7 Reasons You Shouldn't Say 'I Love You' First

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saying I love you

Waiting on a man to make all the big moves in a relationship is both outdated and ridiculous. If you want to flip the script and propose to a guy you’ve been in love with for awhile, there’s no one stopping you.

However, sometimes there are moments when you need to weigh your circumstances before single-handedly moving your relationship to the next level and saying I love you first. Here are seven reasons you should reconsider blurting out those three words.

1. Your relationship is brand new.

This seems like something you should learn in high school, but if you’ve been dating someone for a month or less, the odds are very, very good that you’re not in love, no matter how amazing you feel. We've all been there: You meet someone that you really connect with on a unique level and feel like you’ve found something special with that person, so you assume you’ve finally found what real love is.

Let's screech it to the heavens! Not so fast, dollface. When you’re in the first few weeks of a relationship, there’s no way you’re seeing a large enough percentage of this other person’s character to really gauge if it’s "Love with a capital-L."

Saying “I love you” implies that you accept someone exactly how they are, warts and all. You haven’t even seen that part if you haven’t given your relationship some time to breathe.

RELATED: The 8 MAJOR Differences Between Being 'In Lust' and 'In Love'

2. You have a lot of expectations about what saying "I love you" means.

If you believe that saying “I love you” will indicate that you’re ready to move in, meet his family, adopt a dog, or get engaged, you need to pump the brakes. When you say “I love you” it should be delivered with no pretenses or expectations; otherwise, you’re not only being manipulative, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Love is unconditional and carries no weight, so if your statement of “I love you” will come loaded, you’d better skip it for now. This includes saying “I love you” with the demand that he’ll say it in return, by the way. Only offer your love to someone when it can be just an honest statement and nothing more.  

3. He’s just gotten out of a long-term relationship.

Finding someone special very soon after getting out of something big is the less-talked-about cousin to a rebound, but it’s almost as common. These things do work out sometimes. However, this doesn’t mean that his mind is going to be completely clear of whatever complicated feelings he may have during the transition from old relationship to new.

If he’s still periodically bringing up his very recent ex, give him a chance to move on from that and figure out his feelings for you without the added pressure to reciprocate your proclamation of love. If it’s real, he’ll come around and will let you know he loves you. If it’s not, then you won’t have wasted your breath on someone who wasn’t ready to fall in love again.

4. YOU have just gotten out of a long-term relationship.

Again. I know. He could be the best human you’ve ever met and you’re really not even that sad about your ex, so why not? I get it. I’ve been there. No matter how you feel about your past relationship, you still need time to separate in order to build something fresh with someone else.

For the first phase of this new romance, you will subconsciously compare New Guy to Old Assh*le, even if all those comparisons are bright, shiny sighs of blissful relief that you’re not with Old Assh*le anymore. Regardless, you still owe it to yourself and New Guy to sort out your feelings and compartmentalize this new relationship as something independent that exists without strings to something you're letting go of.

Don’t get caught up in a New Guy High! Give it a chance to mellow. 

RELATED: 7 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About What It REALLY Means To Be In LOVE

5. You’re drunk.

As someone who has made entirely too many drunken confessions, I can say that they’re usually rooted in truth, which is a great and sometimes transformative thing. However, if the very first time you feel comfortable enough to tell someone your real, honest love for them is when you’re intoxicated, it sets a pretty bad precedent for your relationship and the means by which you communicate genuine emotion.

Wait until you’re both sober and tell him you love him when you feel safe enough to show that kind of brave vulnerability. The rest of your relationship will be better for it.

6. He recently experienced tragedy or loss.

It’s understandable that this would be a time that you would want to let him know how strong your feelings of solidarity with him are, but there are plenty of ways to do that without making this about you or your relationship. While you can always say “I’m here for you,” the most powerful way to demonstrate your support for him is to just show him without complicating his emotions with your relationship.

Just give him a little time to heal so you can turn the focus onto the magic between you again when he’s ready. Plus, if you sit by his side through his hard moments, your “I love you” will be even more meaningful when you finally have the right moment to say it. 

7. You feel obligated to.

I wish this one wasn't necessary for this list but, unfortunately, it's something women feel a lot. Often, we feel like we have to tell someone we love them first for a number of reasons that are all depressing and not at all indicative of a healthy romance.

Whether you feel pressured to tell him because you've been together long time, you want to justify having meaningless sex with him, out of guilt, or because you believe it's the only way to get him to show you affection, emotion expressed from a point of obligation isn't what love is about — certainly not the optional, recreational, dizzying, fill-your-soul-with-bubbles kind of love that romance is.

If you're feeling like you "should" tell him you love him more than you "want" to tell him, don't cheat yourself by saying words you don't mean. You don't owe anyone anything when it comes to your heart.

RELATED: 30 Things You MUST Know About Love By The Time You're 30

Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer and activist based in North Carolina, where she overshares her bizarre journey through mental illness, recovery, parenting, and surviving Southern suburbia on her blog or anywhere she can get published. Her words have appeared in Huffington Post,, XOJane, Ravishly, ThoughtCatalog, and one time in the Letters to the Editor section of Playboy.