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New Love: Should You Say “I Love You” First or Wait to Hear It?

A new romance is always exciting and fun. But when should you say I love you first? After all, timing is everything, or you could sabotage what you have.

Should You Say "I Love You" First

Should you say “I love you” first in your relationship? Saying “I love you” for the first time in a new relationship seems like such a big deal.

It takes your relationship to a whole new level. After all, “love” isn’t just a word you throw out there. The word carries a lot of weight.

We don’t want to freak you out even more than you already are, but that is just the way it is. When you’re saying you love someone, you’re implying that you’re way past the infatuation or even admiration phase. You love them, and this word alone is a heavy one.

This is why the timing of when should you say I love you first holds a lot of importance. But this doesn’t go for all relationships.

There are some long-term relationships and even marriages that don’t even remember who said I love you first. So is it really that important? Well, that’s what you’ve yet to find out in this feature. 

[Read: When to say “I love you” for the first time in a new relationship]

Why are you scared to say “I love you” first?

We’re guessing the reason you came searching for this feature is that you want to say “I love you” for the first time but are nervous. And we totally get it. There is so much stigma when it comes to being the first person in the relationship to admit your feelings. It is a vulnerable thing to do.

You worry about being too intense, or they won’t say it back.

You worry you’ll scare them off or ruin the moment or freak them out.

It is scary. You might tell yourself that whoever says it first is the most invested. You might think that saying it first makes you weak. Or you might fear that not hearing it back could end things.

We get all of that. Those fears are all valid, but they are also entirely irrational. There is nothing logical about love. Saying I love you first doesn’t mean you’re the weaker one in the relationship or that you’re more clingy and invested.

It’s just a matter of saying what you truly feel. After all, when is love ever led by logic? Wondering should you say I love you first or wait to hear it isn’t a mathematical problem. You just say it because your heart is telling you to. [Read: 18 emotions you shouldn’t feel in a healthy relationship]

Should you say “I love you” first?

Our answer to this will almost always be yes. If you know you love this person, tell them. Forget about all those fears and say how you feel.

We know your mind races over the what-ifs now, but you don’t want to be asking yourself, “what if I just told them how I felt?” There is no right or wrong way to say “I love you” first.

We would avoid it right before or after sex for the obvious reasons, but other than that, if you feel it, say it. Love is about the matters of the heart so really, there is no right or wrong answer here.

What works for someone else might not work for you. If your gut *and obviously, heart* is telling you to tell them those three words, why not?

You can blurt it out while they’re doing the dishes. Plan a romantic dinner to say it or wake up next to them in the morning and say it. You can ease into it with a little speech or blurt it out. [Read: The first “I love you” – How to say it and get it right]

There is no way to know what their reaction will be. They could say “thank you,” “I know,” “I love you too,” or nothing. They may need some time to get to the same place as you, or maybe they were just as scared as you were and were waiting for you to say it.

Why saying “I love you” is scary

There isn’t any reason for us to warn you against saying “I love you” first. Maybe you know your partner isn’t there yet. That is okay. Let them know you are risking your vulnerability because you want them to know how you feel and are ready to hear it from them whenever they’re ready.

Perhaps you are terrified of not hearing it back right away. If that is the case, you’ll be struggling with that for a long time. Even if your partner were to say it first, your confidence in your feelings would continue to waiver. [Read: How to deal with saying you love someone and not hearing it back]

Protecting yourself from that outcome only puts off the inevitable and grows resentment. So, if you are bursting to say “I love you,” just say it. Living in fear of telling your partner how you feel is unhealthy and could start a pattern.

If you are scared to tell them something amazing like, “I love you” how will you tell them the inevitable bad news like you crashed the car or clogged the toilet?

Not saying “I love you” because you don’t want to be the first to say it adds an element of competition into your relationship where it doesn’t belong. [Read: These healthy relationship expectations define a good love life]

Saying “I love you” and being vulnerable

Okay, here’s the thing. Some people genuinely believe that being the first to say these three words means you’re softer, weaker, or clingier. In this case, these people don’t really know what love is.

When you love someone, as long as you’re convinced that what you feel is real, then you should scream it to the world and tell it to the person you love. As the saying goes – it’s much better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Saying I love you first doesn’t mean you’ve lost, but it’s a sign you have so much courage within you. You’re fearless enough to confess your love for someone, even with the uncertainty that they might feel a range of emotions upon hearing you say those words. Because why not, when that’s how you really feel? [Read: When should you say “I love you” for the first time?]

Does it matter who says “I love you” first?

Just so you know, it really doesn’t matter who says “I love you” first. It doesn’t mean one person cares more or less. It doesn’t mean one person has more power or is stronger.

Believing in these outdated and pretty sexist ideas of saying “I love you” first removes equality from a relationship. Being scared of showing too many feelings starts the relationship wrong. [Read: 10 reasons why saying ‘I love you’ too soon sucks]

If we follow these “rules” then anyone saying “I love you” at any point would be a bad idea. Women are often told by society that if they say it first, they are losing the power in the relationship. Then if they do and don’t hear it back, they will feel crazy and anxious.

The thing is, all of this is just our fear brought on by TV, movies, and society. In reality, it is your relationship. If you can’t hold back those three little words, then don’t.

Of all the happy couples who made a big deal of saying “I love you” first and those that didn’t, they say now that it didn’t matter who said it first or second but just the fact that they both said and meant it.

So, should you say I love you first?

There’s no logical reason in the book why you shouldn’t say those three words first.

