The two of you are enjoying a lazy day in the park. Nothing really that special, except for a bottle of wine and the two of you sharing a beach blanket. Then, suddenly – as he pours you a wine refill in your red Solo cup, he says, “I Love you!”
You are astonished. Dumbfounded. Completely taken off guard. The two of you have been dating for a little while now, but you were never expecting this. You might be excited to hear it and respond as quickly as possible that you love him too – knocking wine all over the blanket. Or, you might not be quite there yet. Should you say it in return because it’s the nice thing to do? Should you change the subject, or pretend you didn’t hear him? Is thank you appropriate?
The following article will help you handle the situation of when he says he loves you for the first time!
First of all, it is important to understand that many, many mothers – even today in 2012 – teach their daughters to NEVER be the first one to utter those three little words. Unlike asking a man out on a date – or making the first move, saying I love you has a lot more grey area associated with it. Most often, it is women who may be feeling the emotion first. And while new age dating is all about honestly and bursting through gender roles, the truth is that these three little words can send a man who might be falling for you (but isn’t quite there yet) running for the hills.
On the flip side, when a man says it to you – you should be prepared with some sort of response. The truth is that you either do, or you don’t in that singular moment. However, changing the subject or pretending that you have just went deaf will only cause a rift between the two of you that could potentially sabotage any future the two of you might have been privy to. And even so, responding that you love him too – when the truth is you don’t is misleading and a tad cruel as well.
For many women, responding with something such as “WOW” or “OMG” will buy you a few split seconds of time and hopefully redirect the question altogether. If you are flattered and have a lot of feelings for the guy, but don’t necessarily feel prepared to drop the ‘L’ bomb, then seal the words with a kiss and don’t say anything else at all. Most men, who are inherently terrified of rejection wont push the issue further in fear that their worst fears will be realized. Your reaction and your response of a simple, yet silencing kiss – will tell him nearly everything that he needs to know. But on the off chance that he does ask for clarification, the best thing you can do is be honest. Tell him that you have a lot of feelings for him, and that things are moving so fast – you just haven’t considered the love thing.
Another way to respond is to call their bluff. Many men and women alike blurt out I love you’s after an especially nice time in the bedroom. If the two of you had just made love, or have been drinking heavily and the ‘I love you’ is revealed, call him out on it. Say, “No you don’t!” Or even, “Really, you love me after 3 weeks of dating, that sure is fast!” Then add a little giggle and laughter. This might snap him back to reality and remind him that he should be careful what he says when under the influence of orgasm or drinks. Plus, it takes the owness off of you in the moment and will most likely change the subject. Plus, it ensures that you don’t have to respond in the same manner. As a rule of thumb, you should choose a moment other than in the aftermath of sexual bliss, or while drinking to say things like this to someone you care about. And they should offer you the same courtesy. If they continue to push the issue, tell them that the two of you will talk about it tomorrow, when the sun sheds some light on reality. (This can buy you quite a bit of time to think!)
Relationship experts, therapists and psychologists alike will all tell you that honesty is the best policy. And certainly it is. Maybe your feelings for this guy haven’t been strengthening like you had hoped, or you feel that there is an imbalance in the amount of love he feels for you versus what you feel for him. Being honest will definitely hurt – but it can be the best way to handle the situation. Leading a guy on, or saying that you love him too when you don’t really mean it will only cause trouble down the road. Once you cross that line, its hard to cross back without really hurting someone. There is nothing wrong with telling someone that you enjoy their company and their time, and have a lot of feelings for them – yet aren’t sure that you are in love.
Bottom line is love cannot be rushed. Saying “I love you,” should mean something down deep in your heart. If the feelings aren’t there, no matter what you do, don’t say it. If he really loves you as much as he says, he will wait for your feelings to develop naturally on their own.