What Makes A Guy Want To Say “I Love You” For The First Time

One of the biggest moments in any long-term relationship is when the words “I love you” are spoken aloud for the first time. Unfortunately, there’s no protocol or guidebook for when or how to say it. In fact, you can’t even be sure why someone is saying it. For guys, there is a variety of motivating factors that lead up to those three little words. Here are some possible catalysts for his declaration of love.

  1. Overwhelming pressure At a certain point, guys understand that our partners want (or are expecting) us to say “I love you.” Even if we aren’t ready to say it or don’t feel it, there is a ton of pressure on us to make you happy by saying it. We can tell that your feelings are strong but that you won’t say it first. That creates a level of pressure and fear that eventually leads to us saying it even if we don’t mean it (at least not yet).
  2. Desire for it to be true At times a guy can be on the fence over whether or not he loves you. He might be close but not all the way there but he says it because he wants it to be true. In a way, it becomes a test to see how we feel after we say it. Hopefully it goes well and saying it feels right. But there are no guarantees.
  3. A sudden epiphany As soon as a guy realizes that he loves you, he may not have the self-control to avoid just blurting it out. Of course, there are some settings that are much better for saying “I love you” for the first time than others, but finding the right moment sometimes escapes us. In a way, this is the purest form of that proclamation. There’s no thinking or worrying; we just want you to know how we feel.
  4. To stop a fight This isn’t ideal, but some guys have been known to say “I love you” in the middle of a fight. In fairness, we might mean it, which is nice, but this is more about saying that we’re sorry and hoping the fight will stop. I’m sure most of you ladies have noticed that a lot of guys aren’t too bright. In our mind, we think that saying “I love you” will magically make everything better.
  5. To show our support One motivation for saying “I love you” could be trying to be there for someone. If you lost a loved one or you’re going through a hard time, a guy might say it as a way to comfort you. Obviously, the timing is a little odd. I think we’ve all seen TV shows where this happened and it backfired. But you can’t blame a guy for doing whatever he can think of to comfort his girlfriend in her hour of need.
  6. To prevent a breakup Desperate times call for desperate measures. If a guy doesn’t want to lose you, he might say “I love you” to avoid breaking up. It’s obviously a last-minute, Hail Mary idea that isn’t likely to work. However, he doesn’t have much to lose by saying it if there’s any chance it’ll make you reconsider dumping him.
  7. Knowing you’ll say it back Everyone wants to feel loved, right? If a guy is confident that you’ll return the gesture, he might go ahead and say it for the first time. I can’t guarantee that he’ll mean it, but he’ll at least be on his way to meaning it. Obviously, this is a rather selfish approach, but it’s not the most disingenuous form of saying “I love you.”
  8. To keep a long-distance relationship going Nobody ever said that long-distance relationships are easy. If a guy is nervous about being away from you, he might say “I love you” for the first time to help cement the relationship. Even if you have to be apart, he wants to make it clear that he’s in it for the long haul.
  9. Guilt If a guy feels guilty about something, saying “I love you” is one way he might overcompensate for it. Unfortunately, he’s usually guilty because he cheated but still has feelings for you. He also thinks it’s one way he can cover up his tracks. After all, why would he tell you he loves you if he just cheated? Admittedly, it’s a messy and convoluted way of thinking. But that’s how a man’s brain works sometimes.
  10. To express overwhelming feelings I know I’ve mentioned a few somewhat cynical reasons why I guy says “I love you” for the first time, but there are times when a genuine guy genuinely loves you and just wants you to know. We know there are all of these unwritten rules about when to say it. Is it too soon or not soon enough? All of that can be a little confusing for most guys. If we honestly feel it, it’s hard not to say it. Hopefully, you can tell if a guy means it when he says “I love you.” But I promise you there are times when a guy genuinely means it.
Bryan Zarpentine graduated from Syracuse University and lives in upstate New York, where he writes largely about the world of sports. His work has appeared on Franchise Sports and WSN, among others. You can find him on Twitter @BZarp.