Signs Your Partner Is Too Scared To Say "I Love You,” So Don’t Panic

by Korey Lane

In any romantic relationship, saying "I love you" can feel like a pretty big deal. If you've already told your partner you love them and they have yet to reciprocate, waiting for them to say it back can be nerve-wracking. The good news is, experts say you shouldn't worry too much about not hearing "I love you, too" as soon as you'd like. There could be a lot of reasons why your partner hasn't said it, and all these signs your partner is too scared to say "I love you," might make you see their hesitation in a new light.

The thing is, "there’s a lot of pressure and expectations that come along with saying 'I love you' [for] the first time to your partner," Julie Spira, online dating expert, tells Elite Daily. It's such a huge milestone, that it's totally normal to feel a little anxious about saying it. Maybe you've already told your partner that you love them and are waiting for them to say it back. Maybe it feels like it's about to happen but it hasn't yet. Whatever the case, there's likely a reason, and it's probably nothing to worry about just yet.

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of why your partner might be scared to say "I love you," then sit tight, because the experts have answers.

They're afraid of rejection.

For a lot of people, not saying "I love you" has more to do with a fear of being rejected and not hearing it said back. If you haven't said "I love you" yet and instead, you're waiting for your SO to say it first, this might apply to you.

"When you're with someone you think you can fall in love with, it doesn't mean you’ll feel it and want to express it at the same time," Spira explains. "For one, when someone says 'I love you,' they are really hoping you’ll say 'I love you too.' If you don’t reply with the same sentiment, they'll feel rejected and might pull back."

It might just come down to your partner having a fear of being rejected. If you know they have a fear of rejection in general, that might be a sign they're just scared to fess up.

They've said everything else.

Another sign that your partner is too afraid to tell you how they feel is that they've said everything else you can say without saying those three little words. "When your partner says they are crazy about you, specifically asks you for a commitment to be exclusive, and is proud to call you their girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s a matter of time that you’ll probably hear them say 'I love you,'" Spira says.

Really, "If you feel loved, then enjoy that feeling without pressuring your significant other to say it out of obligation," Spira adds. If your partner is already scared of saying it, then perhaps adding more pressure might not be the wisest move.

They've been hurt before.

If you and your partner have talked extensively about your past relationships, and you know that they've been hurt before by someone they've told "I love you" to, then that might be a sign that they love you, but they're too afraid to say it. "Has your partner been burned before by saying 'I love you' too soon?" Erika Ettin, founder and CEO of A Little Nudge, tells Elite Daily. "Has it backfired on him or her?"

You've had disagreements about it.

Last, but certainly not least, if you and your partner have had discussions about where you stand in the past, and they haven't gone over well, they might be afraid of telling you how they feel. "Has it been rocky?" Ettin asks. "Might your partner think you don't share the same feelings? Have you questioned your partner before or doubted the sincerity of his or her words?"

Saying "I love you" can be scary! It's totally normal to feel anxious about it. But it doesn't really matter who says it first. "Of course, you can, and should, say 'I love you' first if you're feeling it," Ettin says. "Beyond that, it's for your partner to work through his or her own hesitations around the phrase. And, depending on your love language, perhaps you're okay for a while with your partner expressing love in other ways." However "I love you" is said — or not said — is totally fine, as long as you're both comfortable with it.