“Help! How Will I Know When to Say the ‘L’ Word?”

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for two months now and have yet to say the “L” word. That’s always been fine for me, but now I feel like we’re really getting deeper in our relationship, and it scares me because it’s new and some of my past relationships (mostly with family and friends, not guys) have not turned out very well after I had gone deep in. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to say the big “I love you” yet anyway, and I’m very nervous about what he would say in return. Am I letting my anxiety be too big a part of this, and how will we know when we can honestly say we love each other in that way?

    Hey girl! Who would think that those three little words would be so hard to say? Well, actually, for some people they’re not. So often “I love you” is thrown around randomly, but these words are worthy of so much more. Don’t you think so? Of course you do. Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be asking me this question. You’re obviously taking it seriously, so kudos to you!

    The truth is that if you don’t feel that you’re ready yet, then you shouldn’t say it. “I love you” is a commitment. It takes you from dating to courting, because you see permanence in your relationship and you’re considering marriage. They may be just three words, but they say so much, right? I mean, think about what those words mean. When you say, “I love you” to your boyfriend, you’re saying, “You’re the one for me” and “I want to have a future with you.” Are you ready to say those things? Are those things true for you? Have you even had enough time together to determine whether you want to share your life with him?

    Not to scare you, but “I love you” is a life-altering statement! When you say, “I love you,” you should really mean it. Don’t just say it because you feel you should or because you’re afraid to lose him. And how will you know when you can honestly say it? When you honestly feel it!

    How much have you experienced in your two months together? Except for intimacy, you should really experience a variety of emotional scenarios. I’m sure you have shared good times, but what about bad times? You need to live through good and bad before knowing if you love someone. Why? Because if your relationship survives the bad unscathed, it builds your relationship and strengthens your desire to say the “L” word.

    Trust me, you will know when you can honestly say those words because you won’t be able to keep them in. And you won’t worry about his response because your desire to share your feelings for him will take priority. And you will know when the time is right because it will feel right.

    So, here’s what I think you should do:

    1. Don’t stress over when you should say the “L” word. Instead, focus on the relationship.
    2. Remind yourself of the characteristics and values that you are looking for in your future spouse and then compare that with your guy.
    3. Evaluate your relationship and seriously determine whether this guy could be your future husband. If he’s not, then ask yourself why you’re pursuing the relationship and going so far as to consider telling him that you love him.
    4. If you do feel permanence in your relationship, then ask yourself if you’ve experienced enough ups and downs to determine whether you two can successfully survive life’s trials together.
    5. Pray! God will guide you if you trust in Him and His plan. Ask Him to open your eyes to the truth of your relationship.

    Good luck and God bless!

    Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!

    Ask Olivia
    Got a question about boys, your besties or God? I'm here to help! As the girl all my friends always came to for advice, I've turned my girl talk, level-headedness and love of Jesus into a job -- one I love because I was a teen not long ago, too! Click into Ask Olivia in our Girl Talk Forums to ask me a question!


    1. I’ve often wondered this. What if he says “I love you” but I am not ready yet? Also, I’ve often wondered, what if he proposes and I want to say no? What if I’m not even ready to go further in that relationship, but he is? I’d feel really bad that he spent the money on a ring, haha! But this is a serious question that has been on my mind once or twice. Thanks for giving me an answer as well as the user who asked it! 🙂

      • I would like to hear wiser people’s opinion on this too, my boyfriend has started saying that he loves me and I’m not sure how or if it’s appropriate to reply the same way. Both of us are pursuing a serious, long term relationship, and I care soo much for and about him, but I don’t want to be the stereotypical teenager who swears she’s in love when I still have so much growing up to do. You know what I mean?

        • Ohhhh my goodness. These posts are my life right now. My boyfriend’s also been saying it and I feel like I want to say it back, but I realize it’s a commitment and am scared to make that. This is my first relationship ever and, like you, I don’t want to be that girl claiming to be “in love” when I don’t really know because I haven’t experienced other life things… so confused as to where I go from here..

