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deni's avatar

What is your experience with and opinion of saying "I love you" first?

Asked by deni (22270 points ) October 9th, 2012

Man I just don’t know how to word this question, so hopefully I can clear it up with some details. Basically I am bursting to tell the fellow in my life that I love him. I really do. This is not over night, or infatuation, or anything crazy soon or potentially unwarranted. I feel love is a word with a meaning that changes as you change as a person and I feel that I’ve loved two people so far in my life in an “in love” type of way. They have both been boyfriends that I’ve dated for years but I can’t remember the first time we said the words to each other. I know it’s a beautiful feeling and one that is so great because it only happens every so often. At least for me. But, there is something about vulnerability, of course, that keeps one from saying it, or it has at least kept me from saying it. I love him, I really do. But I haven’t said it yet. I feel like I know that he is bursting at the seams and wanting to tell me too, but hey it’s scary to put yourself out there like that in the off chance that that shit isn’t mutual. Um, so I guess my question is, should I just tell him? Is there any conceivable reason you can think of that I should not? It is LOVE after all and the world could use more of it!

I also am curious about your experience and if you have any particular “I love you”‘s that stand out in your life. Or maybe just your opinion of the phrase in general.

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25 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Um, don’t do it. This is only my opinion, of course. It’s too easy and anyone can do it. I know you’re a relatively young person like me as well and it’s also my opinion that it doesn’t help to be really young lol. I felt like I was in love multiple times only to have that feeling fade away in a year or two.

I think it’s most of love is waiting for time to pass. My opinion is to wait and wait until you guys become so comfortable it comes out naturally. Why rush to say it? Just enjoy the feeling and hope it stays.

deni's avatar

@Blackberry I feel like the part of me that is bursting to say it is it coming out naturally. Sure this feeling may pass in a year or two, but doesn’t the present matter more than that anyhow? If you feel the emotion of love, whatever it means to you at that time, isn’t that just as important? I don’t know, I’ve never regretted telling those two guys I loved them. I did love them at the time. Looking back on the first one especially I now see how young I was and how my definition of love now is a little different but just cause I don’t feel like that matches my definition now doesn’t mean it wasn’t how I felt then. And I think people should know when you feel very strongly about them. Not that he doesnt….he does. But if I died tomorrow or if he did, I would regret not saying it. I’d rather not regret something like that. End Ramble

Bellatrix's avatar

Firstly, I am happy you are having this terrible problem! In love and wrangling with whether to tell him or not :-). I hope it lasts.

To your question, how long have you been seeing him? If it is quite new, I would wait. Otherwise, listen to your heart and your instincts. I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I have been with my husband for 12 years now but I was very ‘love wary’ when we got together. Listen to this song. It touched my soul at that time and I didn’t want to be the first to say those words.

In saying all that, I don’t think you should play games. What will happen if you tell him? As long as it isn’t too soon (you can judge how long is right for you and him I am sure), what is it you fear? You don’t strike me as a silly person. He is possibly struggling with the same question too. If he runs away, perhaps he wasn’t the man you thought he was? Or if your instincts are right and he is worthy of that love, he will be thrilled to hear it. Listen to your heart…take a chance. It worked for me.

Disclaimer: Use of the information and advice contained within this post is at your sole risk. If you rely on the advice provided here, Bellatrix will not be responsible for any stuffed up romance.

hearkat's avatar

There are many variables involved; but I am a person who believes in being genuine and forthcoming, so I have been the first to say it.

However, if the object of your affection is approaching the relationship tentatively because of past experiences, or what have you… you may not want to just burst out “I love you!” Sometimes you may want to find other ways to say it without saying it, such as commenting about how happy you are now, or how much you enjoy spending time with them, or how comfortable and safe you feel around them, or how much you can trust them, how it’s great that you ‘get’ each others’ humor—whatever the feelings are that make you feel that you’re in love with this unique individual.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If I really, and I mean Really feel it I have no problem saying it or having it said to me. I think it is so amazing when two people feel that strongly about each other. But it has to be genuine with both parties.