Love is an extraordinary and magical feeling, and you shouldn’t be pretending you don’t feel something you clearly do. Saying I love you first doesn’t make you weaker or more clingy. It just makes you real. [Read: Heartfelt signs the times is right to say “I love you”]

The sneaky tips to make them say “I love you” first

When you and your partner dance around the words “I love you” but never really say them, it seems that you and your partner have reached the dreaded block in your relationship.

If you’ve reached this stage where you know you love your partner, but you don’t feel like saying “I love you” first, you need to remember that you *and perhaps, your partner too* are probably being immature and egoistic.

In all probability, this may even be an ego tussle or a power game in the relationship, which isn’t good. [Read: What is a shit test and why do women use this with men?]

It’s a weird ego game to play, but if you know that you love your partner and they love you, and the only thing that’s stopping either of you from saying “I love you” first is the awkwardness of it all, then perhaps, it’s time to get a bit sneaky!

Discover how to get them to confess their feelings for you with a bit of elegance and a splash of science. And hopefully then, both of you can get past this immature stage and move on to something more real. [Read: 13 signs he’s waiting to say “I love you” but is holding himself back]

1. Limit the words “like” and other L-words

As your partner stares into your eyes, he says, “I really, really like you.” You can playfully brush them off and say, “Oh, that’s nice. I really like pepperoni pizza.” Then, with a suggestive wink, you can let them know that “like” is a word that doesn’t have a lot of meaning. So you’re making fun of it by saying it should only be used for things that are simple and easy to say.

It’s possible that they’ll figure out that you want them to use a word that’s a little more heartfelt. Like, ahem, “love,” don’t you think? [Read: Is he saying “I love you” too soon? 15 signs he doesn’t mean it]

2. Make them spill the beans with your sexy moves!

“I love you!” is what anyone will say after having a great time in the bedroom. If you want your partner to say it out, use amazing sex in your favor!

It will send them so high up on cloud nine that not only will they drop some L-bombs but they’ll also promise to do more housework, agree never to leave the toilet seat up again, and pay more attention to you during Sunday Night Football. Yes, sex does have that effect!

But here’s something to remember. Saying “I love you” during or immediately after sex can be insulting, because it shows they need an orgasm to express their love. But if you already know they love you, and you love them, it’s acceptable to use sex as an excuse to overcome the awkwardness of saying “I love you” for the first time.

Once it’s out, both of you would feel a lot more comfortable saying “I love you” to each other thereon. [Read: How to read the signs your guy honestly means it when he says “I love you”]

3. A slip of the lips follows self-disclosure

There’s something very appealing about open, honest, and transparent people. When someone we care about is willing to share personal information with us, it makes us more likely to share our feelings.

So, to get them to say the L-word, tell them something personal and secretive about yourself that will give them a complete picture of who you are.

You can talk about your fears, worries, and how you’ve had to deal with things in the past. It would help if you also talked about things that will stimulate their mind and tickle their brain.

Then, over a glass of wine, look into their eyes and ask what makes them tick or what happiness means to them. You’ll get them to say “I love you” sooner than you think if you dig through their heart, mind, and soul. [Read: How to get a guy to open up and share more with you]

4. Hypnotize them while they’re asleep

This is a weird trick that apparently works. According to neuroscientists at Northwestern University in Chicago, humans can learn new things while they sleep! Several other studies suggest that you can even pick up a new language while you’re dozing. As they sleep, why not nudge them to eventually spill the beans by planting a minor “bug” in his ear?

Wait until your partner is alseep, and whisper sweet nothings into their ear, like, “I will communicate my emotions to [insert your name].” We know this sounds crazy but hey, they’ll definitely get the hint with this, right?

What’s the worst that can happen? They immediately wake up and hear you say “I love you!” It’s a win-win however you see it! They’d realize you were feeling shy to say it, and they may even find it cute. [Read: 25 signs he really loves you even if he doesn’t say it out loud]

5. Saturate their mind with symbols of love

When they’re with you, flood their head with images and sounds that inspire feelings of affection. To attract their interest, wear a shade of red on a date. Play a romantic comedy like Love Actually, or Crazy, Stupid, Love playing in the background. You can try the same with music as well.

If your partner asks you something, use words like “I’d love to!” or “I’d be happy to!” to stress on the L-word. Take them to places where they can relive their happiest moments. Make a heart-shaped serving dish for them when they come over to eat.

Finally, show them how much you love them by meeting their unmet emotional needs. Having their favorite fast-food order ready for them at the dinner table after a hard day at work may be a great way to show them how much they mean to you. These are all ways to connect yourself to the feelings of love. They’ll be saying “I love you” in no time flat!

6. Play a smart pictionary game with your partner

Pictionary is one of the most popular games in the world, and for a good reason. As you help your partner identify a specific word or phrase, you get to show off your fantastic sketching talents in this entertaining two-person game.

It would be an incredible idea to draw an eye, a heart, and a guy pointing towards another player at some time throughout the game. Watch them obliviously yell, “I love you!” while energized by the game’s momentum. Respond by jokingly saying, “Haha! You said it first!” [Read: 15 relationship games for couples to feel more connected]

Now, of course, several girls have been conditioned to believe that they should never say “I love you” first. But as we said earlier, that’s just sexist. Just go on out there, and express yourself. Why resort to games when you can just be honest instead?

So, with all of this, should you say “I love you” first? Hell, yes! Wear your heart on your sleeve, and don’t be afraid to tell them you love them. 

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...