I. Love. You. How is it that just three little words can be so difficult to say — and have such a profound impact on your relationship? Find out!
Blurt them out too early and you run the risk of serious awkwardness. Wait too late and your partner may assume feelings aren’t reciprocated. So, when is the right time to let someone special in your life know it’s more than like? HollywoodLife.com talked to real couples to get the scoop on how to know when it’s the real deal—and most importantly, when—to admit it.
Are You Ready to Say ‘I Love You?’ — How to Tell That You’re In Love
So, here’s the fun the part: When it comes to the L-Word, everyone seems to have his or her own timeline. It really depends on your past experiences and how well you know about what you love in a partner — what may take six months for some to realize, may take others two weeks. And then, of course, there are those who argue that love—true love—takes years to develop.
Confusing, no? Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you’re debating dropping the L-bomb, asking yourself these questions can help you figure out when it’s the “right” time for you.
Do you feel like you can’t hold it in anymore?
Like, you’ve been sitting on it for at least month and feel like you’re going to explode… or you’re terrified it might just slip out after a few glasses of Pinot Noir. That’s your guts way of telling you it’s time. “In my experience, when you’re ready to say those words, it kind of just pops out,” says William, 26. “I think the key is not to overthink it too much. When you literally can’t keep it in anymore, that’s the best time to say it.”
Do both of you both go out of your way for the other?
“Actions speak louder than words.” It’s a saying for a reason. Pay attention to little things you and your partner do for each other. Those are the best indicators about where your relationship is heading. “One time I mentioned to my boyfriend that I was stressed about a big meeting in the morning, and still needed to do laundry,” says Anne, 29. “So he volunteered to come over to my house and do it for me. No questions asked. It was clear he really cared about me. I knew in that minute, we both loved each other.”
Do the most important people in his life like you — or at least know you exist?
Whether it’s his mom or his best friend from high school, whoever the VIPs in his life are, they know you’re a big part of his life. Think about: When you’re crazy about a guy, don’t you want to tell everyone about how amazing he is? If he’s keeping you in the dark about his other personal relationships, it’s a red flag.
Do you love your partner’s quirks for better or worse?
As weird as it sounds, you know it’s the real deal when you realize your SO’s so-called “shortcomings” and love them entirely, regardless. “My girlfriend is always running late to everything,” says Max, 26. “It finally hit me one day that even though it drives me nuts, I realized that’s who she is and I can’t change it. When you love someone, you’re willing to compromise. Now I just add a 20-minute buffer to whenever we’re planning to hang out.”
Have you survived your first big fight?
Not fighting isn’t a good thing. You’re going to disagree (and should disagree) at different points throughout your relationship. Even the most effortless relationships require work, and you should feel 100 percent certain that you both are willing to put in the effort it requires.
Have you made future plans together?
A good indication that it’s serious? When you literally can’t picture your life down the road without that person. “I knew I really loved my boyfriend when I wanted him to come with me to a friend’s wedding in Hawaii — even though it was months away and we had only been dating for a short period of time,” says Dani, 27.
What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? When is the “right” time to say “I love you?” What factors do you gauge your ILU timeline on? Share your thoughts in the comments!