the Right Time to Say “I Love You”

Few things are more terrifying than dropping the “L” word for the first time.

– What if you say it too early?
– Will you look desperate or needy, or worse crazy?
– What if you wait too long and your significant other thinks you just aren’t that into them?
– Will the ship sail because you waited too long?

The list of “what ifs” goes on and on. We have all been locked in that position of fear and nerves.

If you are wrestling with this very issue, it’s okay, take a deep breath and check out these 9 signs it’s the right time to say, I love you.

The Right Time to Say I Love You

1. You have been dating for a while

There is no hard and fast rule, some say at least 5 dates, others three months, and others 6 months. Love at first sight sounds great, and if your relationship last for years and years, you can tell the grand-kids, it was love at first sight.

But, in reality it takes time to get to know someone, time to love them, all of them. And it takes time for them to have the chance to fall in love with you. So give yourself and your relationship time, probably more than 5 dates, maybe somewhere in-between that 3 and 6 month mark.

2. You are pretty darn certain you mean it

Yes, this seems obvious, but in reality it isn’t. The fact is there is infatuation and there is love, wait until you have moved past infatuation and into love.  In the beginning it’s all butterflies and giggles. Everything our partner does is so adorable, that is infatuation.

If your partner is still “just so perfect” then you are not ready. On the other hand while we all have nerves and jitters, if you are wrestling with the question, “Do I love this person?” You are not ready. Do not tell them you do.

3. You are both on the same page about your relationship

In the land of movies often one person rushes up to the other professes their love and the other person responds with something that boils down to, “I love you too, I have always loved you, I was just waiting for you to say it to take our relationship seriously and stop dating these 7 other people.”

In the real world, love doesn’t generally work like that. Before you take the leap and drop the “L” bomb on your partner make sure that you are both on the same page about the seriousness of your relationship.

4. Make sure “I love you” means the same thing to both of you

Communication is a tricky little beast. One person’s interpretation of something can vary greatly from another’s.  The “I love you” step is a lot to absorb on its own. What’s worse is when you say I love you and your partner hears, “I love you, let’s start looking at wedding venues.”

Especially if that isn’t what you meant. I am not suggesting you turn I love you into a written outline of your feelings and intentions. I am suggesting that when you say the words, you say them in a way that your partner hears exactly what you meant to say.

5. The right moment is not during sex

Again I blame movies. This might feel like the right moment. I promise it isn’t. If your partner’s response is anything other than, “I love you too” do you really want to be in the middle of sex to have that conversation? No, no you don’t.

6. You cannot hold it in anymore

A great sign you are ready to say I love you, is that you can barely stop yourself from saying it. If those three words are ready to leap from your mouth every time you talk to your partner, maybe it is time to go ahead and let them slip out. If you’re mouth is so certain you are fighting to not say it, it’s time to say it.

7. Do not wait too long

I know, you have worked out every possible way this could go wrong. You are nervous, scared, and maybe a little shy. So you are just going to wait, if they love you your partner will say it first. Except, what if that is exactly how your man feels?

If you are in love, if you can check off most every other item off this list, it is time. Tell him, don’t let time slip by, don’t let love slip by. Sometimes we wait so long that love slips away, better to try than to not try at all.

8. You love the ugly parts too

Love is messy, dirty, and at times gross. Love isn’t just the great moments, the fun moments, the good things, and the sexy bits. Love is not wearing your makeup and not being uncomfortable. Love is morning breath, and dealing with your partner’s family and their friends, whether or not you like them.

Love is when you take care of your partner when they have the flu rather than avoiding them until they feel better. If you are ready for the ugly parts, it’s love. If he is there for the ugly parts, even better!

9. Build up to actually saying it

People in love do things for each other. Little things go a long way. Before you go all the way and actually say the words, start by saying it in actions. A great way to get both of you ready for the big moment is to start showing your love.A strong relationship

For everyone that is different, but if you think about it you can come up with a few little things you can do that would be sweet, kind, loving, and totally you, that your partner will completely love. So start doing those little things.

Okay, I am going to say it…

The what ifs are still there, I am sure. Just breath deep. When you do say it don’t freak out if you don’t get an immediate response. Don’t apologize. Do not respond for your partner. Give them a moment, give them two, heck give them a day or two.

Do not turn I love you into a giant production. There is a lot of pressure and emotion in just saying and hearing those words for the first time in a relationship. So pick a moment that feels genuine, don’t try to manufacture one.


Hi! I'm Maya Taylor. I'm glad to have the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences through this blog. I'm a couples and relationships counselor since 2008. My friends call me "relationships therapist". I'm passionate with life and I believe that life is meaningless without love. Hope to have a great communication through!