How Soon Is Too Soon To Say “I Love You!”

Saying “I love you” mark a big milestones in any relationship.  But both men and women sometimes find it difficult to say “I love you” because they are afraid of what the other might say. A client told me he had tried many times to say the words but somehow could not bring himself to say them. When he finally said “I love you”, she replied “It’s about time”. Another one told me when he first said the words, she had tears running down her cheeks, and seeing how happy she was encouraged him to say the words more often.

But after a while, the three magic words had lost their magic. He’d say, “I love you” and she’d come back with “Yeah, right”.

So when should you tell the other person you’re totally under their spell’ I’ve read and heard other Relationships “experts” say that “I love you” should come only on the tenth date or after you’ve dated someone for four months. Personally, I think that is all bull shit – excuse my language. Saying “I love you” is a very personal experience, and every person has their own different timetable for saying it. Some people say it right away with a new person, while others prefer to wait a while to be 150% certain that they truly love the person they are saying it to.

However, it is usually a bad idea to tell someone you love them on the first date or even second date. The person might think that you say it to everyone you date and the reality is, on the first date, you don’t really know a thing about this person. The first date might have been great but there is a ninety-nine-point-ninety-nine percent chance that this person may not always be all well dressed, well mannered and charming. Wait at least until you know more about the person.

If after thinking it through you are convinced that you know enough about this person, mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for the moment. Easing into the moment by letting the other person know how much they mean to you and how they make your life richer, and speaking clearly while holding eye contact can make it a little less nerve-wrecking. However, the moment should not be choreographed to the T. Let a little spontaneity rule, flow with the emotions that come to surface. Some people find it easier to write a love letter instead. That way, they can pour out their heart’s content without choking in it. Just remember that sooner or later you’ll have to say the words to the person’s face.

But not all people have difficulty with saying “I love you”. For some it’s kind of like habit like saying “thank you” or “good-bye” after you talk to them. And I do not necessarily think there is anything wrong with it. After all it might be the last thing that you ever get a chance to say to someone else.

There is this guy I met online. This is like a long time ago, like another life time. I was young and hot-blooded and finding love on the internet was just becoming the in-thing to do. Anyways, this guy would end every chat session or long distance call with “I love you.” I found it a little disconcerting but I kind of just went along with it. One evening I surprised myself by responding with “I love you, too”, only to hang up wondering.. ” I love you too?” I don’t even know the man’s postal code!

Uttering those three little words like you mean them to somebody you actually deeply care for doesn’t only light up the other person’s world, but yours too. The key point here is to be sincere about it. And saying “I love you” a lot is not an indicator of whether one really loves. Some people use it as a way to manipulate you – like getting into your pants or you bank book. It is important to pay attention to how what they say makes you feel and if they really mean it. How is the person saying it’ Does it come out like they really mean it or does it feel to you like they are saying it because they think they need to’ Listen to your gut feeling and do not try to ignore it because your body picks up on non-verbal cues that your head may miss.

And, if you’re questioning if this person truly loves you, then maybe something isn’t quite right or the relationship isn’t working for you. This may sound like la-la-land cliché but it is true, when someone feels for you that much, they can’t fake or hide it!

People and especially women hesitate to say how they feel because they think they should wait for the man to say it first. And many times feelings never get communicated at all and the other person is left feeling unloved and unwanted. I do not think we should be afraid to say it before the man says it to us first. Sometimes explicit words are necessary, but more often, the manner in which they are said is even more important. An impulsive hug that says “I love you” may mean a lot more than words that are expressed insincerely.

Hearing the words “I love you” can come as a surprise to some of us. If it comes as a surprise, do not feel obligated to say “I love you, too” just because the other person said it to us. Simply be silent and accept the statement and then reflect on it. What does it means to you’ Do you feel the same way for the person’ And please, “I love you” should NEVER be followed with a “yeah, me too”.

“I love you” should be said only when you really mean it because when you tell someone that you love them, especially for the first time, it changes the way the person acts toward you or the way they even look at you. When you tell someone you love them quiet often the way it comes across to the other person is like okay, I love you now you have to love me back, or because I love you I want you to treat me in a certain way or now that I love you let’s take this relationship to another level…like get married. Men especially have a hard time reacting to being told “I love you” (also see my article on why men are afraid to commit).

If in the heat of the moment you suddenly say “I love you” and the other person’s reaction makes you think “ooops!”. Do not panic like most people do, in panic mode you might do something really stupid, like start apologizing or quickly end the relationship before he or she ends it. Give the person time to digest what you just dropped on them. If he or she starts acting differently or avoiding you altogether, calmly request that they hear you out.  If they agree to this, them explain to them that you have no expectations whatsoever (and you should really mean this because if you do have expectations they will come out one way or the other). And if you do have expectation, then spell them out but be prepared when the other person doesn’t react the way you want them to.

Don’t blurt out “I love you” just because you think it will get you some bed action, some cash flow or even a wedding band. You may actually get what you want, but when the other person gets to find out they’ll hate you for it. Then again your statement of love even if you did not really mean it might be taken seriously and you might actually get “I love you, too” back. Never underestimate the capacity of a human being to fool him or herself, to become obsessive, to fall in love with someone who has given no sign whatsoever that they’re even interested.

When working with singles, I often advice them to take a kind of different approach and an alternative to “I love you”. Instead of saying “I love you”, you might want to say “honey, do you feel loved by me?” If he or she says “yes, I feel loved by you” you can follow it with “how am I doing that?” Even if he or she says “No I do not feel loved”, you can follow the “no” with “how or what can I do to make you feel loved?” It changes the whole dynamics. You are no longer just expressing your feelings but expressing how important it is to you that he or she feels loved by you.

This approach opens a door to more truthful and intimate communication on which to build a better foundation for your relationship.

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