When to Say “I Love You”

For some people, saying the words “love you” is a big deal. For others, it’s just a part of everyday conversation. When is the right time to say it, though? As it turns out, there’s no definitive answer, but some clues might help you determine whether you’re ready to make the move.

For example, psychologists have found that women tend to be more cautious when it comes to confessing their feelings. They also may have a harder time separating infatuation from true love. In addition, the way that a person expresses their emotions can give you an idea of whether they’re ready to commit. For example, a partner who randomly places notes between book pages or drives three hours to see you for an hour might be showing that they’re obsessed.

In contrast, someone who says it every day might be less serious about the relationship and less likely to work on things like communication, trust, and intimacy. Then, there’s the fact that most of our relationships these days are formed online. It’s not uncommon for couples to meet and fall in love over text messages, FaceTime calls, or video chats.

And while this can be a great start to a relationship, it’s important to remember that love can’t thrive on virtual connection alone. “Love requires a real commitment to another person,” says psychotherapist Jenn Mann, author of The Relationship Fix and host of VH1’s Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn. “It means not just sharing a physical space, but actually spending quality time together, talking about the future, and growing as individuals.”

It’s also important to note that it takes work to keep your love alive. The people who are most happy in life know that happiness is a choice, and they actively choose it every day. They prioritize spiritual/non-materialistic values, they spend time with family and friends, and they get enough sleep.

They’re also willing to accept the ups and downs of life and make decisions based on incomplete information. Finally, they regularly check in with their values to ensure that their actions are aligned with them.

In the end, it’s hard to say when love will feel right for you. But don’t be afraid to take the plunge if you think you’re ready. And, if you are, don’t forget to show your partner how much you care by expressing your love in ways that they will notice.

How do you tell your partner you’re in love? Let us know in the comments below.

2017 HuffPost. All rights reserved.

This article was originally published on January 31, 2017. It has since been updated.
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