When should you first say “I love you?” To some degree trust your instincts. But if you’re feeling it in the first week or so, realize that your feelings are probably lust or infatuation, not true love. If you say those three little words too quickly, a healthy partner will think you’re unhealthy, perhaps even a love addict (which you might be), and it could end your relationship.
When Juan Pablo of ABC’s The Bachelor offered Nikki his final rose without a ring while telling her, “I like you a lot,” viewers were very critical. However, not saying something that you don’t fully feel is actually the right thing to do.
Far too often people rush into relationships and start making all sorts of promises based on feelings that haven’t had time to fully develop. What you feel during the “I can’t get enough of you” early stage isn’t necessarily what you will still feel three to six months into the relationship. It takes that long for your issues to come to the surface and you need to find out if your issues work with your new affection’s issues. More often than not, you start to push each other’s buttons in a negative way and one or both of you will call it quits.
It’s much easier to get over a breakup if no promises were broken and there was no expectation of forever. Please don’t say, “I love you” until you have known each other for at least three months. And if someone says it to you too soon, don’t believe it! Most definitely don’t count on it. That is how most people get their hearts broken.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy that wonderful feeling you get when connect with someone new. Just don’t put any pressure or expectations on it. You can say “I think I’m falling in love” or “I’m so happy I met you.” If you bring this up with your partner and his or her body language gets stiff and he or she seems uncomfortable, let him or her bring it up the next time. If your partner chooses not to see you again after you reveal your loving feelings, then he or she is saving you a lot of precious time, as he or she is definitely not the one for you. Maintain your power! Most likely your partner will be relieved you brought it up first and seize the opportunity to tell you his or her true feelings.
Now all this isn’t to say true love is just a fairy tale and doesn’t ever require work. It just shouldn’t feel like hard labor. You should never feel like you’re the one exerting all the effort or jumping through hoops to make it work. And remember, real love doesn’t begin until the infatuation stage ends. So if your love interest tells you, “I really like you a lot” be grateful you’re not being unintentionally deceived.
If you need more help recognizing what makes a relationship right for you I offer personal coaching. You’ll also find more help in my book: Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices