Telling someone you love them for the first time -- especially if they haven't already said it -- can be nerve wracking. In new relationships, it can often be difficult to tell if you're really in love with this person or if you just think you are because you're infatuated with them. The trick is to understand your true feelings and what those feelings actually mean to you. Once you're clear about your feelings, only then should you share them with your partner. Here are some tips to help you do it with ease and confidence.
What Is Love?
First of all, let's talk about what love is and what it isn't. These are just my opinions and yours may differ.
- Love is not a relationship status or a label.
- Loving someone is accepting someone for who they are, not who they may become.
- Love is not taken or earned; it is given freely without expectation of anything in return.
- Being in love should feel freeing rather than restricting.
- Love for another person means wanting them to be truly happy.
- Love has no boundaries and no limits.
So, before you decide to say "I Love You," make sure that you truly understand what love means to you. That way when you tell your partner that you love them, you can also tell them what that really means to you and open a dialog for them to discover what it means to them as well. Just keep in mind that it may mean something completely different to your partner and that's OK. I'm sure you'll find some common ground where you both feel comfortable.
Sharing Feelings Of Love
If you have special feelings for your partner -- whether it's true love or simply the joy of being around them -- it can be a relief to share your feelings with your partner out loud. It's also nice to know that someone else has special feelings for you, even if you haven't spoken about your feelings first. While it can be scary to put your feelings out in the open like that without assurance that your partner feels the same way, I say go ahead and take the risk. Just don't make a big production out of it.
The trick is to keep it casual and relaxed. Introduce the word "love" into your relationship gradually. Say things like "I love when you do that," "I love the way I feel when we're together," or "I love being your girlfriend." That way your partner will get used to hearing the word as it refers to your relationship -- before you drop the big "I Love You".
Do They Have To Say It Back?
Part of the awkwardness of saying "I Love You" to someone that they may feel pressured to say it back when they haven't truly explored their feelings about you yet. It's important to let your partner know that just because you've shared your feelings, it doesn't mean they have to say "I love you" back or share their feelings at all until they are ready to do so.
Make it clear that you're simply putting it out there. Most people hear "I love you" and think that now they have to be in a committed relationship and they're chained down. Let your partner know that's not the case -- you're not defining the relationship or discussing "where you stand" or trying to put a label on your relationship at all. You're simply sharing your feelings. Nothing more. Nothing less. No Expectations.
Show Your Love
One of the best ways to let your partner know that you love them is to show them in addition to telling them. Or you can show them instead of telling them, if you're really nervous that telling your partner that you love them out loud will make things too awkward.
Remember, actions do speak louder than words in most cases, so you can really make a statement if you just do little things that let them know you care. For some it's a kind word or holding hands. For others it's picking up their favorite snack when you're at the store or bringing them coffee in morning. Find out how your partner likes to be loved and then do those things.
In the end, the choice of when and how you proclaim your love to your partner is up to you, but if you follow your heart and these simple tips, you'll be able to express your feelings of love with ease and confidence.
Jennifer Hunt & Dan Baritchi are the founders of Ask Dan & Jennifer, Today's #1 Love & Sex Resource. Connect with them on AskDanAndJennifer.com, become a fan of Dan & Jennifer on Facebook and follow Dan & Jennifer on Twitter.