If Your Partner Hasn’t Said “I Love You,” & It’s Been A While, Here’s What To Do

So, you've been in a relationship for a while now, and your partner hasn’t said “I love you” yet. If you're waiting for them to say it before you (Been there! I know it's stressful!) but they just haven't, what do you do? Well, there's a simple answer, though it may feel like a challenge to you: Take the lead and say it first.

Here's the thing. You deserve to be in control of your love life, and what better way to take control than to be open, honest, and put your feelings out there? If you feel that love for your partner, you should feel good about saying it, no matter who says it first or when.

Now, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you just casually drop it into conversation. Before you say "I love you," you should make sure you really, sincerely mean it, and that the timing feels right for your relationship. (But honestly, you make the rules here!) And most important? Don't go into it with expectations for your partner to say it back immediately — make it about your feelings, not theirs.

If you're nervous about taking the leap, here's what you need to know.

Make Sure You Really Feel It

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Before you drop those three little words on your partner, take some time to reflect and think about your feelings and if you really mean it. If you're going to say it, you want it to be sincere, with the knowledge that you really want to commit to this person. After all, that's what you'd expect of your partner, right?

“[Your partner] should be disciplined in his love and his timing of saying 'I love you,'" dating coach and relationship expert John Keegan told Elite Daily. "He should say it only after he knows the he wants a deeper relationship with you.”

That means the same goes for you. Before you say "I love you," make sure you're ready, that you really feel like you know this person, and that the love you're feeling feels genuine.

There's Really No Set Time You Should Wait For

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While the majority of people tend to wait three months or more before telling their partner they love them, like I mentioned before, every relationship is different, and that means that saying "I love you" is a different experience for everyone, too. You and your partner are the ones who set the precedent for how you want your relationship to be, so there really aren't any rules! Basically, you should say it when you feel it and it feels real (again, this is key!) for you.

That said, you want to be careful that you don't say it so soon into the relationship. As Alessandra Conti, celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, told Elite Daily, "Love takes time to grow," so telling someone you love them after only a couple of weeks can signal that you actually love "the idea" of them.

It's also something to think about if you've been together for a very long time and it still hasn't been said.

“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,” Conti said.

Say It With No Expectations

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If you are ready to tell your partner you love them, make sure you don't do it with the expectation that they're going to say it back right away, or you might set yourself up to feel hurt. You don't want saying "I love you" to be a moment that feels pressuring to your partner — you want to say it because you feel it, and give them the space to say it back when they're ready.

"There's only one way to say 'I love you,'" professional life and love mentor Susan Winter told Elite Daily. "The only way to say 'I love you' is to own it, and just release it like a serve that you just hand off on a tennis court, right across the net. You've just got to say it, own it, and let it drop, and not wait for how they feel or [worry about] 'did they say it back?'"

Saying it this way is "the only way to be self-empowered," Winter said.

In the end, when you're putting your emotions out there, feeling empowered in the process is so important. And whether your partner responds right away or takes time to reciprocate doesn't really matter. What matters is that your relationship feels happy and healthy, and that you give yourself the space to say how you feel when you feel it.

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