in: Dating & Relationships

When to Say “I Love You”

In researching this subject I found a slew of articles—some written solely for men and others solely for women—and they all had the same message “never be the first one to say ‘I love you.'”


Women were being told not to say “I love you” first because they fall in love faster than men and they might scare the man off. Men were being told not to say it first because it means a man gives up his power in the relationship and will be seen as weak. Both had a similar message: don’t take the risk because you just might get rejected.

It makes a person wonder, if women can’t say “I love you” first and men can’t either, is it okay to ever take emotional risks in a relationship and honestly express your feelings? And what happens in same-sex relationships if neither are “allowed” to say it first?

Take it Slow


Although I’m an advocate for expressing yourself honestly, it’s also important to tread lightly when it comes to matters of the heart. It can be easy to get carried away when you’re in love.

You want to see each other all the time and you can’t stop thinking about him/her. You might feel like you love the other person and you just want to scream it from the rooftops. That’s wonderful! But let’s take it down a notch. Even if you’re bursting with love for your partner, sometimes it’s best to wait before sharing your feelings and consider a few factors:

How long have you been together?

There is no exact amount of time or formula for this one, unfortunately. There are couples that say “I love you” very early in a relationship and others that wait a long time. However, if you fall into the former category, you might want to make sure your partner is on the same page as you before saying those three special words. Saying “I love you” can change the dynamic of the relationship, especially if one person wasn’t quite ready for it yet.

Can you get a read on your partner?

Do you think they’re ready to say it back? Saying “I love you” is wonderful, but if one person isn’t ready to say it yet, it can do damage to a great relationship. Not everyone falls in love on the same timeline and that’s completely fine. Unfortunately, if one person says it and the other person isn’t ready, it can break up something great. Remember, the other person not being ready to say “I love you” doesn’t mean that aren’t falling in love with you, or won’t one day love you, it just means they’re not there yet.

Does not saying “I love you” back mean he/she never will?

Unfortunately, our egos can really get in the way when we feel rejected; and hearing “I can see myself loving you someday” might not be enough. If you want to tell your partner how you feel, try to prepare yourself for every kind of reaction and don’t take it to heart if they’re not ready to say it back yet. You can certainly assess the situation and if he/she says they don’t see themselves falling in love ever, then you know it’s time to move on.

About the Author:


Meghan Stone earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She has worked as a therapist, social worker, teen counselor, and sexuality educator. She currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she writes, teaches, and volunteers with the local community. Her passions are social work, travel, photography, art, yoga, and learning about other cultures.


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