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah I get it, it’s a conundrum. :(

filmfann's avatar

I said it first twice. The first one rejected the concept of love initially, then several weeks later, said that she loved me, and in the same breath said she wanted an open relationship.
The second girl I told just said that she hoped to feel the same way soon. She did, but long after we broke up.
Following those two relationships, I held back. When others told me they loved me, and I felt that way, I told them it back, but I was never first again.

JLeslie's avatar

In my experience the guy says it first. Not that that is a rule or anything, and I am old, been married 20 years.

I had never been bursting to tell a boyfriend I love them. Part of it os probably my family doesn’t say it much, and part of it is in retrospect the men I dated who did say it, said it to early for me to really feel in love, but I said it back. In my marriage now I feel compelleed to tell my husband I love him because I really do love him.

Although, my husband when I was dating him after a month told me in his country they have declaración which is when a man declares his love for the girl he is courting, and then he told me he loves me. It was very sweet, very formal, and I love that story. But, when I said I love you back it was an uncomfortable put on the spot I love you. But. He did make me very very happy when he said it. You probably will make your current beau very happy if you say it too. So, if you are dying to say it go ahead if everything is pointing in the direction of being together for a long time.

It seems more natural to me to date for a while, and become exclusive with each other, and then as things really get serious, looking towards something very permanent, say I love you. I think it is pretty rare to feel really in love in the first few months of a relationship, I am not sure how long you have been dated, but that is because I have the perspective of love after 20 years of marriage, I probably define differently now than when I was in my 20’s.

zenvelo's avatar

I have said it too quickly, and also taken my time. The too quickly was a mistake, the second was just right.

The differentiator for me now is realizing through her behavior that she cares for me as me, not as someone to be changed or manipulated. And when I feel that, I feel free to say I love you without concern for rejection.

Shippy's avatar

I watched a movie once, where (I stand to be corrected) the guy couldn’t say it. I think the movie was called “London”. So anyway, long story, eventually after all that tension he wrote it with his finger on her back.

elbanditoroso's avatar

They are just words. Actions of love, caring, etc., are a whole lot more meaningful than words. Don’t impute too much importance to the words that may or may not be said.

Look at the actions.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I said it first (about a month into our relationship) and I said it because I meant it so I have no regrets at all. It took my boyfriend 3 years to say it to me but I never really doubted it even before he said it because, as @elbanditoroso, his actions made me feel loved.

wundayatta's avatar

If you are bursting to say it, then unburst yourself. If it doesn’t go well, don’t you want to know that sooner, rather than later? It’s not like you’d be doing it too soon, before he’s even had a chance to get used to you. You think he wants to say it, too, anyway. Just do it, next time it wells up in your throat. Just let it go free. I do it totally, with body gestures and all. In his face. Eyes intense. Kissing him. Whatever feels right to you.

You may know that I am a great believer in love and in expressing it and letting people know it is there. This has to do with my history of never having enough. I think love is as important as food and air, and much too important to keep bottled up.

That’s just me, of course. And as we know, I’m crazy. No matter. I’m always in favor of love!

bookish1's avatar

I agree with @wundayatta. Life is too short to worry about what might happen in one or two years!

I’ve always been the one to say it first, because I am an intense and passionate person, and when I feel that way, I have trouble holding myself back. Also, I need human connection more than I fear rejection, I suppose. I have never regretted saying it, although I have regretted numerous romantic entanglements I have allowed myself into. My problem has never been with being love-wary, but with learning to have some boundaries.

My two best experiences of saying “I love you” are also my two best kisses ;) The first was on the beach at night, with the girl I had been burning after for a year, at the tender age of 15. She shared the sentiment although I had absolutely no idea! And then we kissed… I’ll never forget that. It was my first kiss!

The second was drunkenly sitting on a bench at Place de la Bastille, chain smoking endless nervous cigarettes with this guy I’ve been burning after for… four years. It came as a huge surprise to him for numerous reasons, and he didn’t share the sentiment, but we still kissed and had some wonderful experiences together, and we are still friends.

