When is it time to say ‘I Love You’?

4 min read

We've only been dating a few months, it's too soon to say it. I've been hurt so many times, I don't want to say it first. Do these thoughts sound familiar?

Hearing a partner say I love you for the first time can be scary, but it is often regarded as one of the biggest highlights in a romantic relationship. But with so many conflicting and confusing dating rules out there, when exactly is the right time to say it?

While there’s no exact science for the perfect time to profess your love, I definitely advise against saying it while under the influence. Sure the fear that your partner might not say it back may be reduced with a little liquid courage, these words are important and should only be said when you are in a clear and coherent mindset. Slurring those words to your partner for the first time at 2:00 in the morning is not a good look, trust me.

Have any of the following thoughts ever crossed your mind?

We’ve only been dating a few months, it’s definitely too soon to say it.

I’ve been hurt so many times, I am too scared to say it first.

OMG, what if I say it first and they don’t say it back? I will literally die.

I assume the answer is YES. Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Most of us go through complete and total emotional turmoil when falling in love. Love is one of the most incredible, scary, confusing, and irrational mixtures of feelings we go through. So, let’s break these thoughts down one by one.

We’ve only been dating a few months, it’s definitely too soon to say it.

As a real-life Cupid, my advice is to say it when you truly feel it- without making too many calculations about timing. Having said that, if your partner professes their love to you within 2 weeks of dating, it might be a red flag. It raises questions about whether the person is genuine or just caught up in the moment.

It’s not uncommon to drop the L bomb in the intoxicating honeymoon phase of a relationship. Try to enjoy this phase as much as possible and don’t rush saying the special words. It could very well be, that the time to say these words is when your relationship has moved from the magical fairy dust stage, into a real partnership – where you see both the positive and challenging aspects of each other and love each other despite the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’ve been hurt so many times, I am too scared to say it first.

No doubt opening our hearts makes us more vulnerable. You may be familiar with Brené Brown, who spent much of her career studying courage and vulnerability. Her TED talk on the subject is in the top five most viewed TED talks, not to mention she is also a New York Times bestseller. To anyone going through these feelings, I highly recommend reading her books or watching her lectures. Brené reveals that vulnerability is not a weakness, in fact, it is the key to having close relationships. By having the courage to be vulnerable and open up to ourselves and the world around us, we come directly in touch with our most authentic self and in doing so, can live a much happier and fulfilling life.

What if they don’t say it back?

This is such a valid fear, but even if your partner doesn’t say it right away it doesn’t mean they don’t have serious feelings for you. There are various factors at play here.

Not everyone develops love or expresses it at the same pace. Only because you said it first, doesn’t mean they should say it back. This may be hard to handle but you need to respect it and give your partner the time and space to get there in their own time. When they do get there and when they feel ready to say those special words, it will feel so much more authentic and incredible! Not only will the wait be worth it but you won’t have to worry if they were just reciprocating the feelings to be polite.

Research states that men tend to profess their love earlier than women, and are happier than women when receiving confessions of love from a partner (Ackerman, et al., 2011). According to one survey, men take an average of 88 days to tell a partner “I love you,” compared to a woman’s 134. Moreover, 39% of men say “I love you” within the first month of dating someone, compared to just 23% of women.

Personality differences are another key factor regarding the pace of saying I love you in a relationship. For example, shy people tend to profess their love later than outgoing people, even when their level of love is pretty equal. One shy woman told her partner, who had already confessed his love for her: “Don’t weigh my words, weigh my actions”. And when he reflected and thought about it, he realized she was right, actions do speak louder than words.

When it comes to finding a romantic partner, our team is here to support you. In addition to our matchmakers, you can also meet with our relationship expert Madeleine who is loaded with expertise on how to navigate any obstacles that are preventing you from reaching the ultimate goal of finding true love and happiness. Contact us today!

Rachel Maclynn

About the Author

Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

In 2011, Rachel took a leap of faith. Following a series of serendipitous events, she founded Vida (now known as Maclynn) in London and never looked back. Rachel is a Chartered Member and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Psychology. Her own values around integrity, delivering the highest standards, inclusion, and self-empowerment are at the core of Maclynn’s unique matchmaking model. Described by clients as calm, compassionate, warm and wise, she continues to be fully immersed in the business, working with a select number of VIP clients. In recent years, Rachel’s personal life has focused on raising her two young sons with her partner, Jamie. Rachel has also achieved her personal goals of running the New York Marathon and reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.

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