When To Say 'I Love You' — According To Men

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When To Say I Love You
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Trying to decide when it's the right time to say I love you to the person you've been seeing is a torture somewhat unrivaled when it comes to the romantic travails of humankind.

They are just three little words, right? For some people, the happy phrase rolls right off the tongue. Most of us even say them to our friends, our parents, our siblings, heck, even to our co-workers, our pets, and that one dude who makes the best bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich in the neighborhood.

But for some people, making such a statement within the context of a new-ish romantic relationship can not only be scary, but it can tricky!

When should you tell someone you love them?

When is too soon, and when is it too late? Is it a good thing or a devastating thing to be the first person who says it?

By the way, if you think this is something that only women agonize over, I've got some shocking news for you... it's not. Men worry about when about when and how to know it's safe to declare their raw emotions, too!

The fear of rejection and humiliation that comes with the possibility of such a vulnerable exposure of your authentic emotions is universal, my friends!

In fact, lots of men have some very strong opinions about the circumstances under which one should (and shouldn't) utter those three little words to their special someone. And as proof, I went out and rounded up the most sage advice I could find from the men of Reddit.

RELATED: What It Means When Someone Always Says 'Love You' Instead Of 'I Love You’

One redditor asked the gentlemen on the subreddit r/AskMen the following question: "Men — when do you say I love you? I'm wondering how did you know you were in love? When did you tell her relative to this realization? Was it a feeling that you suddenly found words for or a suspicion that you confirmed eventually?"

Here's what 15 men think about when to say "I love you" for the first time.

When to Say "I Love You"

1. There's no right time to say I love you for the first time. You just know.

"I say it when I am in love with them. You just know. There's no it happen after 3 months 5 days and 2 hours or anything, it just happens when it happens."

2. When you realize they make your life complete.

"For me, it was less a feeling and more a realization that she made my life complete. I wanted to grow old with this woman, and make her happy, and protect her no matter what."

3. When you are simply confirming what you've already shown her through your actions.

"I like the George R.R. Martin phrase, 'Words are wind.' Saying it is nothing if you can't make her feel it. When you say it, it should be to confirm what she already knows because of all the things you've already done for her. I'm not talking about flowers and gifts. Listen to her babble about her day, plan out a whole date to amuse her, think of the most random thing she ever said in passing and treat that like her deepest desire, for fun. Tease her, make her laugh, she's supposed to be a friend under it all. And most importantly, do not change whom you are because that is the person she wants to love her. And if it's not, move on brother, she's not for you."

4. When it causes you physical pain not to.

"When I realized I loved the person I'm seeing now, every day I saw them and didn't say it felt like having a giant pit in my stomach."

5. You should say it whenever you want to and not make it such a big deal.

"I don't treat the word like a priceless vase. I just like saying it. People act like it means the same thing for everyone. Like it's a huge step in a relationship. What does it mean? If she says she loves me does that mean she won't cheat? Nope. Does that mean she won't break up with me ever? Nope. The word is subjective."

RELATED: 11 Things You Seriously Need To Know About Someone Before You Say "I Love You"

6. You should only say "I love you" when you absolutely mean it.

"Only when I absolutely mean it. If I tell a woman I love her, I'm not [messing] around. It wasn't sudden, there was a long process of me spending time with her and caring for her more and more until I loved her. Once you know, however you figure it out, you just know."

7. When they're all you can think about.

"When you think about them, care about them and you'd do most anything to make them happy (don't like, you know, literally do things that make you unhappy, you know what I mean), you'll know. For me, she went on holidays and I was like oh sweet, gonna have a lot of fun with the guys. I moped around like a sick puppy and it didn't click with me why, because I'm usually so happy. It only clicked when she got back and I just knew. That being said, don't rush [it.]"

8. After the other person says it first.

"After she says it first. I'd like to say 'I say it when I feel it because I'm so secure in myself' Nah, I say it when I know it won't backfire."

9. When those three words are the first thought in your head every time you see them.

"When it's the first thing I want to say every time I look at her. That's when I knew. With my current girlfriend it happened after a couple months, which is definitely the quickest I've ever said it. But a year later and we still couldn't be happier."

10. Don't choose a specific time. Just let it happen.

"Like the others have said, when it happens it happens. As soon as I realise it, I'll say it. That could be a month in, it could be 4 months in. Really depends. I'm terrible at explaining the underlying reasons for it though."

11. Only say I love you when you really, really, really mean it.

"People say it all the time and diminish it's power. When I say it, I mean it, and she knows it."

12. You'll say it spontaneously when you're ready.

"With my gf it was about 3 months in. We had been saying 'I like you' or 'I really like you' but it wasn't enough. Then one evening at the beach I had her in my arms in the water watching the sun go down. I knew I wanted to say it but I was nervous. Then I felt a warm sensation all over my body and I just had to blurt it out. She said it right back and we had a very passionate kiss."

13. When you can't hold the words back any longer.

"When it builds up inside you so much that the words erupt out of your mouth. Like a volcano."

14. When you know you don't just them, you're in love with them.

"For me though it goes from liking to love to in love. Distinct differences. But not everyone feels that way so I usually wait until it's said to me first."

15. When you make each other better.

"[When] you both genuinely care about each other and raise each other up."

RELATED: 25 Crazy-Romantic, Creative Ways To Say 'I Love You'

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's the Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.