You tell your dog all the time that you love him. It isn’t difficult to share the sentiment with your Great Aunt Sally and you certainly aren’t afraid to sing the ‘I love you’ praises to a delicious bowl of chocolate ice cream. (Especially after a long, hard day). So why then, is it so difficult to tell someone you are dating that you love them? In fact, the word love and expressions of love as a whole, is one of the most overused and commonly inserted emoticon word in nearly every language known to man. Yet, faced with telling your girl or boyfriend of 8 months that you ‘l..o…v..e’ them and grown people can turn into Jell-O.
It has to make you wonder. Is there an appropriate way to tell someone that you love him or her? And, if you are frightened that spewing the “L” word is going to ruin your relationship, how then do you do it. Is the guy supposed to do it first? And how long is long enough to know for sure that what you are feeling is love opposed to lust?
What makes saying this out loud so difficult is of course the fear of rejection. What if you say those fateful words, lean in for a kiss and then get denied. Suddenly, this person that you just bared your soul to says they want to break up with you – or worse, says the four little words that are never good; “We need to talk!” So of course you are a nervous wreck.
When telling someone that you love them, timing is essential. For one thing, you definitely don’t want to tell them when they are sloppy drunk or in the middle of passionate sex. Chances are the response you will get during those moments has nothing to do with you or love! Secondly, you don’t want to proclaim your love in front of a group of people. This means that proposing at the same time as saying, I love you – is a big no no. It is better to find out whether or not you are loved in return before asking for someone’s hand in marriage. Don’t fly a banner over a beer league softball game that says, “Joe – I love you….hope you feel the same, Susan,” or make any sort of public proclaiming that may make the moment embarrassing for you or your mate. In other words, utter the three little words during a private moment, particularly one where the two of you are enjoying candlelight, a walk, or something romantic. Sitting on the couch watching a hysterical movie (or a porno) together is not what is meant by romantic! You get the picture.
Speaking of timing. One of the unwritten rules in how to tell someone that you love them, is to wait an ample amount of time before deciding you do. This means that a second date – no matter how connected you feel, is not appropriate. Nor is a third, fourth or even a fifth date for that matter. Sure, some people actually bump into that little thing known as love at first site, but it is rare! Perhaps the best measure of time is around 6 months. Even if the feelings are there long before then, try to hold your tongue until you get to know the person a little better. If you say it too early, you will blow the whole gig and likely scare off your perspective spouse for good. Saying I love you too early, is too forward and can make you look a bit over the top, pushy and desperate.
Who Should Say “I Love You” First
As for who should say it first, man, or woman – the jury is still out. In a lot of ways, if you wait for a dude to shout it out, you might be waiting a long time. Many men have more than a few issues with saying things like this. On the flip side, there are some men that fall in love with any female that will agree to date them. Largely though, men are a little more reserved and aren’t as emotional as women, meaning they might never say it first, or even say, “I love you too,” should you jump the gun and take a risk. The thing is, we live in a modern world, and females, who are impatient by nature, don’t like to wait for anything. If that’s how you feel, and you are sober – go ahead and see what comes from a little well placed, I love you. You never know. There is a good chance that he feels the same. Risks are part of life and love and at the very least; you won’t be wasting any time should he not reciprocate.
So let’s pretend you decide that tonight is the night. Do you call him or her up on the phone and tell them that you love them? Do you write a letter? The way you tell someone you love him or her is also important. Here’s why. First of all, if you do it over the phone, you will always wonder what sort of face they made when you said it. But you will never know, and this will drive you crazy for a really long time. If there is a huge pause, is it because he or she is cringing – or because they are welling up with tears. Same is true for a letter. And if you are a female – you should know that as most guys aren’t going to read your entire letter. What if the I love you, is the exact part where the new Sports Center came on, and they never read it. Then, when they don’t respond to it – you will assume it means something bad. Another reason a letter isn’t a good idea is because it leaves a paper trail! If the ‘I love you’ moment goes badly, you definitely don’t want a scanned copy of your letter to end up on Facebook.
The truth is, that there is nothing wrong with loving someone (unless you met him or her an hour ago). If you are feeling some pretty intense emotions, you can bet that your significant other is as well. You have two choices. To wait it out and wonder or to go ahead and say the words and have the talk. The second option, in this author’s humble opinion is definitely proactive, resists wasting time, honest and just might lead to something good. So go for it!