When it comes to using the word “love,” timing is everything. You don’t want to confess your emotions too early to too late in a relationship, and it’s crucial you only say those three little words when you mean it. Never say you love someone because they pressure you to say it back, or you feel bad for them.
Instead, take a minute to think about your relationship. Do you love the new fling in your life or are you simply lusting after him? Do you love everything about him or just the way he makes you feel? How soon is too soon for love? Consider our tips on how soon is too soon to say I love you to find the answers for you. These points will help you figure out how you truly feel.
Timing is Everything
When it comes to saying I love you, timing is the most crucial aspect. It’s the difference between your partner reciprocating your feelings or the relationship ending much too soon because they fear for your mental health. Unless you want to come off as a crazy person, you must get the timing right.
Don’t wait too long or spring your affections on your partner too early. Even if you’re positive what you feel is love, be aware that saying it too early puts unnecessary strain on a relationship. You may come off as needy or downright creepy. The funny thing is, if someone isn’t ready to hear that you love them, that’s how you will come off. However, if they’re ready for you to share your feelings, they won’t.
Reasons It’s Too Soon to Say I Love You
Every relationship is different, so it can be hard to tell if it’s too soon for love. The following points are all ways you can see how soon is too soon to say I love you. Use the information to help you gauge where your relationship lies. Here are some of the most common reasons it’s not time yet.
Your Friends Don’t Like Them
We all have friends that don’t seem to like anyone we have them meet, even if they comfort and support you in other areas of your life. But when most of your friends don’t like your new boyfriend, he’s probably not right for you. Your friends should have your back, and they tend to have high standards for anyone you date. They try to protect you this way. Listen to their reasoning.
If you hear out your friends and still don’t see their point of view, give it a little time. See if your friends warm up to your new boyfriend over time. Sometimes people warm up to each other down the line. However, if they remain firm in thinking he’s not right for you, maybe it’s time to move on.
You Don’t Talk About Your New Partner on Social Media
Social media has much more power and sway today than we would have ever thought possible. It also can help you read into your emotions when you’re feeling confused or pressured. If you don’t talk about your new fling or friend each other on social media, you’re not there yet. Talking about your partner in public is one thing, so not being ready for everyone on your feed to know about him is a bad sign.
Things Don’t Feel Right
Listen to your gut more than anyone else. One of the hardest life lessons to learn is to pay attention when things don’t feel right because there is a reason, even if you don’t see it yet. Your gut or intuition is your most reliable tool. Love can lead many people to ignore feelings that something isn’t right. Science even proves that love is truly blind.
You Feel Unsure
Maybe your friends don’t think you love your new partner yet. Chances are, they’re right. You may feel happy and enjoy his company, but don’t feel ecstatic. You’re not sure if it’s love. You might even hide parts of yourself from him in case he finds flaws. If you feel unsure deep down inside after dating for a while, it may not be the right fit. Being friends or staying in a casual relationship may be better.
You Just Started Dating
If it’s only been a couple of weeks since you started dating someone new, it’s too early to say I love you. You know it’s too soon for love if you recently met or just entered the relationship. Your heart may tell you otherwise, but you’re not ready or even truly sure you love him yet. New relationships are exciting and fun! They’re confusing too.
Give the relationship the time it needs so you can get to know each other well. If the relationship still feels shaky, it’s not the time for exchanging I love you. You don’t want to place yourself in a situation where you’ll freak out your new partner and regret saying how you feel too early. True love doesn’t rush.
Time is Rushing By
Love can cause us to do some crazy things. Strong emotions come with a layer of fear that those feelings won’t be reciprocated. Being in love is a beautiful feeling, but it’s a double-edged sword. It makes a living a balanced life much more difficult, particularly when you’re excited about the new love. You may rush into things and jump into exchanging the l-word much too fast.
The easiest way to tell how soon is too soon to say I love you is if you don’t feel secure. Many people rush into exchanging “I love you” when they spend tons of time together. But you might be rushing into it. You don’t have to go down that road until you’re ready. There is plenty of time to drop your love bomb, and if your person truly loves you, they won’t mind waiting for the right moment.
You Haven’t Been Intimate Together
Intimacy should never be the sole foundation of a relationship, but you may not be ready to say I love you if you haven’t become intimate with each other yet. Couples who express their love much too fast may run into some tricky situations later. You may realize you don’t feel comfortable or sexy with him or that it’s not the right match.
