Thursday, January 19, 2012
When it is okay/right/appropriate/safe to say "I love you"?
A week or so ago I got an e-mail from one of my best friends from college. The subject line: "those three words......" Her question: when, if ever? is it too early to say "I love you"??
Here is how I responded:
A. I love that you sent me this e-mail. Means the world.
B. I don't have an official answer, but I have written on the subject before. Here's that post - "Who Should Say I Love You First, and Why?" (Ed Note: yes, I market my own former blog posts to my own best friends).
But regarding the question of "WHEN" someone should say "I love you" here are my thoughts:
"I love you" for people who don't throw that term around, is a very big deal. It means, not only, I like dating you, and I want to sleep with you, and I want to be your girlfriend, but "I feel really strongly about what we have and want to see it continue to a serious way." That's why I think it scares so many people. They don't want to make that big proclamation unless they're SURE the other person feels the same way. So in that way it has nothing to do with the amount of time you've been together and everything to do with how you feel about each other. I knew I loved R after we'd been together for about 2 months. I said "I love you" around month 3.5, but that's mostly because I was all cheesy about it, and wanted to say it at a special moment. But there was no doubt in my mind about how I felt, and pretty little doubt in my mind that he felt the same.
I think THAT'S the most important part of finally saying it. Yes, there's always some doubt in your mind that the other person isn't QUITE there yet, but you mostly know that when you say it, they're going to say, "I love you too" or at least let you know how much it means to them that you're sharing that love. Some people want to have their own "I love you" moment meaning you could say it to him, and he might want to wait to say it to you in his own moment. Totally fine and understandable, in my book.
So can you say it too early? Yes, if you have no indication that the person you're with feels the same. You can "I love you" bomb someone, and that will probably not go over well. But if you're feeling it strongly, and you suspect he feels the same, it's just a very, very special formality.
Update: She said it, he said it back, and according to the exclamation point-heavy e-mail, it was very, very special.