I love you. Three tiny, little words capable of big things.
They carry much weight, those three words.
It’s somewhat of a currency early in a relationship – saying ‘I love you’ is a major milestone, an indicator that you are no longer just fooling around, that you have something real together.
Hearing it back is validation that you’re both on the same page when it comes to your feelings for each other.
Surprisingly (well for me, anyway), researchers have found in a recent study that in 70% of cases, it is the men that say ‘I love you’ first.
Relationship experts on both sides of the fence will urge their respective teams not to “give in” and blurt it out first for fear that they will capsize the relationship and lose the upper hand in the game of love.
If you want to play those games, then fine.
But if you really do have feelings for the person you’re with, I find it’s best to put game-playing to one side and go with your gut.
There’s no magic formula for the right time to say ‘I love you’, though experts and science boffins have tried to put time constraints on the situation (10 dates or four months is reportedly ideal), so you need to rely on being able to read your own individual situation.
However, you can’t say it too soon, or it loses all its worth.
Cranking it out during the first month of dating is extreme, no matter who you are.
Even if you do find yourself falling head over heels at first sight, keep that information to yourself for a little longer.
You don’t want the object of your heart’s desire to think you walk around telling everyone you love them on the third date.
In fact, ladies take note: timing is everything, according to the abovementioned study. It should also be disclosed that if a man is declaring love before you’ve slept together, he’s less likely to be interested in a long-term relationship.
Say it too late or bicker over saying it and you may just ruin everything.
For some, ‘I love you’ is hard to say – as if they think it’s the equivalent of marriage. These are the people that may have never told anyone they love them, regardless of how they feel.
They might prefer to let their actions speak louder than the words they will never actually say.
For others, it seems way too easy as they slip it into every conversation: “I’m just popping out to get some milk – I love you!”
Whatever your style, Valentine’s Day isn’t all that far away. If there is ever a day to say it and mean it, it’s surely then.