You Hope Something Changes
Change is growth. But while you should always help your partner to grow over time, you cannot spend your time hoping they will change. A happy relationship between two loving people would never change a thing. If you think, “he’s almost perfect if not for his alcoholism,” move on. Some people can get help, but addiction will always be a struggle in their life that you can’t (or don’t want to) handle.
Your New Partner is Waiting for Something
It’s not you; it’s him. Your new partner seems to be waiting for something even though he seems head-over-heels for you. Many people wait to protect their hearts. Perhaps he’s not ready to share his emotions with you. He probably feels nervous that you won’t reciprocate. But he doesn’t have to say it until he’s ready either. You should give him the space he needs to do so on his own. Waiting won’t hurt.
Problems Pop Up Already
If you haven’t said I love you yet and many problems have already shown up in your relationship, beware. Your brain can make all the excuses it wants about how he’s not so bad or reasons why you should stick it out. Be honest with yourself. Don’t sweep your feelings under the rug. Evaluate the situation, thinking about the issues already popping up.
You Have No Shared Goals or Dreams
Couples tend to create shared goals or dreams in a relationship. You should also have your personal goals you work toward, but the goals you work on as a team solidifies the relationship. Exchange your hopes and dreams. Find something you two can feel equally excited about to work on together. Stay willing to try new things when you discuss this with your partner.
If you can’t find any shared goals, the relationship will probably fade over time. Goals keep a relationship interesting and strong. They help couples look toward their future together. Couples who aren’t ready to share goals aren’t ready for love either.
He Hasn’t Shown You His Favorite Places
Everyone has favorite places around town they enjoy going to, either alone or with friends. But if he hasn’t shown you any of his favorites (besides his bedroom), that’s a bad sign. He doesn’t yet feel comfortable enough to share personal parts of himself with you. Don’t tell a guy like this you love him, even if you’ve been dating for months. He probably isn’t as serious about the relationship as you think.
You Haven’t Met His Friends or Family
Like the last point, don’t say I love you to a guy if you haven’t met his friends or family yet. A guy who isn’t serious about the relationship will keep you hidden away to himself until he’s ready. He should want you to meet his friends and family, and you should introduce him to yours well before you say I love you for the first time.
The Future Never Comes Up
It’s too soon to say I love you if you never talk about the future. You both may avoid the topic because you’re not sure where the relationship is going. Thus, you feel uncomfortable talking about who’s apartment you would live in together or whether you want future kids someday. The more you start thinking about your future in terms of we, the more ready you are to share your love.
If you’re the only one talking about the future, that’s also a bad sign. You might be ready, but your partner smiles and nods. He won’t offer anything to paint your future picture together if he doesn’t see it too. You might ask questions first. But if he doesn’t reciprocate, don’t force anything. You don’t want to hurt anyone by rushing into things. Instead, take things slow and enjoy the dating stage you’re in.
Your Boundaries Aren’t Strong
Love can make you want to include your new partner in every aspect of your life. However, boundaries are crucial in a relationship. Studies show that strong boundaries help create the happiest relationships. Self-discipline can help keep yourself in check. You may notice your friends telling you that you need to keep some things for you and you alone.
Boundaries aren’t walls to keep your partner out; they’re healthy limits. You need to respect your limits and your partners to build a healthy relationship. Otherwise, the relationship will fail sooner than you may like. No couple can keep up the 24/7 thing for years to come.
You Are Physical Too Much
At the beginning of a new fling, you might spend a lot of time in bed together. Maybe you can’t help but touch each other when you’re out in public. However, too much time spent being physical together can make many women want to say I love you faster. The temptation comes with all the contact, and you may want to reveal your emotions too early.
Hold back and consider if what you’re feeling is love. If you think it still is, still wait. He might not be on the same level yet. Check-in with your gut to make sure the feeling isn’t all coming from too much physical intimacy.
How to Know When You Should Say I Love You
You may not know if you can trust your feelings, even if you’re pretty sure what you’re feeling is love. Sharing your romantic love too early leaves you vulnerable. According to Psychology Today, many people hold off to say I love you until they feel certain the other person indicated they feel the same way. Use the following tips to tell if you should say I love you.