I say go for it. Life is too short to worry about what-ifs, and this is coming from a person who has already spent far too much of his life worrying! Good luck.

Sunny2's avatar

You could say something that leaves him open to responding positively ore neutral or negatively. Such as, “I’m finding I have stronger and stronger feelings for you.” Or “You are making me very happy. I miss you when we’re not together.” Or “You’re becoming more and more important to me.” You can take your cue from his response without actually using the word love. If he says he feels the same way, you can move on to declarations.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Personally, I’m all for telling him. I think we should always tell people how we feel. Yes, our actions should speak for themselves, but sometimes it’s great to have the words to confirm it so there is no question about it.

I was the first to say it to my husband. He didn’t say it back right away (it actually was several months before he said it), but I knew through his actions that he was feeling it too. I didn’t scare him off by saying it, so obviously he was feeling something. We’ve been married for 4 years today and things have been great.

ninjacolin's avatar

I’ll share some thoughts.. Saying it too early matters but I don’t fully understand why.

In a perfect world, I would have thought one person would be able to say it and then the other person ought to be able to say it eventually after some more time invested in the relationship. But somehow once it gets said and not immediately reciprocated it’s like some sort of milestone in a race has been hit and the other person just isn’t anywhere to be found and it’s disconcerting to be panting and panting and excited and waiting for the other person to catch up and then.. you stop panting and lose excitement because you’ve cooled down after some time and the other person still hasn’t caught up.. and yea.. I guess now that I’ve thought about it.. there’s a rush to saying it and you don’t really want that rush to go by without a partner who can enjoy it with you.

He might feel it for you now and if he’s like me, then he really really really wants you to say it first. Why? Because that’s what my ideal lady would do. I really don’t want to say it first. I would if I felt I had to and I have in the past and I didn’t enjoy having to.. the same way I don’t enjoy tea and prefer coffee… Me saying it first just isn’t a part of my ideal love story.

Lastly, it’s entirely possible that he might not feel it for you yet but he might soon.. or one day. I would caution anyone debating this part of their relationship that saying it will only tell you where you stand with them. It doesn’t tell you where you will end up or where they will end up.

ANYWAY.. I suspect the best advice is simply: Don’t plan to them! Instead, tell them when you happen to.

ninjacolin's avatar

Sorry, my suggestion was: “Don’t plan to tell them. Just tell them whenever you happen to.”

deni's avatar

@ninjacolin Hmm. I like your thoughts. Those are my thoughts too kind of. I don’t want to plan to tell him, I just want to tell him in the moment when I feel it so strongly I can’t keep it inside!

Though, from reading above responses, I didn’t realize how common it was for one person to say it and the other person not say it back for weeks, months, or years. That has never happened to me and if I was the first to say it and so excited about it and it wasn’t mutual….man I think I’d feel pretty weird about that. But maybe not? Hum.

Sunny2's avatar

I realize this is a bit off topic, but it involves saying, “I love you.”

Ah, another inspiration supplied by Fluther. I hadn’t heard from my brother for months. I knew he had been undergoing treatment for cancer (brain and lung) but I didn’t want to bother him with the junk that was going on in my life. Thinking about him, I realized that I had never told him I loved him. It was never said in our upbringing. I emailed him and didn’t get a reply. I finally called and he answered the phone. Sounded great. He’d been through radiation and chemo and was going back that day to have tests to see if any cancer was left. We both acknowledged we loved each other and felt very good about it.
Thanks, everybody..

deni's avatar

@Sunny2 Aww thats awesome :)!!!!! I realized I had never told my one brother I loved him either until recently. Then I did, think it was in a text but regardless, it feels so good.

I still haven’t told my boyfriend.

ninjacolin's avatar

My best friend told me he loves me this weekend. lol, what a loser. Anyway, I’m gonna be his best man.

deni's avatar

Said it. Reciprocated. Holla.

ninjacolin's avatar

lolol. awesome
how’d it go?

deni's avatar

He said it back then the next day he said that when I told him, his heart stopped. lol.

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