An age-old question that has kept so many of us up at night; when is the right time to say I love you in a relationship? Sadly, it’s not an easy question to answer and, ultimately, when to say I love you is a very individual decision. However, what I can give you are some of the pit falls to avoid by listing when are some of the less appropriate moments to say the first, big “I Love you!”
When you’re really, really drunk!
Should be obvious to all of us, but when the haze of that 5thJager Bomb has descended upon you, with the DJ playing your tune and everything just seeming right with the world, you may turn to your dance partner of the last….half hour…3 weeks…..3 months… who knows at this point… and blurt out those 3 big words… Maybe in the heat of the moment “I Love you” feels so right, but come Sunday morning will you feel the same…. and will they?
When you’re worried that you might be about to break up
Known in the game as the “Hail Mary”, this is one of the worst reasons to say it. Even if the fear of loosing that special someone might make you think you mean it, in the moment, you only risk setting yourself up for more hurt. There are 3 possible outcomes and the chances of the “It all worked out and they lived happily ever after” are slim, options 2 and 3 are much more likely. So;
- Option 2: They don’t say it back as they weren’t feeling the same way and your panicked statement pushes them further away.
- Option 3: In the emotional turmoil, you both decide to keep the relationship going longer than it should and just prolong the inevitable when you could be moving on and you still end up breaking up later.
When you’re feeling down or needy and looking for an ego boost
This is when saying I love you is simply not fair on the other person! You’re putting too much pressure on someone to adhere to your rules on your timescale and even if they respond with an “I love you too”… did you really mean yours? Have you just given this person a completely false sense of your commitment to the relationship?
When you’re feeling guilty
This could be when you are saying the guilty “I Love you” for something big, like cheating (which would be THE WORST time to say it….and also a big fat lie) or something smaller like cancelling well established plans at the last minute, just because you mates have invited you to something they promise will be “more fun”. Regardless, neither are a good reason. The fact is, if you have done something to feel guilty about, you should be taking a moment to reflect on your relationship and your motivation, not looking for a quick fix to make you feel better and/or wriggle out of a bollocking.
After a life changing experience
Probably not one most of us will come across that often, but we can find ourselves blind-sided by a significant life upheaval on the most unexpected occasions. At times like this, while some may see it as a “Defining Crystallising Moment of Clarity”, it may well be the mix of shock, adrenaline and just the rapid pace of change in your life at that moment that can make you want to seize something solid to hold onto, and exchanging “I Love Yous” can give the feeling of a steady constant in your relationship.
However, this is not the best motivation and, likely, not the best time to hang everything on your relationship either. Whilst a partner is unlikely to dump you when you need them most, even if they don’t see a long-term future in the relationship. They might even eek out an ‘I Love You too’ even if they don’t mean it, purely out of sympathy and compassion. Also, do you really mean it? Or is it a case of “Any port in a storm”? Much better to weather the situation and then you will also benefit from the knowledge of how you partner dealt with your hour of need. Maybe they didn’t live up to your expectations and weren’t right for you anyway, so you’ve saved yourself the accusations of “You said you loved me!!” when you have to dump them!!!
So, there they are, when to say I love you is ultimately a very personal choice and depends on too many variables in each relationship but my 5 rules for when NOT to say I love you offer a rough guide to the most common pitfalls… That being said, love doesn’t always follow the rules and just because one (or more) of the above might be happening to you at the time, that doesn’t automatically mean your love isn’t true. If your love is genuine, then go ahead and say it! Few things in life beat being told you are loved by someone you love!