You're in a relationship. You're having an awesome time. But now, the feelings are starting to get intense, and you're wondering when to say I love you. Is there a right time to do it? Well, there is a right time, but not exactly like you might think.
Traditional wisdom — whatever that is — dictates saying it something like six months after you start dating. But why? Will every couple be in the same spot six months after they start dating? Will everyone feel the same about their partner? Well, probably not.
In fact, six months after we started dating, my husband and I had already been married for four of them! See, my husband and I got married eight weeks to the day of our first date. We decided to get married after five weeks. And we said I love you (now, this won't be a surprise) about 10 days in. We didn't follow a set timeline. And now, happily married, we're glad we didn't.
There is no timeline you should be following for your relationship, but there are certain markers that can help you decide whether or not it's the right time to say, "I love you." The general idea is not to worry about what anyone else prescribes for your relationship, and instead, just to listen to your heart and what feels right.
Here are the signs to help you decide when to say "I love you."
1. When You Feel Happier Than You've Ever Felt
When you're ready to say "I love you," the first thing you should feel is happier than you've ever felt before. You should be swinging from the chandeliers, unable to contain yourself, thrilled that you found love.
When I found my husband, I was not only totally happy, I was also stunned that he existed. I never believed in the concept of "the one" before, so when I found him and immediately knew he was the one, I was happier than I ever thought possible.
When you're getting ready to say "I love you," you shouldn't feel stressed or worried or concerned whether this is the right relationship for you. You should be 100 percent, completely convinced that it is. The happiness will probably overwhelm you. And when it does, you know you are ready to say I love you.
2. When You Feel Like You Can Be Yourself
In any true, loving relationship, you should feel like you can be yourself, completely and totally. This is something I never understood before my husband. In fact, I was always running away from relationships, and I didn't realize until later that part of the reason I didn't like them is because I always felt like I was being judged for who I was.
Whether it was my hatred of general monogamy or my inability to stop cursing, it felt like I was always with people who wanted me to change. With my husband, though, I immediately felt accepted. Within the first few days of our first date, I just knew that he accepted me for me. He reinforced this by telling me and by living it. No matter what new facts I revealed to him, he was there.
3. When You Feel Like You'd Do Anything For Your Partner
When you're in love, it's not just one emotion of "love" you feel; it's a whole mix of several different ones. You feel peace, you feel acceptance, and you feel willing to do anything. It's that last one that should have you stop and realize that you might be ready to say I love you.
True love will make you feel like you want to make your partner happier than anything in the world. And because of that, you'll want to do everything you can for them, and you'll be willing to do anything you can for them. I never felt this way in prior relationships, but as soon as I found my husband, I knew that I would do anything for him. So saying I love you is usually a great next step once you've realized you feel this way about another human being.
4. When You're Ready To Commit
Sometimes, the words "I love you" can come with nothing else. In fact, this is sort of how it happened for my husband and me. I knew I wasn't ready to commit or offer anything more than my feelings, so I told him I loved him and that was that... until weeks later when I decided I could handle more and wanted to handle more.
Before you say I love you to someone, make sure that you are ready for the commitment that entails. It may end up being not a physical commitment, but more of an emotional commitment to follow through on your love.
5. When You're Sure You Really Love Them
This one may sound a little "duh!" but the truth is, even if you feel all of the other things on this list, it's still not enough. You have to feel sure in your heart that you love them. And only you will be sure what that feels like.
Maybe you've never once experienced true love, and you never thought you would, but all of a sudden, you have a specific calm about you that makes you know it's real. Maybe you just never knew that love could feel so wonderful, and because of that, you're sure this is it. Maybe you just have a feeling.
Whatever it is, you have to be sure for yourself that it's real love. Once you know, you'll want to shout it from the rooftops, so if what you feel is real, go ahead and tell them!
As you can see, there's no perfect time to say "I love you." It's not six months into a relationship, it's not three weeks, and it's not a year. It's whenever you feel certain things that make you know it's totally real and right for you.
When you know, you'll know. So if that's you, go ahead and tell your beloved, because it's likely they feel it, too!
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!