Why You Should Never Say “I Love You” First

Why You Should Never Say “I Love You” First ©iStock/Gelner Tivadar

Saying the L-word is a big deal. Even though women are usually more aware of when they have fallen in love and probably more likely to want to say it first, there’s a case to be made for waiting. While we should feel comfortable making the first move these days, when it comes to professing love, letting the man take the lead might be the best way to go. It’s less about playing games or being dishonest about your feelings, and more about protecting yourself.

  1. How will you feel if he doesn’t say it back? Be realistic about the possibility that he won’t be ready to say he loves you back. If you’re prepared for that possibility and comfortable with it, you might be able to get away with saying it first. However, if the thought of him leaving you hanging puts a giant knot of embarrassment in your stomach, hold off.
  2. It might be a blow to your ego if he doesn’t say it. Even if you’re the kind of girl who has no problem making a first move, and can take rejection in stride, not having a feeling as strong as love reciprocated could be a lot harder than you expect.
  3. You’ll be giving away a little control. Not in the sense that you have control over him, but control over your own emotions. Once you say the L-word, you’re admitting that you’re all in, and there’s no backing out. Being vulnerable is part of falling in love, but do yourself a favor and make sure you’re really ready before you take that plunge.
  4. It could freak him out. How long have you been together? Have you talked about how serious your relationship is yet and where it might be going? If not, dropping the L-bomb on him might seem like a complete blindside, and no guy likes being caught off guard.
  5. You don’t want to seem like you’re pressuring him. Guys aren’t silly. If you say I love you, he knows that you want him to say it back. You don’t want him to just say it because he’s feeling pressured and he doesn’t want to deal with the awkwardness of not saying it. So unless you’re going to assure him it’s fine if he’s not ready (and actually mean it), maybe just keep it to yourself for now.
  6. Guys just naturally move slower when it comes to emotions. Chances are he hasn’t considered the love thing yet. There’s no harm in waiting to talk about it to give him a chance to come to the same conclusion on his own. Rushing a guy into anything is never a good idea.
  7. You won’t accidentally say it at an awkward time. If you’ve already decided you’re going to wait to say I love you, then you won’t accidentally blurt it out when you’re drunk or during a fight. You want to remember it actually happened the next day, right?
  8. You need to give him time to realize it on his own. It will mean a lot more if he says it because he really means it, not because you planted to idea in his head and he thinks he’s obligated to say it to make you happy.
  9. Guys want to be the pursuer, even in a committed relationship. Even if you’re the one who asked him out, there are probably still a few things he’d like to do first, and professing his love for you could be one of them.
  10. Everyone expresses love in different ways. Once you know him pretty well, it should become clear how he feels about you. Not everyone is comfortable using words to express their feelings, and if he treats you well and you want the same things, there’s no reason to rely too heavily on words.
By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to Bolde.com, contributes regularly to AmongMen.ca, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.