When To Say ‘I Love You’ For The First Time


Carnival rides are put together hastily, and taken down just as hastily. Fairs have always scared me for that precise reason: I’m riding 100 feet off the ground, on a giant Ferris Wheel that wasn’t here a week ago, and won’t be here in another week. There are no seat belts, there are minimal safety mechanisms, and yet everyone files on so they can get the view from the top, giving little thought to how safe they are.

Saying those three little words, for the first time in a new relationship is exactly like this. Hand over a few tickets and before you know it you’re on your way to an exhilarating, breath-taking view. But you’re just one mechanical failure away from being left high and dry, hanging and dangling in the air. All the while you get to see the little people on the ground, just walking on by without a clue, or even worse, maybe they’re pointing at you and wondering what went wrong.

Saying “I love you” first is a double edged sword: if you don’t say it, the other person may not either because they’re holding out for you to say it. If you do say it, you may only end up putting pressure on the other person, and ultimately scaring them off.

I’ve heard that saying I love you first is all about a power struggle. But I disagree with that. Love is not about power. Love is more.

Love is an action.

You should act like you love someone long before you tell them. You should show it before you say it. Saying I love you should be a complement to how you act. When every move you make screams “I love you”, that’s when your mouth should say it.

Love is an emotion.

When someone you love is sad, you become sad. Their happiness is your happiness. Their emotions affect and infect your emotions. You want to take their pain away, even bring it upon yourself if you have to. And if you are ever the cause of their pain, you won’t be able to forgive yourself. When you feel what they feel, that’s when you should say “I love you”. Because by then, you should know if they feel it too. You should know deep down, whether they feel the same because your feelings are so in tune with theirs.

Love is a state of being.

Every thought, mood, word, or act that you do will betray the thoughts in your mind. Because love has nothing to do with your heart. Love is in your brain. Your brain controls your whole body: when your heart skips a beat, it’s because your brain got nervous and tripped while thinking about that special someone. Those butterflies in your stomach came straight from your jumbled thoughts. Love encompasses your brain in euphoria so that everything around you seems different. When the world becomes so beautiful that you fall in love with the world, just because you love one person, that’s when you should say it.

Love is a game changer.

You will never be the same. Whether that’s good or bad, because loving someone means losing a part of who you were before they came into your life. Loving someone means taking a piece of them with you for the rest of your life. When you know, without a doubt, that your life will never be the same, that’s when you say it.

I don’t have an answer for a specific time that you should say it. I can’t tell you to say it after two months, or after six months. I can’t say if you should wait until your partner says it first or if you should just bite the bullet, lay your heart on the line, and say it first. But I know that you shouldn’t say it until you feel it from your toes.

You don’t want to say it just because it’s on the tip of your tongue; say it because the words are constricting your head and your thoughts. Don’t say it because it’s what you’re supposed to do, or because you’re pressured to. Say it because if you don’t your rib cage will burst. Say it when your actions can’t say it any louder. Say it when not saying it means not being true to who you are as a person. Say it when there’s not a single doubt in your mind, because the only thing worse than not saying it is not meaning it.