Entering a new relationship can be exciting. Getting to know someone’s personality, spending hours talking to them, connecting on a deeper level, and introducing them to your friends and family can be a thrilling experience.
When everything is going well, sometimes you can’t help but fall in love. One day, you might look at your partner and suddenly feel, “Oh my God – I love you!”
Some people feel like shouting it from the rooftops, while others keep these powerful words confined to themselves for so long that they slip away silently. So, when is the right time to say “I love you” to your partner? After all, you don’t want to scare them away, but you also don’t want to miss any opportunity to strengthen your relationship and hear those words back from them.
Identifying Your Feelings: Infatuation Vs. Love
Emotions can run high at the start of a new relationship, and sometimes it can be challenging to know whether you’re feeling infatuation or true love towards the other person. So, what’s the difference between the two?
On the one hand, experts say that infatuation can feel like a deep attachment, but it’s based on someone else’s idealization. According to experts, the key word here is ‘idealization.’ Infatuation is intense; you’re incredibly drawn to that person, excited to see them, and their chemistry feels amazing.
Scientific studies suggest that infatuation can last from six months to a year.
According to the renowned psychologist, Dr. Zik Rubin, romantic love consists of three elements: attraction (the desire to be with another person), caring (valuing their happiness and needs), and intimacy (being emotionally sensitive towards each other).
He explains, ‘Love encompasses both passion and intimacy; you have some or all of the ingredients of affection and excitement – like butterflies and enthusiasm – friendship, trust, depth, and curiosity,’ says Fleischmann
Related: Can Love At First Sight Happen?
Signs It’s the Right Time to Say, “I Love You”
If you truly love your partner, there’s no right or wrong time to say “I love you.” However, you might look for certain signs that make expressing those words feel safe. If the following is true, then it could be the right time:
- You care about the other person’s well-being and happiness as much as your own.
- You can see yourself taking the next step in the relationship or even envision spending a lifetime together.
- You feel just as excited and happy when doing simple things together, like having a meal at a nice restaurant or going on a fantastic date, as you do on more extravagant occasions.
- If your partner calls you in an emergency situation, you’ll be there for them right away.
- You accept your partner’s flaws and imperfections.
- You’re willing to make sacrifices and compromises for your partner.
- When you’re together, you experience a sense of completeness or contentment.
- You feel secure in the relationship.
- You have a desire to learn even more about your partner.
- You’ve been feeling loving emotions for weeks or months.
- You sense that your partner feels the same way about you.
Finding the Right Moment
As mentioned, there’s no right or wrong time to say “I love you.” However, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re in the right setting and that your partner is receptive to receiving these words and understanding their depth of meaning, if possible.
In general, it’s best to say “I love you” for the first time when you’re alone together, and neither of you is under the influence of alcohol or any other substances. You might also want to avoid saying it during or right after sex when emotions might be running particularly high.
Ultimately, you can say “I love you” whenever it feels right to you.
If you’ve only been together for a short while – less than six months – and your relationship is headed in the right direction, there’s no need to rush into saying those three magical words. True romantic love grows stronger with time, and both your feelings will become more profound and secure.
Experts suggest, “Sometimes, in a new relationship, you might feel so excited about all the possibilities it holds for both of you that you can’t control the urge to say it immediately.” They emphasize that love is love, but there’s no rush to blurt it out hastily.
Saying “I Love You” Too Early
While the allure of love warms most hearts, uttering those three enchanting words, ‘I love you,’ can evoke both excitement and anxiety. Expressing love signifies a deeper bond and calls for increased devotion and care. Yet, as relationships unfold like a beautiful story, the declaration might propel some to pause and reflect.
Naomi Engoff-Chad, LMHC and Director of Counselor Support Services, shares, ‘Hearing these words opens the door to a new chapter – one that is not only delightful and informal but also carries the essence of commitment and devotion.’ However, when one partner is ready to embrace the journey while the other remains uncertain, those words can alter the course of the relationship. They might lead the uncertain partner to reassess or perhaps even gracefully conclude their chapter together.
What To Do If Your Partner Doesn’t Say, “I Love You” Back
If you’ve told your partner that you love them and they haven’t said it back, don’t fret. It’s essential to respect your partner’s feelings and deep emotions, even if they aren’t reciprocating those feelings at this moment.
Give your partner the space to accept these powerful words and understand what they mean for your relationship. You can also ask them how these words make them feel and reassure them that they don’t need to say it back if they’re not ready. It’s also crucial to understand what “I love you” means to you because its definition varies from person to person.
With time, they may come to understand and express that they love you too. However, if their emotions never reach the same level as yours, that’s okay too. This process can be challenging, but ultimately, it provides you with the answer you need to decide whether you should move forward in the relationship or not. In any case, you were brave in opening up to the other person, and that’s something to be proud of.