How Long is Too Long to Wait for “I Love You”?

June 22, 2011  |  

How soon into a relationship should you and your man be throwing around the words, “I love you?”

During college, I was in a relationship with a guy for over a year and a half. We had been through hell and high water together–a vindictive ex of mine on campus, his constant acquisitions of female friends that unintentionally started drama–and like most men do in the beginning, he pursued me to no end to be his girlfriend. But once the relationship got going fast, things seemed to be moving a little too slow. Well, maybe just for me. That vindictive ex? He said “I love you” faster than those talking dolls from back in the day, and when he said it, we were just talking again after a break up, and had been doing so for maybe a month? It came out so fast that I didn’t feel it in return and wound up lying and saying it back, only to retract it like a jerk. With that experience in the bag, I think I just assumed as a young woman still learning about love, that it wouldn’t take too long or too much the next time around. Call me spoiled.

In my next relationship, after the emotionally pressed ex, I said “I love you” first, and it was probably the worst idea ever. I say that because once the words are said, the pressure is on. And not only on your man to say it back (and not that you’re literally pressuring him, he could just be feeling backed into a corner), but also on you to figure out which direction your relationship is going. But it’s hard to measure whether your relationship is going the success or failure route based on three words. When I told some of my female counterparts I hadn’t heard “I love you” once the relationship had been going past eight months, I felt like I was getting the pathetic face in return. But I’ve also heard several men say that while they may not say “I love you” as quickly as their women want, they believe they do things to show them that they do.

The Frisky did a piece on men’s outwards displays of “in love-ness,” and the list ranged from everything from sitting and waiting in store after store with you while you shop, to running late errands to retrieve the things you like and need. While that sounds all nice and dandy, a man that says “I love you” and shows he does is better than a man who doesn’t say it, and only claims he does through sitting in Aldo watching you shop or by simply picking up some late night Kotex. Wooow. Want a cookie?

In most cases, you should probably be straightforward with your feelings. Some might think you’re playing games if you find yourself in love, but wait on your mate to say it first. Saying “I love you” can be a nerve-wracking thing if you find yourself waiting an indefinite amount of time for a response other than, “thanks.” Womp. If you say it and months and months go by with no response, it can be a dig at your emotions. But hey, some women are strong and understanding enough to wait a while. Myself, I said it about six months or so into my relationship, and still not receiving the response I was looking for after the year mark (our one year anniversary was a mess), our relationship hit a steep decline from there. I saw and heard less from him. We argued more often. I became the parent trying to track down my child ripping and running the streets who preferred texting and Facebook chat to calling all of a sudden. Are you kidding? It became clear we had hit a wall–so I ended it halfway into the second year.

You shouldn’t have to set months or time limits on getting an “I love you” back, let it flow naturally, right? Especially since many men handle their feelings and emotions in a different, more hesitant manner. But would you really feel comfortable hitting, say, the eight or nine month mark, or even the year mark, with no declarations made? No sign of the kind with the “in love” attached instead of an “I love you” that feels like a friendly stance?  A man may think that means you’re looking to settle down too soon, but in many ways, it’s just a reassurance that you’re moving in the right direction. But like I always say, maybe it’s just me. So what do you think ladies?

How long is too long to wait for “I love you?”

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