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When should you say 'I love you'?

Three words that paralyze, solidify or make people flee relationships. But why does it have to be so awkward to say those words?

Is it about what it means, or what you interpret when your partner says them?

What is love?

You need to ask yourself what 'I love you' means to you. Does it mean marriage, moving in together or just that you treasure the person you are with? Is it a warm fuzzy feeling like a blanket in Nairobi’s July rains or is it just something to punctuate an orgasm? The meaning of these three words varies so intensely from person to person.
Before you go blurting it out based on an ‘ideal’ time in your relationship, first ask yourself, what does 'I love you' mean to me?

Love is action

Being in love isn’t just something you 'know' – it is something you do. Love is action. You can say it; but does your beau experience it by the way you treat them, talk to them, think of them? Love is an action that comes incrementally. You can only love someone you know; spend time with, learn to understand – it’s not a glance in a corridor. That glance in the corridor that makes your heart skip a beat is infatuation, it helps you zero in on a potential mate.

Love is work

After infatuation, you get to the hard work of getting to know someone. Really get to know them – their strengths, weaknesses, convictions, pet peeves – you get the spiel.

Forget the movies; it is hard work.

As you build this connection, you are steadily growing toward that point of knowing and appreciating someone, flaws and all. This is love. Now that you finally know that you are in love, when do you say it?

When to say 'it'

The reason why we feel pressured about the timing or the need to say ‘it’ is based on two things: fear of rejection and social constructs which put a time frame on when you need to say it.

Saying 'I love you' shouldn't feel like you will miss the bus if you don’t say it.

It really is all about saying it when you are ready.
Now a quick disclaimer here: you need to communicate how you feel at any given time in your relationship. Some say it faster some slower you need to be patient and considerate of each other.

Just the two of is

Does it change the dynamic of your relationship? It may or may not. It really depends on the two of you and that’s what this is about.
What love means to you, how you build up from infatuation to love, and how you communicate your love really boils down to the both of you. No one can give you strict timelines: you decide for yourself when you need to hear it, when you need to say it, and what it will mean for your relationship.  


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