You Went on No Less Than Five Dates
Although the number of dates is ultimately arbitrary because you can’t place a time limit on love, never say the l-word before you have gone out on five dates. The point here is all about timing. No one is ready for strong expressions upon the first meeting. Give it a little more time. According to Bustle, most couples say the l-word after certain relationship milestones.
Your Relationship Has Lasted Two Months
The two-month mark is a much better timeline for many couples to express how they feel. However, that doesn’t mean you have to say it before you feel it. There’s no perfect time.
If two months have come and gone, you may not feel ready still. Everyone functions on a different timetable. Two months simply provide time for many people to get to know each other well. Bustle says most couples take five months, while a survey pinpoints the moment at 144 days.
Pay Attention to the Signs
If his body language cues don’t show he’s falling in love or he says he wants to wait, listen. Pay attention to the signs around you that show if the time is right. Body language is the nonverbal ways we communicate how we feel about someone. Studying your partner and your body language can help you read the situation, without reading too much into his moves.
He might feel strongly about you if he sits closely, smiles a lot, finds reasons to touch you, or watches you when you’re not looking. Couples may often mirror each other’s body language or make frequent eye contact. A guy who shows you all the indicators of love feels strongly for you, and it shouldn’t be long until he tells you how he feels for sure.
The Feeling Seems Mutual
Rather than express your feelings as soon as you notice them, wait until the feeling seems mutual. If your partner isn’t ready to reciprocate, you could cause tension. Determine if the time is right by watching how they seem to feel about you. If you don’t think they love you, saying it won’t woo them into feeling the same. They need to feel comfortable expressing mutual love.
You Have a Need to Free Your Feelings
If you feel like you’re bursting to express your love, go for it. Sometimes telling someone you love them depends on your personal preference. Many couples today play games. You may feel much more respected by your partner for being authentic and saying how you feel when you feel it. Don’t strategize too much or try to plan every moment of sharing your love.
You Know You Love Someone
If you know, you know. People who aren’t sure they love someone probably don’t feel the love yet.
The Time is Right
Everyone moves at a different pace. The right time will be different for every person and every couple. Wait until the time is right for both people in the relationship though. Saying it too soon may scare your partner, especially if they have commitment issues. The problem comes because we feel so pressured to say it back. Wait until the love develops for both people, but understand there’s no special timing.
When Not to Say “I Love You”
Finally, there are a few instances where you absolutely should not utter the words “I love you” even if you think you both feel the same way. Where many of the other points in this list are about having the right timing, these situations focus on the right place. Never say I love you during the following moments.
Never Confess Your Love Before, During, or After Sex
Anytime around sex isn’t the moment to say I love you for the first time. Sex makes your brain feel like it’s on drugs. Studies show it relieves stress, acts as an antidepressant, and wipes your memory clean. You may feel awesome. However, that’s the chemicals floating around. It’s possible to fall in love with the sex itself rather than the person expressing their love.
On a Road Tip or At a Family Gathering
Being confined in a space, like a car or a grandma’s house, can make you feel the need to reach out to your partner. Don’t. The tiny confined space may only make your partner feel pressured and on guard. They have no way out. Peer pressure isn’t the way to get your first I love you. Make the moment more magical and personal.
You Feel Emotional and May Not be Able to Think Rationally
If you’re feeling emotional for any reason, a death in the family, or a few too many margaritas, you may not think rationally. You might think it’s an excellent idea at the moment, but it’s usually not. Rather than allow the words to slide out before you’re ready, take a deep breath. If you still feel the same way in the morning, when you are thinking with your right mind, reconsider saying it.
This point means you must avoid saying I love you during:
- Airplane turbulence
- Friend’s engagements
- A vacation
- Family weddings
- Fun nights out
- Your first fight
You Want to Reward Your Partner
Maybe your partner did something you enjoy, and you want to reward them. Buy them a gift rather than using an I love you as a cheap reward. Only say the words if you mean it.
Your Partner Said It First, and You Feel the Need to Echo
We already mentioned how pressuring it is when your partner says I love you first. You don’t want to hurt their feelings, but you’re not quite ready to say it back. Don’t just echo their words to avoid an awkward situation or mumble out a half-hearted exchange to get them off your back. You’ll only hurt them in the long run, and the relationship will suffer.
Allow your feelings to digest and ask for the time you need to make that happen. A good partner won’t feel upset about you expressing that you’re not ready. They will, however, get mad when you lie or exaggerate how you feel to avoid awkward silence.