How To Know When The Time Is Right To Say 'I Love You' For The First Time

It can be one of the most beautiful moments of your life ... when you do it right.

How To Know When To Say 'I Love You' For The First Time Getty

Deciding if the time is right to say “I love you” for the first time in relationships with someone new can be surprisingly confusing.

Those three words may be referred to often as "little," but they can feel like the scariest words you will ever speak over the course of your life when you're thinking about saying them to the new love you're dating.

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Yet, at the same time, when the joyful emotion behind them fills your heart as you find yourself falling in love, the desire to shout it out from the mountaintop can be just as overwhelming as the fear of how they'll react when you do.

How can you know for sure when it's the right time to speak this phrase aloud?

Here are five questions to ask yourself in order to know when you're ready to say "I love you" for the first time in new relationships.

1. Are you sure these words reflect how you truly feel?

Check in with yourself to see if you have any hesitations around whether or not your feelings for your new partner meet your personal definition of what love means.


We all experience love in our own way, although when it’s genuine, there are certain universal qualities to the emotions that surface. It can be help to look through some quotes about love and see if the sentiments captured within them match those in your own heart when you think of this person.

2. How will you feel if those words aren't spoken in return?

It takes courage to say these words when there’s no guarantee they'll be said to you in return. Speaking from this place of vulnerability requires that you have the strength to face whatever happens next.

Once it's clear that you're truly in love and trust this is the real deal for you, make sure to consider how you’ll feel if these words are not reciprocated.


Will you be devastated? In that case, you may want to hold off until you’re more aligned with speaking your own truth without it needing your truth to be the same for someone else. When you're there, you’ll be fine letting your feelings be known no matter what response you receive.

And remember, love means different things to different people.

If you don’t hear them say “I love you” back, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Allowing your partner the space to say these words when it feels right in their own heart is a great practice in demonstrating your patience and trust.

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3. Are you clear about your intentions?

Consider why you want to say these words at all.

Is your intention to find out the level of intimacy available if you take the initiative? Are you checking to see if this special someone feels the same way? Are you wondering if this person will flee because you sense a fear of commitment from them?

If you’re attached to some kind of outcome because of expectations you are holding, know that you will create drama when you send that “I love you” floating unanchored into the space between you.

If the time really is right, you should be in a place where your intention is to simply say what mirrors the experience of love in your heart, unapologetically and with no attachment to expectations.


4. Do you trust them not to take advantage of the situation?

Saying “I love you” for the first time is a sacred gift and expression you make a conscious choice to share, and it's important to remember that this is a gift they may or may not feel ready to receive. Even if they aren't, you don't want your willingness to speak these words viewed as a sign that you can now be taken advantage of, given the way you're choosing to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Being able to trust that this person has your back, even if they don't feel the exact same way yet, is mandatory.


5. Do you have a solid sense that love is present between the two of you?

The last thing you want to do is say these words, only to discover this special someone doesn't feel anything remotely close to what you’re feeling, and that they probably never will.

What confirmation do you have that love is already present not only within yourself but between the two of you, and that your words will simply validate what’s been developing for you both?


Bottom line: say these words when they are true for you, when you can accept the reaction whatever it may be, and when the relationship offers a space in which you feel free to be yourself without fear of judgment because trust is present between you both.

That’s when saying “I love you” will be beautiful, and you can say it without any regrets.

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Carolyn Hidalgo is a spiritual life coach with a vision of living judgment-free. Visit her website or contact her through her Facebook page.