It’s your third date and he whispers, “I know it’s crazy—but I love you.” Is he saying I love you too soon? And do you say it back or dump him?
Here’s the thing. You need to watch out for a guy who is saying I love you too soon. They’re either nut-jobs, flakes, cheaters, too clingy, or just wanting to get into your pants fast. Despite the fact that many ladies want to believe that they’re attractive enough for to guy easily fall in love with them, or that the fairy tales are true, or “love at first sight” really does exist—well, wake up and smell the coffee.
The reality is, love takes time to develop. Those early butterflies in your tummy? Those may just be all because of infatuation. Other people can attest that those people who fall in love so quickly can just as easily and quickly fall out of love.
They may even easily and quickly fall for someone else. And then before you know it, you have a big problem on your hands—plus some heartbreak. Guys who are quick to jump the gun and declare their love are most likely just in love with the idea of love more than they are actually in love with YOU.
Contexts where saying I love you is inappropriate or too soon
While you’re dating, keep a vigilant eye and ear—as well as heart—on those three little words, especially if they are uttered in the following contexts:
#1 It’s just been 3 weeks. Believe in time. While “love at first sight” might be true for some, saying “I love you” after just a few dates may not always be a good idea. If he says those words within at least a couple of months or more, that doesn’t guarantee that he knows you enough to back those words up. Chances are, he might mistake love for something else. [Read: When should you say I love you for the first time?]
#2 Far from having sex. You haven’t even been in bed together *yet*. So if he starts uttering those words, then it may just be a ploy to get inside your pants. Wait a little longer and don’t give up your goods yet. If he thinks you’ll sleep with him just because you like hearing him saying I love you, then maybe he’s not really worth it after all. [Read: 10 sneaky techniques guys use to get into your pants]
#3 Right before nookie. Some men will do and say anything just to get laid. If you’re kissing, hugging, and making out, and suddenly he feels some hesitation from you, he might panic and say, “I love you.” No. Fix your hair, fix your dress, and bolt out the door.
#4 During nookie. The bedroom is not the best place to say anything near the L word for the first time. People can say things they don’t mean when they are in the throes of passion, especially when the sex is great and they’re about to come. Who knows—the guy might even be visualizing having sex with his ex for all you know. [Read: All the reasons why saying I love you too soon sucks]
#5 Right after nookie. People can also say things they don’t mean post-sex. All the released serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine are muddling their brains, and they’re as good as intoxicated. He may feel extra close and attached to you as you cuddle.
#6 Standing on shaky ground. Before you believe any promise or declaration of love that comes out of his mouth, make sure that the relationship is standing on some solid foundation. And by foundation, we mean trust, intimacy, knowledge of each other, and respect.
If he is saying I love you, but you’re not sure who else he is saying those words to, then you will have a big problem if you believe what he says.
#7 Walk the talk. So he says he loves you, but he’s not serious about your relationship or is not willing to commit? If he says those words, think about how you feel in that exact moment. Do you believe it? Do his words really reflect his actions? If he’s saying one thing and doing another, then he’s not really sincere and may just be manipulating you. [Read: Signs your guy means it when he says I love you]
#8 Is he in it for the long haul? He says he loves you, but he wouldn’t change his Facebook relationship status, or he’s still blatantly in an open relationship. It means that he doesn’t know if he wants to commit, and you don’t really know if he’s serious and monogamous. What do you do? Cover your ears because it’s all just BS. [Read: Facebook official relationship – Is your guy ready for it?]
#9 In the heat of the moment. So he got all excited because he’s horny on a Saturday night, and you’re always around when he invites you out on weekends. Or if you just watched a romantic movie and he suddenly declares his undying love for you. All these are examples of heat-of-the-moment brain farts, and these might end up badly.
#10 Big, intense events. You know…when he’s just landed on earth after skydiving. Or after he got promoted, got fired, moved to a new place, or got bitten by a dog. It can be just anything. Milestone experience, alright. But you guys are not there yet – in that place in your relationship. If he says “I love you,” read the context. [Read: How to tell someone that you’re in love with them]
#11 He really just misses you. So you have been away on a business trip, and he missed you a lot. Does this mean he loves you? Well, not really. He may just miss your company or maybe he’s really needy. So wait until you go back to your routine and see if he still feels that way.
#12 Intoxicated much? So he’s had a few more shots of alcohol than he can handle, and you’re there to help him get in a cab, or you’re there to pat his back as he vomits on the sidewalk. You better hope he doesn’t say the L-word during these moments. At this point, maybe that’s his beer-version of “thank you.”
#13 How well does he know you? Before you believe him when he is saying I love you, ask yourself if he knows at least some basic information about you. When you’re first dating, chances are that you’re showing the best version of yourself. However, once you become comfortable, the not-so-good-and-attractive bits start to show. Will he still love you when that happens? [Read: Signs that it’s time to say I love you]
#14 You’re not even close. You don’t even know if you feel the same way. Your feel unready, despite the length of your dating timeline. This can be a hindrance for you in accepting his declaration of love and/or attempt to move your relationship to the next level. If you can’t even decide if you feel the same, then he might also be saying I love you a little too prematurely.
Sometimes, a guy’s harmless, premature professions of love may just be the result of excitement and over-enthusiasm. At worst, they’re from a guy who will do and say anything just to get something from you *like affection for the over-eager clingy types, and sex for the pervs looking for a quick fix for their libidos.*
Another red flag to watch out for is when you are feeling like you are not ready. Saying I love you to someone shouldn’t be something taken lightly. If your guy just uses it to get what he wants, then there’s a big chance he doesn’t really know what love is.
Take time to know each other better, and if he still feels and says the same things to you after the dust has settled, then maybe it is really true.
Bottom line is this – if it feels like a big elephant in the room when he drops the “L”-word bomb, then there is something wrong. And you also shouldn’t see it as the magic word that convinces you that he is a keeper.
Saying I love you is not a sign of a happily ever after, especially if the things we listed above check out.