Relationships
What are some signs he wants to say 'I love you'? He might get there on his own time.

Experts Weigh In On How Long It Takes Most Couples To Say “I Love You”

There is no perfect timeline.

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Maybe it’s corny, but one of the sweetest, most exciting relationship milestones is the first "I love you." By the time you finally say it, you've probably been feeling it for a while but have been holding back and waiting for one of you to break down and confess. And if you’re dating someone who hasn't dropped the L-bomb yet, you might be wondering something along the lines of, “How long does it take for a man to say ‘I love you’?” or “When can I expect my girlfriend to finally say those three words to me?”

Has a "normal" amount of time passed? Should you be worried if your partner hasn't said “I love you” yet? So many qualms! Luckily, all of those doubts go away when the moment finally happens. Not only is it romantic, but it comes with a huge wave of relief when you can finally let go of all that pent-up emotional energy.

Like all matters of the heart, the timing is complicated. Every person is different, with different views on how to display love as well as comfort levels with expressing emotion. There isn't an exact number of days until your partner should drop the L-bomb, but there are some general windows of time when most people feel comfortable saying it — and actually meaning it (because a half-hearted “I love you” doesn’t feel great to hear).

To help clarify this, Elite Daily reached out to experts for insight on signs she or he wants to say “I love you” and what it means when this happens too early or too late.

When The Timing Is Right
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No two relationships are identical, so each milestone, including saying “I love you,” is going to come in its own time. For it to be sincere, as dating coach John Keegan of The Awakened Lifestyle says, “It has to arrive naturally!” No matter how impatient you're feeling (especially when you're very sure of your own feelings), you have to give your partner time to get there. Keegan says the way to do that is by taking the time to get to know each other fully and both knowing what the other wants.

“The man should be disciplined in his love and his timing of saying 'I love you,'" Keegan tells Elite Daily. "He should say it only after he knows that he wants a deeper relationship with you.” You want your partner to feel their love sincerely before expressing it out loud.

But how long does something like that usually take? Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, says it all depends on how much time you spend together. “Some couples go on a first date and are inseparable, going on multiple dates per week, while other couples do weekend dates or one/two dates a week for the first few months,” Conti tells Elite Daily.

But ultimately it depends on how comfortable they are with expressing their feelings — and this goes for anyone, regardless of gender identity. “Every man is different when it comes to those three little words," Conti says. "Some men have never told a woman that they loved her, while others have told all of their exes and flings that they are in love. It all depends on the man and his comfort level with opening up with his feelings."

While there is no exact "right" amount of time, Damona Hoffman, the host of The Dates & Mates Podcast, does say there is a typical window for when men and women sincerely say "I love you."

“Each relationship is different, but I would say the average is between three to six months," Hoffman tells Elite Daily. "My husband waited nine months to say it when we were dating, and it was torture!”

Even though it’s insightful to hear other peoples’ anecdotes and best practices when it comes to dropping the L-word, ultimately, your relationship is not doomed if it doesn't follow an exact timeline. No one relationship is the same.

If Your Partner Says It Right Away, That’s A Red Flag

While you may be feeling eager to hear your partner confess their love, if it happens too soon, you should be wary. "If you've only known each other a couple weeks when he says 'I love you,' he couldn't really love you because he still doesn't truly know you yet," warns Hoffman.

Rather than being an expression of true, deep love, the use of the L-word so early on in a new relationship is likely more of a side effect of infatuation in the honeymoon phase.

"It means 'I love the idea of you,' which sometimes turns into a long-term partnership but sometimes evolves away from the reality of the relationship,” Conti adds. “Love takes time to grow; while a man can love his initial impression of you and can love thinking about a future with you, it is important for him to take the time to get to know you before diving in and saying ‘I love you.’”

How Long Is Too Long To Wait?
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While saying "I love you" too soon can undercut the sincerity of those feelings, the opposite is also true. What does it mean when it's been over a year and your partner still hasn't expressed their feelings? Conti says holding off for a long time isn’t an automatic cause for concern — for some people, it just takes a lot longer to say it.

“It may take some men years to say those words, because he may have an idea that he only wants to tell one woman that he loves her in his lifetime,” she says. So then, the question really becomes: How do you feel about waiting?

“If it is something that you are longing for in a relationship and it has been over a year, it's time to open the lines of communication so that you are not left feeling unloved and emotionally unfulfilled,” says Conti. You deserve to feel your love reciprocated by the person you’re with.

Saying "I love you" can mean more than just expressing an emotion. It's also a milestone that represents a commitment, so if you feel that the relationship is stalling out, Keegan says your partner’s reluctance to say "I love you" could be a sign that they are intentionally keeping things light.

“He's resisting going into the depths because he wants to keep all his options open," Keegan says. "If you feel him really exploring the possibility of a real relationship, then let it unfold in its own time.”

How To Talk About Saying “I Love You”

If you’re feeling particularly worried or self-conscious about the fact that your partner hasn’t said “I love you” yet, the easiest, most straightforward solution is just to talk it out with them and see whether you're on the same page.

As Trina Leckie, a relationship coach and the host of the breakup BOOST podcast, previously told Elite Daily, "you can definitely sit down with them and simply say something along the lines of, 'Words of affirmation mean so much to me in a relationship, but I notice you don’t seem to say 'I love you' very often. How are you feeling about us?'"

Confronting your partner about it might seem daunting, but expressing your needs — in all aspects of a relationship — is essential to maintaining your own well-being. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re not forcing it upon the other person. Saying “I love you” for the first time should be an authentic expression of their own emotions.

"You don’t want someone to say it just because you said it, you want it to be genuine," matchmaker and dating coach Julia Bekker previously told Elite Daily. "Let your partner say it when he/she is ready. If you’re still not hearing it or questioning whether feelings are mutual, then have a healthy conversation about where you both stand."

Ultimately, the right amount of time to wait to hear "I love you" really depends on the nature of your relationship. However, a good indicator that it's been too long, Hoffman says, is when “it begins to breed resentment within you.”

At the end of the day, most people are going to say the L-word when the timing is right, and you’ll end up with a lovely story about the first time she or he said “I love you.” If your partner says it too soon, be cautious. And if they aren’t saying it soon enough, it's time to sit down and talk to them about it. In fact, maybe it's time to take the lead and say it first.

"If you're feeling it, you shouldn't be afraid to say it," Hoffman says. "It's time we threw out those antiquated dating rules." Because your time table is just as important as theirs.

Experts:

John Keegan, dating coach at The Awakened Lifestyle

Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City

Damona Hoffman, dating coach and the host of The Dates & Mates Podcast

Trina Leckie, relationship coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast

Julia Bekker, matchmaker and dating coach

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