How to Know When You’re Ready to Drop the “L” Word

By Samantha Iacia

Three words. Eight letters. These tips will help you decide when to say ‘I love you’ to that special someone for the first time.

Kate Edwards Weddings

Falling in love and knowing exactly when to say I love you for the first time is a different experience for every couple. But if you feel like those three little words are lingering on the tip of your tongue, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide whether or not you’re ready to take the plunge!

Here’s how to know when to say I love you for the first time.    

When bae becomes the best part of your day.

As you transition from “just dating” to full-on monogamy, you’ll start developing a deeper connection with your S.O. that goes beyond flirty texts and casual meetups for drinks. That person who was once just the cute guy (or girl) you’ve been getting to know is suddenly the most attractive human ever — one who also happens to now be an integral part of your day-to-day life. You can’t wait to talk to them each morning, you don’t go to bed without saying goodnight, and they’re the first person you turn to when something goes wrong. You’re on cloud nine whenever you’re together, even if that means ordering takeout and watching Netflix on the couch.

When you’re able to have meaningful conversations.

Part of being in love is feeling understood, or at the very least respected, by your significant other. Maybe your S.O. can put you at ease in a way that no one else can, or maybe they can always tell when there’s something on your mind that you’re leaving unsaid. If you’re thinking about when to say I love you, having a strong line of communication with your partner is a telltale sign that you might be ready. When you feel comfortable having meaningful, honest conversations with your S.O. about things like personal values, past relationships, future goals, and even silly debates about which sushi place is better, it’s a huge step in the right direction toward lovebird bliss.    

When you feel relaxed and comfortable together.

When you’re with the right person, letting your guard down is something that will happen naturally over the course of your relationship, even if you’re the most reserved person on earth. Once you start opening up to your S.O. and revealing things that you probably would have kept secret otherwise, it’s a major sign that you’re smitten. Whether you’re sharing embarrassing yearbook pictures, letting your partner see you without makeup for the first time, or accidentally mentioning that you’re low-key obsessed with anime movies, feeling comfortable enough to allow your true colors to shine is a good indicator of when to say I love you.

When you can’t escape the butterflies.

Do you get butterflies every time your S.O. walks into the room and whenever their name pops up on your phone? Whether you’ve been together for six weeks or six months, getting the butterflies when your partner is around is an obvious sign that you might be ready to say I love you. Another telltale sign? You’re constantly thinking about bae and can’t stop smiling when you’re telling your besties about him or her.

When the future doesn’t totally freak you out.

We’re not saying that you have to start planning the wedding tomorrow, but if you can picture yourself with your S.O. for the foreseeable future, it’s a positive sign that love is on the way. Think about your next relationship milestone: Have you met the parents yet? Are you planning your first couples vacation together? If you’re considering when to say I love you, these types of relationship benchmarks should stir up feelings of excitement and optimism!

When you’re doing things that are out of the ordinary.

As the adage goes, falling in love can make you do crazy things — and all it takes is a few beloved rom-coms to remind us just how elaborate a profession of love can be (Love Actually, anyone?). An obvious sign that you’re ready to say I love you is if you’re switching up your normal routine or going out of your way to make your partner happy. Sometimes, your subconscious knows when to say I love you before you’ve even had the chance to realize that you’re ready! Maybe you’ve caught yourself daydreaming about dropping the “L” word or have even had to stop yourself from saying it in conversation. Or perhaps you’re suddenly willing to do things you’d never agree to otherwise, like driving across town at a moment’s notice or switching up your daily routine, just to spend a few hours with your significant other. If this is the case, it’s time to reveal your true feelings!