The three words I – love – you have never been uttered more carefully and with extreme trepidation than that first time. And still the timing of those words proves to be a sticky point with varying levels of opinions. ‘I love you’ and when to say it, clearly has women endlessly discussing this over copious amounts of coffee or wine. It’s a contentious issue with both of the sexes left dazed and confused about the when, what and how. New research has actually proven that men fall in love much faster than women, taking them 88 days to say ‘I love you’ with women taking longer at 134 days.
So When Do You Say I Love You?
The study compiled by YouGov for eHarmony, has rung true in my recent dating experience. I was dating a guy and he said it to me on the fourth, (yes, fourth!) date. And that happened to be within a two-week period. To say he was keen was an understatement. He said it to me purely and simply as he felt ‘love’…and I was left utterly stunned, quite frankly. Number one, I barely knew the guy. It was a blind date set-up, so it’s not like we knew each other as friends beforehand. Secondly, LOVE? I was still deciding whether I actually liked the guy, let alone ‘love’. My initial response was ‘wow, that’s very nice and quite soon’. I didn’t overact, back off or gush back with an ‘I love you too!’ What am I, crazy?!
Everything changed after this point. There was an immense pressure placed on me to feel the same way. I found myself playing catch up with his feelings, particularly as he continued to repeat it on several dates after. Suffice to say, I think it affected our dates after that as I wasn’t able to reciprocate as I hadn’t felt the same way as he did.
A risk anytime you say it
I am sure there are a ton of couples out there who have said it early on, i.e., within a month or two, but I am pretty certain that it wouldn’t be said back to them. You need to have that high sense of awareness, reading someone’s signals and cues to be able to confidently say that and to be certain of a response. But does it really matter if one says it first and the other reacts smiling sweetly? I mean, someone has to say it first and it’s a risk any time you say it.
I once had a friend who was dating a guy for a while and we had many discussions about why her boyfriend hadn’t said I love you and why she wouldn’t either. My friend was DETERMINED that she would not be the one to say it first. It wasn’t until about 8 months in their relationship and a drunken night out (thank god for alcohol!) that her boyfriend said, better still, slurred: yooooo knoooowww I luuurve yoooouuuu. My friend got what she wanted and under her terms (sort of).
Love at the best of times is really not so straightforward. Knowing you are actually in love with that person is half the battle. You are waiting for that moment of ‘I love him/her!’ like a bolt of lightning. And you want to say it naturally without any added pressure. We have all seen the movies of declarations of love in the most romantic settings with the right mood, lighting and music and there are certain expectations placed on women and men to get it right – but sadly, we don’t have the luxury of violins and a soft focus to set up the scene. But who cares whether it is said whilst cooking a fry up or over a sunset dinner on an exotic beach? I’ll take ‘I love you’ over a fry up any day.
I am sure everyone remembers the first time it was said to them and you look back at the memory with great fondness, as long as it was love and not lust. For many younger folk, this can be easily confused. Your heart pounds, you have an innate feeling between you, and you don’t want to be separated a minute longer – surely that’s enough to signify love?
I hate to generalize, but with women being the most expressive, communicative sex, it’s fair to say that men find it harder to express their emotions therefore, take longer to say ‘I love you’. It can be regarded as being soppy and mushy if you tell someone this, and deemed not to be ‘manly’. However, a man who is aware of his feelings and recognizes his love for a woman, not being afraid of social expectations certainly gets the thumbs up from me…but just at a time that is right and not on date 4!
If you find it hard to express ‘I love you’ verbally but know deep in your heart that it’s there then try10 ways to say ‘I love you’ without saying ‘I love you’ . Some of these non-verbal gestures are sure to do the trick and can be just as powerful as ILY.
You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back. Barbara de Angelis