriate time to say it? Should I wait to see if he says it first?
Answer: Funny enough, I recently had this conversation with a couple of girlfriends because they thought 2 months was long enough to wait to tell someone the 3 words. I’d like to preface this and explain that I am writing this article in reference to saying “I love you” in a romantic relationship between two companions. “Love” can applied to family and friends but it comes with different responsibilities when it is in regards to a romantic relationship.
Love is an emotion, and we often feel the need to say it to prove our feelings to someone. However, when it comes to loving someone, you should wait until you know you’re really ready for the responsibility of that emotion and make sure that you stand behind the words because there isn’t anything stronger than those words.
Saying the three words can also rush things emotionally and take the relationship to a level it may not be ready for. I once said “I love you” to someone when we were going through a hard time in our relationship. I felt so strongly about his support, and yet when I said it, it left us in an even more awkward state because he wasn’t ready to say it back. All of a sudden the support that I felt, which made me want to tell him I love him, disappeared and I felt like I had no support at all.
If you say “I love you” too early on, you run the risk of scaring your partner and causing them to distance themselves a bit if the feeling isn’t mutual. Or more importantly, it may cause your partner question your relationship in general. Love comes with such responsibility and meaning, that if you say it too soon, it may not be taken as seriously as you would like it to because it can cause your partner to question what love really means to you.
Each relationship is unique, and you may feel love for your partner, and that is wonderful. But at the beginning of a relationship, if you show your love rather than say it, you’ll bring your significant other closer without running the risk of speaking too soon. There are also way to show someone you love them rather than telling them, and I’d recommend doing that. As they say “actions speak louder than words.”
Many times women feel that the man should say it first, and although men don’t usually verbalize their emotions too well, they often want the woman to say it first too. It’s important to understand that when it comes to saying “I love you” if you don’t feel that your partner is undoubtedly going to say it back, don’t say it. It doesn’t really matter who says it first, it’s about it being a mutual feeling when you do decide to say it.
The feeling that one experiences when he or she says it, and it isn’t mutual, creates an awkward emotion that we often can’t explain, or change. You can show your love with affection, attention, and little things, it’s always about the little things. We all have different little things that are important to us as individuals, and if you can show that you respect them, that says enough in itself.
When it comes to saying the three words, when you think about it, there are no other words that we say in a romantic relationship that have the same meaning. If you show your partner that you love them through your actions, and they don’t reciprocate, it may be safe to assume they don’t feel the same as you. If that’s the case, you don’t need to worry about saying the words for a while. I also think you should know why you “love” them before you say it. Sometimes we get so swept up in our emotions, and sexual chemistry we forget why we think we feel such a strong emotion.
Once you say it, there is no going back and saying “I didn’t mean it” or “I love you more now than I did then.” Love definitely grows, it’s a bond between two people who get stronger over time, however, it’s important to begin the foundation of your love upon something concrete and stable, to make sure it goes in the right direction for both parties involved from the beginning.
So, is it ever “too soon”? I don’t think it’s ever too soon, just remember, if you’re contemplating saying “I love you” make sure that you mean all three of those words before you just say it, there is nothing more meaningful to say later, except “I do.”