When to Say “I Love You”

Diving into a new relationship is exhilarating—you spend hours learning the ins and outs of someone else’s personality, become intimate, intertwine your lives and introduce each other to friends and family. It can also be a bit confusing, particularly at the beginning. It can be difficult to tell whether you’re simply infatuated or if you truly love this person, and that can lead some people to avoid saying “I love you.”

However, waiting too long to say those three words can end up hurting more than helping. It can leave you feeling lonely, unfulfilled, and disconnected from your partner. And in some cases, it can even lead to a split—especially if one person’s feelings aren’t reciprocated.

Of course, every couple is different. Some people have grown up in households where feelings and declarations of love are discussed regularly, while others don’t experience that same kind of emotional upbringing. The result is that, in general, most people think they know when it’s the right time to utter those magical three words. But what’s the golden timeline for when you should say it? It can differ based on your specific situation and the type of relationship you’re in, but experts recommend that you assess passion, intimacy, trust, and commitment in your relationship to figure out if you’re ready to say it.

While some psychologists view love as a physiological drive, other researchers and social scientists see it as more of a psychological phenomenon that can be influenced by hormones, neurotrophins, and pheromones. This is why many therapists and counselors believe that the best way to cultivate true love in your relationship is to practice gratitude, show empathy, prioritize time together, and communicate openly about your values.

According to Psychologist, Sex and Relationship Advisor Barbara Santini, the right time to say “I love you” depends on the couple. “Recent studies have shown that on average, men typically feel comfortable saying it after three months, while women may take longer—some even wait up to a year.”

She adds, though, that while waiting can be frustrating, it’s important not to over-analyze your feelings or let them control you. Rather, she says, you should let yourself enjoy your time with your partner and remember the good times—and that’s why it’s important to keep communication open and honest.

If you really do love a person, she suggests, it’s worth the risk of letting them know. After all, you never know what the future will hold and you could lose them if you don’t speak up.

But that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind and just blurt it out—you should still be considerate and weigh your decision carefully. It’s also helpful to differentiate between infatuation and genuine love, which is characterized by deep care for another person, including their flaws, says Rachel Fleischman, founder of Bliss Counseling. True love is a choice and a conscious commitment to the other person, regardless of their current emotions.

By adminkeren
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