When Should You Say I Love You?

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When should you say I love you? How long should you wait before saying I love you? How soon is too soon to say I love you? And what’s even “the norm”? In this post, we’ll explore all. So let’s start from the top.

When Should You Say I Love You?

So when it comes to when you should say I love you – it’s an absolute no brainer that you shouldn’t ever say it until you really mean it. 

In fact, you should wait until you’re BURSTING to say it, and are 100% sure you feel it, because you’ve felt this way for a little while – a little while being weeks as opposed to just days.

Yes, you don’t want to leave it too long. You also don’t want to have your partner wondering how you’re feeling it, or if you’re feeling it at all. But that total expression – it’s special and to keep it special, the timing should be right.

Why Should You Wait?

Love is a feeling. You can love your family, love your friends, love your pets, love your favourite food even. Love doesn’t have to be this big scary thing. It’s just like if you feel happy, or excited – you can also feel love.

The thing is, this kind of love is different to being “in love”, and when it comes to dating and relationships, telling someone that you love them is more of a special thing.

See, studies show that most people only actually say “I love you” to three people (or less) in their life. It’s therefore not something that’s typically just thrown around and – in my opinion – it shouldn’t be either.

Yes you can say you love spending time with a person, you love what you’re building, but it will mean more to say those special three words – only when you mean it and feel it with every inch of your body.

The thing is – sometimes you can feel intense feelings, and it can feel like love.

I mean, think back to when you were a teen and you met your “first love”. The love back then, may have been completely different to the love you feel for a person when you’ve grown up and more matured now. It’s a different kind of love, but who’s to say love back then wasn’t still love, to a different degree?

Recommended Read: 15 Signs You’re Falling In Love

Regardless of this, when you’re feeling these intense feelings, you don’t really want to suppress it – how miserable is that?! You’re happy, you’re bursting with admiration, you want to get it out. But, you don’t have to hit them with the L bomb straight away…

How Else Can You Express How You Feel?

See if you’re not 100% sure if it’s definitely love just yet, or it’s not been very long so you feel like it’s too early-days to say it, you can say other things as opposed to the full-blown “I love you.” For instance:

“I’m really starting to fall for you.”
“I like you more and more every day.”
“I feel so strongly about you.”
“I’m really catching feelings now.”

Click here for 100 different ways to say I love you, suitable for different stages. You may also find this useful for how to tell someone you like him. (Always a tricky one if you’re not great at expressing how you feel!)

Then of course, you can also make your feelings clear by the things you do and the way you act – make them FEEL the love, because the chances are, they’ll be feeling that way towards you too (or they should do anyway!)

Recommended Read: Signs Of a One Sided Relationship
Recommended Read: Do You Like Him More Than He Likes You?

By not expressing full-blown love feelings until the moments right, it will help to slow things down if you’re still currently dating and keep him on his toes – keep them interested.

See it’s not about game-playing, but a guy should have to work for you a little. You shouldn’t just give away your love willy-nilly… not when it’s such a deep and meaningful thing to actually be in love with a person.

Recommended Read: Signs He’s Falling In Love With You

How Long Should You Wait Before Saying I Love You?

When Do People Say I Love You?

Now, you may also start to wonder – when do people say I love you? What’s “the norm”?

Because hey – every love story is different, every couple is different, but having an indication of the standard timescale can be pretty insightful.

It won’t influence how you feel or when you say it, but if you’re saying I love you after a few dates, whereas most people are saying I love you after a few months – it’s going to make you check yourself:

You see what I mean? Now, when it comes to when people say I love you, there’s quite a few different studies, as well as personal stories. On average however, research has found men take about three months to say “I love you” while women take about five months.

Interestingly though, people are now taking longer to say I love you. In fact, they’re taking nearly a month longer than they did four years ago, studies show.

Does that mean they don’t feel it as fast? There’s too much choice on dating apps? People are dating in different ways? Or maybe with dating the way it is today, they’re just a little more scared about expressing how they feel?

Who knows. But what we do know is that expressing those three special words is, as we thought, quite a big deal – and not something that’s said straight away.

Recommended Read: Top 10 Romantic Candles To Set The Mood

How Long Should You Wait Before Saying I Love You?

The thing is – other things come into it. Yes, you shouldn’t jump into expressing your love straight away – even if you think you feel it. But you also need to strike the right balance.

One could ask not only, how soon is too soon to say I love you(?) but also – can you miss the moment and say I love you too slow? Because that’s the thing –

Dating today is difficult. It’s complicated in many cases. There’s too many options, too many games. If you feel something for a person – why hold back? Why not keep things honest, open and simple?

This is your story. These are your feelings. And so long as you’re sure – who’s to say what’s right and wrong? What’s too soon and too slow? There’s not actually a “one size fits all.” I mean –

  • How long have you been dating, or in a relationship?
  • Did you know each other before that?
  • How often have you seen each other? (As this will affect the rate the bond is able to build.)
  • Where are you currently at in your life? Are you ready to meet the person?
  • Are you both on the same page? Looking for the same things, feeling the same way?
  • Has the relationship been a slow burner, or full of passion right from the start? They say “when you know, you know.” At the same time, more time could only confirm your feelings.
  • What are you like when you’re together? Do you FEEL it and not only THINK it?
  • Have you also had time apart – chance to reflect and fully understand how you feel?
  • Do you trust your judgement? Are you in the right place to know you mean this?
When can you say I love you?

When Is The Right Time To Say I Love You?

Ultimately, the right time to say I love you, is when feels right for you. Do you feel it, mean it, want to express it and feel confident that – actually – the other person feels pretty similar too?

See it doesn’t matter who says it first, what matters is how you both feel. And the more sure you are about this, the easier it is.

  • Have you taken the time to get to know each other properly?
  • Do you not just say how you feel but show how you feel?
  • Do you feel that love from them too? And they treat you right? Everything feels right?
  • Do you feel like they know how you feel because of the things you say and do too?
  • Have you had conversations about feelings, and that yours are both developing?
  • Does it not just feel a little scary but mostly EXCITING? Do these feelings make you feel good?
  • Are you in a relationship, or – if not quite there yet – you’re close to being in one?
  • Are you exclusive? There’s no-one else on the scene? Things are progressing in the right direction and it’s already been heading towards the “love” stage?

Recommended Read: 20+ Cute Dating & Relationship Milestones

Love Is The Most Beautiful Thing

If you’ve got to the point where you feel like you’ve fallen in love – appreciate it! Love is the most beautiful thing. And it’s one of the six human needs. We all want and crave it, to some degree.

You can’t force it, you can’t rush it – because when you do, that’s not actually genuine or real.

But when you feel it and know you feel it, it’s truly wonderful. Top that with falling for the right person, where the dynamics are right and the relationship is healthy – well… it’s unexplainable!

Feel like you’re falling in love, but not fully there yet? Then also enjoy the process. Because this can be just as fun and exciting! You can never get back the early stages of dating and relationships… when everything is fresh and new.

Don’t miss a step. Enjoy every step.

Ready to tell that special someone that you love them? Then bob on over to our next post for how:

** Recommended Read: How To Tell Someone You Love Them **

That’s all for this one. Hope it’s helped. Take care!


When Should You Say I Love You?
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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