        • I think it does depend on the situation most times. But saying I love is a big step. It’s going to another level in your relationship

    2. What if you’re just good friends, but you want to let him know that you could see the two of you as more? Is there an appropriate way to let him know that, without like pushing for a relationship? Like, I keep hearing “Flirt with him,” but I mean, I don’t see any reason to change our current behavior much. In fact, if we became boyfriend/girlfriend, I feel like not a whole lot would change. I just wonder if maybe I should say something, or if that’d be too forward? And if it wouldn’t be inappropriate, what could I say?

      • I’m in a very similar situation. I’ve become good friends with a guy in my youth group and school (he is 17 and I’m 15). When I first met him, I had a crush on him, but it faded and we became friends. However, I’ve started liking him again more recently, and I suspect he might like me back. I know that I am only 15 and I have a lot more to experience and learn, but I could definitely see myself dating him and I can see him as possibly my future husband. I want to consider a relationship with him, but I don’t want to ruin our friendship. What should I do?

    3. Girls- I would personally wait until the boy says he loves you first- if you tell him you love him first, you are laying out all your cards on the table. Plus, if he tells you it first you have reassurance to tell him. But also make sure you are in a committed relationship, and you can see yourself marrying him. I really recommend reading Wendy Griffith’s book “You are a Prize to be Won!” She also shares my view about waiting until the guy says it first. You girls are so loved and valuable, don’t just tell any boy you love him! 🙂

    4. I will first tell you that I do not have much practical experience with romantic relationships. However, I did take a class this past semester on courtship and marriage. I agree with everything that Olivia, Nicole, and our other friends have said about this process. If you have thought it over and definitely know that what you feel is love for this person make sure that it the right type of love. If you look up on the internet “Sternberg’s Triangular theory of love” there are many combinations of the types of live we may have for our partner. Also, if you decide to wait for the boy to act first, make yourself open for him to get into that conversation. The boy may hesitate to delve into this if he afraid that you will not respect his feelings and opinions. To do this, try to have serious discussions periodically and show him that you definitely respect his thoughts, opinions, and feelings. This ban be done through perhaps finding an article you believe may interest him and ask him his opinion on it. Ask questions and give meaningful responses to show you are listening. Show that you are taking in his ideas and thinking them over before accepting or disagreeing with his point of view. This can also be done through scripture study if that is something you both would be interested in. If he knows that you appreciate his ideas, he will be more likely to share private thoughts and feelings.

    5. Personally, I believe that the phrase “I love you” should not be thrown around so much or even be said at all. I’ve learned this from a past experience. I chatted (facebook) with my last boyfriend one day and we told each other “I love you” back and forth but when I left the computer, I didn’t realize that I left my facebook up on the screen. When I went to another room in the house, my parents looked through our conversation then, when I came back, my mom had a talk with me about what saying “I love you” meant. If I hadn’t left my facebook up, I wouldn’t have known what saying “I love you” portrays. I told him those three words first (it was his first relationship) and I really don’t like the fact that I did now! I didn’t even see us having a future together either. Saying “I love you” early could set anyone in a whirl of hurt when the relationship breaks off later since it is such a big step. Just save the “L” word for when you find your future husband!

    6. My boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year now and we say those three words. But they definitely shouldn’t be thrown around. They’re just not words; there’s a commitment that goes along with it. And if you feel you’re not ready or too shy to say it you are probably not ready for that big commitment yet. But don’t be afraid to be not ready for it. If he truly is the one he will have patience and not pressure you to do anything. 🙂 same goes with intimacy. And most importantly pray to God through your relationship. Your relationship should be a triangle: your boyfriend and you on the bottom, God on top.

    7. I’m very slow when to say things, take it easy, this cealture today wants u to rush everything, not saying the L word till the rite Godly man says it to me first, I’m not turning over the tables, abolusty not, trust me I been asked bout seven years now, u dating? nope, had sex? have not,.I do miss holding my guy friend’s hand that’s what being asked, just wait on the guy to tell u I love u first!! long suffering,.

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