How Long It Takes Men & Women To Say 'I Love You' For The First Time, According To Research

When are you supposed to drop the L-word in a relationship?

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Most of us have been in the position of wondering and worrying when it will be okay to say "I love you" to someone for the first time in their relationship.

Opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is scary, and when you have no idea whether the other person will excitedly respond with an enthusiastic, "I love you, too!" or if they might just nod and smile or stare back blankly, it can be downright terrifying.


No wonder we spend so much darn time reading relationship advice columns while trying to figure out if saying "I love you" too early (or too late!) could potentially doom your blooming romance.

It's insane the power that three little words can have, but nevertheless, they do.

Which is why scientists conducted a 2018 survey in which they asked 1,000 men and women in the UK, "How long do you wait before you say 'I love you' for the first time?"

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While they didn't come away with a definitive timeline for you to follow, they did arrive at some pretty interesting results.

Over half of the survey's respondents said that they prefer to wait at least three months before saying "I love you" for the first time.

The study also breaks this down by gender, which I have to admit, yielded some pretty unexpected responses, at least, unexpected from me.

According to the results:

"When it comes to declaring your love for one another, over half the people surveyed would wait at least 3 months before braving the magic words. 1/3 of women would also have no problem saying it between 1-3 months of a new relationship. But the real discovery is that men are twice as likely as women to declare their love after just 1 week."


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One-third of the women polled felt that saying "I love you" between 1 and 3 months into a relationship could be totally fine. However, men are twice (TWICE) as likely as women to say "I love you" after just ONE WEEK of being with a person?!

Wow, gentlemen, slow your proverbial roll, am I right?

Personally, I've always been of the opinion that if you wait to say "I love you" until you can't NOT say it, chances are that by the time you finally do your partner will have been waiting to hear it or say it themselves and will therefore collapse in a pile of relief and loving delight.

Because the truth is, there's no such thing as a "right" time.


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There's the time that feels right to you. You'll never have a guarantee that the person on the receiving end of those three little words, either. The only way to know if it's right is to go ahead and give it a try.

Hitting important milestones in your romantic relationship is part of the process of getting more intimate and fostering your romantic connection. Moving at a pace dictated by the people around you or by what you read in magazines or on the Internet will only distract you from being able to pay the kind of attention necessary in order to understand your own feelings and those of your partner.


YOU set the rules.

Always trust your gut, and understand that a huge part of being in love is taking a leap. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango, and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek. Her bylines have appeared in Fatherly, Gizmodo, Yahoo Life, Jezebel, Apartment Therapy, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and many others.