It’s remarkable how three little words can totally transform your relationship. Not only can saying “I love you” make you feel a newly strengthened sense of security and attachment, but it can also suggest a new level of seriousness and commitment in your relationship as well, affecting everything from how much time you spend together to your text interactions. If you're wondering how texting changes when you say "I love you," know that it ultimately depends on a number of factors — like how that first exchange went with your partner, how comfortable you both are with saying ILY, and your overall feelings about the way the relationship is going. Regardless, according to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, your digital interactions are bound to be different.
“Once the L word is out, things change,” she tells Elite Daily. “There is an implied commitment. That’s why timing is important — if you said 'I love you' too soon, you’re going to give the impression that you’re impulsive, or you say this to people all the time, and it’s a cheap phrase with little meaning for you. But if you give that three-word sentence some value, and treat it specially, it’s going to propel the relationship up a level.”
Naturally, the hope is that your texting will change for the better after you say “I love you.” But what if it doesn’t? Masini says that if your partner becomes less responsive in general over text, there’s a chance that your boo is subconsciously distancing themselves because they can't quite reciprocate your feelings — yet, that is. Keep in mind that this definitely doesn’t mean they won’t eventually reach a place where they can honestly say they feel the same way, of course. But if they aren’t on the same page right now, they might feel a tad awkward, which might explain why they're pulling away slightly over text.
Alternatively, you may find that your texting has ramped up since you uttered those three little words — especially if your boo said them back. Wheres previously, you and bae might have only been texting once or twice a day, now there's a good chance you'll find yourself checking in a lot more. You may even find yourself looking for little excuses to connect, whether by sending your partner a LOL-worthy meme or just a quick message to say they’re on your mind (with a couple kiss face emojis for effect, of course). If this is the case, then it’s safe to say that saying ILY has only strengthened your bond, and as a result, elevated your intimacy and communication — including over text. Masini notes that you shouldn’t be surprised if your relationship starts advancing even further.
“Hearing the L word, and seeing it in your texts may cause your partner to start looking for real estate the two of you can move into!” she adds. “Or, they may start setting up a dinner to meet the parents and double dates with best friends.”
Obviously, if you and bae have both already dropped the L word, then you’ll probably start saying it over text, too. Because expressing your love is like a pack of Pringles, folks — "once you pop, the fun don’t stop" (you’re welcome for that oh so romantic simile). You may find that you can’t stop saying it, especially if you’ve been feeling those feels for a while and were simply too scared to make them known. Texting “I love you” is a great way to reinforce the sentiment you’ve already said out loud — and who doesn’t like to have a little written reminder of their partner’s feelings?
“Texting the L word in a sentence creates security,” says Masini. “Many couples find that texting the L word is a nice way to practice affection within the relationship.”
Apparently, however, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Masini cautions against overdoing it when it comes to saying “I love you,” as it can start to make the phrase feel less valuable.
“Reminding someone that you love them by texting can be a nice way to gift someone emotionally,” she says. “You just don’t want to cheapen the sentiment or the phrase, so don’t use it frivolously.”
And BTW, texting “I love you” may be a nice addendum to saying it in person, but it’s certainly no replacement.
“Texting is great, but it’s not what you should rely on to convey feelings,” adds Masini. “What you do and say to each other in person is the most important thing in the relationship. When you’re together, what you say is supported by your body language, the nuances in your communication, and so much more than what you can convey with written words.”
So remember, no matter how many times you text ILY to your boo, it’s still important to utter those words out loud here and there, too. Without a doubt, hearing you say them in person will always beat simply reading them on a phone screen.
Whether you know it or not, your texting is bound to change after you muster up the courage to say those three little words. Saying “I love you” is a major relationship milestone and one that can definitely boost your closeness, as well as your excitement and investment in the relationship. Surely, that will impact the way you communicate on a day to day basis. But as long as you and bae are in the same boat about your feelings, dropping the L word will likely only make your texting more frequent and affectionate (#FTW).