Ready to Tell Someone You Love 'Em? Here's How to Do It

Saying “I love you” is easily one of the biggest milestones in any type of relationship. That one phrase can turn a casual fling into something much more serious, and all it takes is a few seconds. But since those few seconds mean a whole lot, figuring out how to tell someone you love them can be nerve-wracking. In theory, you just say it. But in reality, it feels—and likely is—much more complicated than that.

That’s because, hi, saying “I love you” to someone new is a big deal. Sure, deciding to propose, getting married, and having babies are also major relationship moments, but most of those steps start with one person telling the other that they’re in lurve. And while romantic comedies might make it seem like the first “I love you” is always a spur-of-the-moment thing, that’s not always the case (which is a good thing).

Timing-wise, couples therapist Adrienne Michelle, LMFT, most often sees people say “I love you” somewhere around the three-month dating mark. That said, there’s really no set schedule here. Marriage and family therapist Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, adds that while you shouldn’t place a time frame on yourself or your partner to speak those famous “three words, eight letters,” it’s a good idea to at least wait until you’re out of the honeymoon phase.

“Everything is fresh and new and your body is flooded with dopamine and oxytocin when in the honeymoon phase,” Jackson explains. “Sometimes we can misconstrue those hormones as love or as a sign that you want to be with the person forever.” When the initial excitement of a new relationship eases and you begin to see the other person for who they truly are (both the good and the bad!), both experts agree that’s when love—not lust or infatuation—sets in.

If the whole concept of figuring out how to say “I love you” has you breaking out in a cold sweat, don’t stress! Below, relationship experts outline the best ways to tell someone you love ‘em, plus how to really know if you’re ready to confess your feels to that potential soul mate of yours.

How to know you’re ready to say “I love you”

Deciphering if/when you’re in love isn’t always evident, and Michelle says that’s because it might look different every time you feel it. “Love is so expansive, and understanding the type of love you’re experiencing and the type you desire is crucial,” she says.

For some people, love might feel like safety or comfort, while for others, it might feel like you’re a walking heart-eye emoji. In general, you can expect to feel happy when you’re around the person you love, you think about your future together, you prioritize their needs and your time together, and you highly value their thoughts, opinions, and feelings.

If you’re still unsure, Michelle suggests asking yourself questions like: “Do I love the person they are? Do I love who I am around them? Do I love how we treat one another? Do I love our sex?” This can help give you an idea as to whether it’s a passing crush or full-blown love.

Truthfully, though, both experts agree the sheer fact you’re asking yourself if you love someone is a clear sign that you might—or you’re at least well on your way. And if that’s the case, it might be time to tell that special someone how you feel. Before blurting it out, though, Michelle says it’s a good idea to think about your goal in sharing. If you’re saying it because you feel obligated to or have an ulterior motive, it’s probably best to hold back. If, however, you want to tell someone you love them because your feelings are strong and you just can’t hold it in anymore, that’s a damn good indication you’re ready.

Which means you need to figure out the best way to tell them! (No pressure. This is exciting!) You want to say it when you’re in a place where you can handle many different outcomes, from them saying it back to them being sorta stunned. Michelle says it’s also a good idea to consider the headspace your partner is in. “If they have a lot on their plate or are overwhelmed with something else, I wouldn’t add that to their reality just yet,” she advises.

If you’re stuck on the exact moment or location, you’ll want to think about what feels natural for your relationship. Does your partner like grand romantic gestures or do they prefer more vulnerable and intimate moments? Let this guide your when/how so you both feel like the milestone is true to your bond.

Saying “I love you” with words

Saying “I love you” verbally is a surefire way to make sure your S.O. knows *exactly* how you feel. And if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, this is definitely your best course of action. Whether you murmur it in their ear, write it in a love letter, or pen it in icing on a giant cookie cake (SATC flashbacks anyone?), here’s how to say “I love you” with words:

Saying “I love you” without words

Jackson says knowing the recipient’s love language is major for saying “I love you,” especially if you’re doing so wordlessly. This is because some people actually prefer other expressions of love outside of verbal declarations. Whether your partner prefers acts of service, quality time, physical touch, or gift giving/receiving, here’s how to make your love known sans sweet nothings.

No matter how you do it—whether it’s with a skywriter over the park or with the simple gesture of being present—telling someone you love them is a big step not only for your relationship, but for your own personal development as well. “Embrace the feeling because it’s simply what we are on this Earth for,” says Michelle. “To love and be loved.”

Source: Read Full Article