I have a theory that the amount of time spent entering into a relationship is directly proportional to the overall length of said relationship. This is, of course, completely nonscientific data based on a few friends' relationships that I've witnessed get serious faster than Kylie got preggers and then implode moments later. (Plus Romeo and Juliet.) This theory would lead me to posit that saying "I love you" early on is a big fat red flag, and that no matter how big your feelings are a month into a relationship, you should probably shut your trap.
However, as a human woman whose feelings evolve at the pace of LA traffic, I don't totally trust my theory. Saying "I love you" to my family is super normal for me; saying "I love you" to a gentleman caller is not. (What can I say, that's just effed-up hand of cards my life experience has dealt me.) For others, saying "I love you" in a relationship is totally normal, while familial stuff is a bit more complicated. (Wow, guys! We really are all unique individuals!)
As one who is admittedly unqualified to determine if a month is an appropriate amount of time to date before saying "I love you," I instead spoke to dating and relationship expert Meredith Golden to gather her opinion on the matter Here's what she said:
It Depends On How Much Time You've Spent Together
This is a great point. You can be "dating" someone for a month, but with your busy schedules, maybe you've only seen each other once a week. This pacing amounts to a whopping four dates. So like... 15 hours-ish? Somehow, no matter how "meant to be" you might feel, I can't help but think that saying "I love you" after hanging out for less hours than there are in a day is a terrible idea.
"[One month is] not too soon if you spend every single day together for an entire month," says Golden. "That's long enough to fall in love and to verbally express it." So basically, if you've done a relationship "Whole 30" for the month, just do it. But what if you miss a few days here and there? A month is a long time.
My initial thought is: I don't know of anyone who's spent every single day together the entire first month of their relationship, and maybe that's the point. My unsolicited opinion is that if you have 30 days in a row to spend with your new boo, maybe there are other parts of your life that are lacking? But love is love, and stranger things have happened, so the 30-day rule seems like a good one.
It Depends If Your Partner Is On The Same Page
And, I mean, are they even your "official" partner after one month? (Sorry for all of the opinions, but a month is super short in my tortoise-like dating life.) A lot of feelings come up within the first month of dating someone new, and one of them could definitely be love. However, how would you feel if your partner didn't reciprocate the love, or freaked out?
"In general, whoever says it first is in a vulnerable position," explains Golden. "If you know that you are loved, it’s easier to reciprocate the sentiment." So, basically, if your partner has told you they love you after a month and you definitely love them too because you in one of those crazy, whirlwind, once in a lifetime things, say the goddamn words! (I'm having anxiety just imagining doing this, but I'm proud of you.)
You Have To Trust Your Gut
Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know. We've all heard this one before. My gut, riddled with bad habits, would tell me not to say "I love you," even months in, even if my partner has already said those three little words to me. So what even is our gut feeling? Isn't it always littered with our old habits?
I think trusting your gut means examining it, and then acting it. If you find yourself constantly falling in love and saying "I love you" first, only to have relationships blow up in your face, maybe don't follow that impulse the next time you meet someone you really like. On the other hand, if you're a scaredy cat like me, examine your fear around saying "I love you."
"Ultimately, you know when it feels right," says Golden. "If you see yourself having a future with someone, the relationship is healthy, communication is easy, chemistry is stellar, and you’re monogamous, all signs point to a happy, healthy, and committed relationship warranting the three words."
At the end of the day — or, month — every relationship is different. You've heard it all before because it's true: No two peoples' bond is exactly like the bond between two other humans on earth. When deciding if a month is too early to say "I love you," I think you need to ask yourself three things: "Do I want to say it?" then, "Will I regret saying?" and finally, "How upset will I be if my partner doesn't say it back to me?"
I am sure there are beautiful relationships out there that evolved extremely rapidly, with "I love you" being said even earlier than a month in, but I also think it's very important to protect your heart, at least a little bit. Maybe try writing "I love you" down on a paper or doodling "Mrs. [Insert Partner's Last Name Here]" on a notebook before saying the words out loud. Maybe you're really in love, or maybe you're just feeling all of those f*cking awesome butterflies we get when we first fall someone.
All things said: You do you.
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