When to Say I Love You: 4 Signs it’s Time

happy couple

How do you know when to say I love you for the first time? When is the right time? Is there ever a right time? It’s normal to overthink this because it’s not something you do very often. It’s a momentous moment in any relationship. Here’s how to know for sure!

Saying I love you for the first time involves a huge amount of vulnerability. Will they say it back? What if you scare them by saying it too soon? What if they’re just not there yet? 

I can’t give you answers to these questions. But what I can tell you is that it always feels good to hear someone tell you they love you, regardless of whether it’s reciprocated or not. Of course, you want them to feel the same way, and I want that for you too. But I want you to go into this knowing that love is a wonderful emotion, and expressing it is one of the most beautiful things you can do.

When to Say I Love You: 4 Blatant Signs

With all things considered, it’s time to take the brave step! If you still need a little more clarity on when to say I love you, look out for these telltale signs.

You’re sure you love them instead of just really liking them

Only you know how you deeply feel about someone. But when it comes to saying the L-word, make sure it’s love and not just lust or a strong like. 

They say you’ll always know when it’s love. But that’s a little too cryptic for my liking. What does it actually mean? How will you feel? How will you know for sure?

The best way is to picture your life without this person anymore. When you think of your future, do you see them in it? Does the thought of not being with them, or something happening to them, terrify you? When you imagine all your wildest dreams coming true, are they there standing by your side? 

The answers to these questions will tell you a lot and help you get clear on whether it’s love that you’re feeling. And if you’re not there yet, that’s okay. Take your time. There’s no rush to get there. 

When you’re having an argument, you still feel love

All couples disagree and find themselves in arguments from time to time. This is normal and part of any healthy, functional relationship. You’re two different people now trying to navigate life together, and that will inevitably cause friction.

But one of the biggest clues of being in love is when you’re in the middle of a row, and you can still look at your partner and feel that love. Even when you’re hurt or angry or frustrated, there’s no hate. And you care enough to want to work it out. That’s what love looks like. 

When your relationship feels like a real partnership

All relationships begin in that magical honeymoon phase, where everything is roses and rainbows. You never fight, you’re having a lot of great sex, and you’re both besotted. 

You know when to say I love you when you move out of this stage into the real partnership stage. The stage where you’re able to navigate disagreements, recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and fully accept each other for who you are. 

This is what a relationship is all about. Anyone can say “I love you,” but at the end of the day, they’re just words. Are you both ready to be true partners, and face the highs and lows together as a united team?  

You’re ready to love someone fully

Avoid dropping the L-word until you’re ready to love someone fully. What do I mean by that? I mean you need to be ready to be there for this person, not just in a physical sense, but emotionally too. 

You need to make time for your relationship, so it can grow. And you need to stay true to your word and keep any promises and commitments that you make. Relationships are tough, and they require a tonne of work to thrive. 

You need to be fully in this relationship, one hundred percent. Be all in, or get yourself out now. Because it’s not fair to be careless with somebody else’s feelings.

Figuring out when to say I love you is about understating if the other person is ready to hear it. It also involves figuring out if you’re ready to match your words with your actions.  

But what do you do if they don’t say it back?

Maybe all the signs are telling you now is the right time to say “I love you.” But what if you follow the signs, and trust your heart, but your partner doesn’t say it back?

Remember, this is not a reflection on you, this is a reflection on them and how they feel. They may take longer to develop feelings or want to wait to be sure they feel the same before saying it. They might have been hurt in the past, and are now more guarded with their heart. If this is the case, it’s not necessarily bad news. Just give them some more time. It’s different to someone telling you they will never feel that way about you.

If this happens, don’t pin it on yourself. Acknowledge yourself for being brave enough to share your feelings. That’s a courageous thing to do. All we can do is be open and honest with our hearts—the rest is out of our control.

Shani Jay

About the author: Shani Jay

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