“I love you.” Sharing those three little words is a major part of any relationship. So to help you out, this is how to tell someone you love them.
Not only is spilling an “I love you” super nerve racking, but it’s also a critical moment that either halts or transforms your relationship. Much like a proposal, if an “I love you” is rejected, things likely go down hill, but if those feelings are mutual your relationship fully blossoms. It is important to know how to tell someone you love them.
From timing to location, there are a number of details that go into that sometimes life changing moment. So, what are they? [Read: How to say the first “I love you” right!]
What does saying “I love you” mean to you?
If saying “I love you” is a huge deal for you, it is vital to think about what it really means. Does saying it mean you are 100% committed? Or does it mean you have fun together? Love means different things to everyone, so before you say it be sure you know what it is you actually speak.
At the same time you may not know what love means to your partner. Is it something they are hopeful to hear or scared of? For people with trust issues, it causes anxiety. Others may take it more seriously than you meant it. Think about that before speaking the words.
#1 Is this your first time saying it? If this is your first time telling someone you love them, it can be difficult to be sure you’re ready to take that step. This will most likely be something you remember for a long time. So being sure that what you feel is in fact love is important.
But how do you do that? If you have a great time together and are always happy, that is wonderful. But love tends to be a stronger, more overwhelming feeling than that. If you think about this person when they aren’t around and bring them up in random conversations you get closer to the signs of love. [Read: 12 signs to recognize true love when you feel it]
#2 Have they already said it? If your partner already said I love you, you’re lucky. A lot of the pressure is off. You no longer have that fear of rejection or a bad reaction.
So pretty much anywhere, anytime, and anyhow will do. They have probably been dying for you to say it back. [Read: How to respond to “I love you” when you don’t feel the same]
#3 It doesn’t matter who says it first. Yes, being the first to say “I love you” is a bit more nerve racking because you open the door to a conversation that can’t be closed. But other than that, it does not matter who says it first. It all comes out sooner or later If you love each other, no matter who speaks the words first.
And even if it doesn’t work out, it still doesn’t matter. Some people think saying it first means you love them more and lost the power. But that is not how love works. All saying it first means is that you’re open to being vulnerable and need them to know how you feel.
#4 Have they ever been in love? This is more knowledge you want to be prepped with before telling someone you love them. If this person has never been in love they could feel shocked, unprepared, or hesitant at the sound of those three words.
If you know they are new to this serious type of a discussion, prep them a bit. Start off by saying something like, “I know this is new for you, so there is no pressure, but I’ve been wanting to tell you…” This eases the pressure they feel when you share your feelings.
#5 It does not need to be romantic. Depending on this person, saying “I love you” mustn’t be a big drawn out affair. Some people appreciate a romantic dinner with candles and roses, but others prefer a more intimate declaration in private.
If you love this person, my guess is you know if they prefer public displays of affection or a one-on-one love sharing. [Read: How to tell a special someone you’re in love with them – The complete guide]
How to tell someone you love them
Read the situation, your partner, and your feelings. If you just got the urge to say it out of the blue, maybe that is perfect. Maybe your relationship thrives off of spontaneity. But if that is the case, explain later that you truly meant what you said earlier, or it could be lost in the delivery.
Building an “I love you” up too much makes you and your lover nervous. It is a big deal and is so exciting, but it is not a marriage proposal. Everyone comes to love in their own time. So relax. Although love can be terrifying, it offers a comfort along with it, so more than anything be excited to share your feelings.
#1 Lose any expectations. Learning how to tell someone you love them is not the only thing you need to know. Having expectations in this situation almost always dooms you for failure. Whether you anticipate an “I love you too,” a rejection, or even sex *shame on you*, you’re not a psychic, so be open to any outcome.
Whenever you share such deep feelings, there is a vulnerability that tags along. Your partner could be on an entirely different page and shock you with how they don’t feel the same. Or they could be elated and react perfectly. But nothing you say or do changes how they feel, so hold onto hope, not control. [Read: Unrealistic expectations that can ruin your love life]
#2 Let them say it back at their own pace. The most common response to saying “I love you” is “I love you too.” But, that doesn’t guarantee a mutual feeling or an affirmation. If you get a disappointing response like “wow” or “thank you,” be aware that just because you said you love them doesn’t entitle you to an explanation.
Everyone feels and shares their feelings at a different pace. If this person has been hurt before they may wait longer to say it back. That doesn’t mean there is no hope or that they don’t love you too. So make sure they feel comfortable and know you are not expecting a response right away. Let them take their time, you don’t want to push it.
#3 Stay calm. Some people flip out if they don’t hear a positive response right away. But whether it happens later that night, next week, or even next month, do not get mad or make the other person feel guilty or pressured. If you truly love this person you want them to be sure they feel the same before saying it back. [Read: Reasons saying “I love you” too soon sucks]
#4 Explain what love means. Love can seem like well, love. It is a loaded word, but that doesn’t mean the definition means the same to everyone. For some, it means I care deeply for you. For others, it means I can’t live without you. Or it could be I’m depending on you. So when you say it, be sure your partner knows how you mean it.
You can say something like, “I love you and that means I will always be there for you no matter what,” “I’ll fight for you,” or anything along those lines. This is important because I, love, and you, are three words you do not want taken the wrong way.
[Read: 10 heartfelt signs it’s the right time to say “I love you”]
All in all, when it comes to love, ignore the timelines, statistics, and games. Learning how to tell someone you love them is about you and your partner. There is no right or wrong way when true love is involved.