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How to tell someone you love them

by Eharmony Editorial Team - May 11, 2018

Those all-important three words are sometimes the hardest to say. If you’re grappling with whether to confess your feelings, don’t despair: check out our guide on how to tell someone you love them.

‘I love you’ sounds simple enough, but it can be one of the hardest things to say. You might be comfortable telling friends and family that you love them but when it comes to a new relationship, saying it changes everything. There are several things that you need to consider. Is it too early? Do they feel the same way? How should you tell them?

It’s not black and white and there’s no right or wrong way to tell someone you love them. However, it’s always worth asking yourself a few key questions before taking the plunge.

Here’s our guide on how to tell someone you love them:

Who should you say ‘I love you’ to?

You should never feel pressured to tell someone you love them if you don’t. These aren’t words that should be taken lightly. They may be exactly what your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to hear but, if you don’t mean it, it’ll hurt them more in the long-run. Consider how your partner feels. Saying ‘I love you’ in the heat of the moment might not mean much to you but it may mean everything to them. Don’t be callous with their feelings or betray your own by misleading them.

If you’re not sure whether you should tell someone you love them or not, listen to your instincts. Telling someone you love them is a big step. Ask yourself how emotionally vulnerable you can be with them. Do you trust them? How will they react?

However, if you feel in your heart that you love them, don’t let fear dissuade you. Telling someone you care about how you feel is the first step towards building greater intimacy and trust. You just need to know how.

When should you tell someone you love them?

Type this question into any search engine – or even ask among your friends – and you’ll likely end up with a wide range of opinions. Everyone has their own rule. Wait two months. You can say it after five dates. Not until you’ve met each other’s friends and family. In reality, there are no hard and fast rules. Difficult time scales will apply to different couples.

Even so, it’s best to avoid saying it too early. Even if you do feel that way, you risk coming across as insincere. Many would argue that it’s impossible to really know that you love someone until you know them well, which isn’t going to happen after a week or two.

You should also make sure that your actions reflect your words. If you haven’t been acting in a loving way, then your words will be meaningless. An ‘I love you’ shouldn’t come out of nowhere or be used as an apology to heal an argument. You could be telling someone you love them with your actions before you even think of uttering the words.

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How to tell someone you love them

Wondering how to tell someone you love them? In person is always best. Choose a location that will be comfortable for them and a context that feels right for your relationship. If your partner loves big public displays of affection, then feel free to tell them you love them in public. But if you know they’d prefer to hear those words in private, save them for when you’re alone.

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You may feel more comfortable telling them over the phone or in a letter. The most important thing is that you are direct and honest. Timing is also important. There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous but screaming it out in an argument is not the best way to tell someone you love them for the first time. Ideally, it should feel natural and right for the moment that you choose, after a particularly great date or during a day spent together.

Lastly, no matter how you tell someone you love them, you need to be prepared for all responses. Hopefully they’ll feel the same way and say it back to you. But they might not. Don’t presume a positive response and don’t punish them if they don’t say it back straightaway. They could be struggling with the same thoughts you have been, and you don’t want to feel that you’ve pressured or coerced someone into saying something. Say I love you because you want to, not because you expect something in return.