When to Say “I Love You”

In the era of messaging apps, FaceTime, and Snapchat, it’s not uncommon for couples to say their first “love you” without ever having the words exchanged in person. This is particularly true if they meet online and begin dating before getting to know each other in the flesh. In these cases, it’s perfectly fine for a partner to use the abbreviated version of the phrase, especially if they are very comfortable with it. However, if you would prefer to see more love expressed in your relationship—especially when it comes to the most important things—it’s worth discussing this with your partner and making your preference clear.

You haven’t spent enough time together

While it may feel like a long wait to hear those magical words from your loved one, it really is a matter of timing. “There’s no specific amount of time you need to spend with someone before saying ‘I love you,'” says Miami-based relationship therapist Sofia Robirosa. Rather, it’s more about the evolution of your individual relationship and when you’re both ready for it to go to the next level.

You’re not close enough

In addition to the amount of time you spend together, your relationship needs to be deep enough to warrant that “love you” declaration. A true lover won’t make you feel unloved for leaving dishes in the sink or forgetting to take out the trash. In fact, a loving partner will embrace your quirks and support you for who you are, not try to change you.

They don’t love you in the same way

Many therapists and psychologists differ on how they define love, with some arguing that it isn’t even an emotion but a physiological drive similar to hunger, sleep, or sex. Others, like the American Psychological Association, consider it a primary emotion with multiple layers of complexity.

What’s more, some people have an innate understanding of what they mean when they say “love you.” For example, some use the phrase to express affection or gratitude without any romantic connotations—like when friends comfort each other or thank each other for help.

This type of love is often more long-lasting than infatuation, but it’s hard to tell when it’s real or not. You have to look for other signs of love, such as trust and commitment.

They use it as a trial balloon

Some people use the short form of love to test the waters and gauge reactions before fully committing. This approach allows them to float the balloon without worrying about how it might be received. If the balloon floats on by, they may decide to go full-out with their proclamation. If it gets snagged on something, they might back off and switch to other ways of expressing their feelings.

They don’t value the full version

Some people simply think the long, drawn-out “love you” is old-fashioned. They may prefer the terser, more economical version, which is more fitting for their communication style. They might also be more comfortable with this form of love because it feels more authentic to their values and personality.

By adminkeren
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