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When and how to say ‘I love you’

Have three little words arranged in such an order ever caused more angst than these? Probably not. In our technology-focused world where you can be in a relationship with someone you’ve never even met in person, we all seem to struggle with the notion of a monogamous relationship – too scared to admit we’re exclusive, too nervous to ask if we’re actually a couple and too picky to settle down with just one person, let alone choose between the 10 million dating apps that rinse all our mobile data on a daily basis. Somehow though, between left swipes and awkward set-ups, love is still managing to conquer all… nearly.

If you find yourself in a relationship and feel some kind of heart pounding emotions coming into play then you might just be in love, gents. How and when to say “I love you”, however, isn’t easy, but after a quick survey of the office, we’ve discovered a few dos and don’ts, whens and hows.

WHEN TO SAY I LOVE YOU…

Members of the TGJ office agreed that saying it should be around 3 to 6 months into a relationship. With the exception of one member saying he’d said it after just one month (it’s important to note that he falls in and out of love more often than most of us change our bedsheets), and another admitting that it took her live-in boyfriend an entire year before he said it. Three months is probably quite a good time to start asking yourself if you’re feeling something though, otherwise you run the risk of leading someone on.

If we’re honest though, putting a time-scale on it is really neither here nor there, the important thing to ensure if you’re about to say it is that it is love you’re feeling and not lust. You need to be 100% sure that you are past the fleeting feelings of lust and longing and ultimately sex. Being in love is about knowing someone fully – flaws and all – and loving them regardless. If you feel this after 1 month then great, if it takes 6 months to say it then that’s fine too – at least you’ll know you were sure.

DON’T SAY I LOVE YOU…

JUST BECAUSE SHE SAID IT

This is a tricky one. No one wants to hear a ‘I love spending time with you’ or worse, a ‘thank you’. But saying I love you just because she said it is not a great basis upon which to base a relationship – don’t say it unless you mean it.

WITH A BIG GESTURE

Newsflash: life is not a Hollywood movie. No matter how many times she’s watched The Notebook, she doesn’t really want that kind of big gesture – save that for a proposal or an apology. Saying ‘I love you’ should be intimate and between the two of you – just the two of you.

WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK

You may have walls down and your inhibitions loosened, feeling on top of the world after 3 shots of tequila, but now is not the time to say ‘I love you’. You may forget, she may forget. She may think you only said it because you were drunk and not because you really felt it. Say it sober gents.

AFTER SEX

It might seem like the right time – after sharing the most intimate act a couple can do and you certainly wouldn’t be the first man to choose this as primetime to say how you really feel, but saying it drunk on passion is as bad as drunk on tequila – she needs to know you really mean it and that it is indeed love, rather than lust.

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