Few moments early in a relationship are deliberated as much as saying ‘I love you’ for the first time.
The fundamental assumption behind saying it is - this is serious, we aren’t just dating anymore, we’re in love.
It becomes a sort of milestone to strive for, a certain validation stamped onto a couple to secure its legitimacy. So naturally, there can be pressure around the circumstances in which we say it and the time period in which it occurs.. or doesn’t.
Watch 'How do you know if you ACTUALLY love the person you're with?' Post continues below.
People anguish trying to curate the perfect conditions for the moment to occur. There are romantic portrayals in movies we want to live up to, our friend’s opinions on timings, and even gender norms we may subconsciously subscribe to when thinking about who should say it first.
On top of all this, there’s the risk involved too. What if our partner doesn’t feel the same way back and says the dreaded ‘thank you’ in response?!
What I’ve learnt from speaking to various women about this topic is that while most of us want it to be this artful declaration of love, so often it will end up being blurted out in the most unusual of times. It can be anti-climatic, clunky and unexpected.
And that’s wholly normal.
For me, love was felt far before it was said. Now I wish I had said it sooner because - as you’ll find out below - waiting for the 'right' moment didn’t really mean much in the end at all.
I now know that there’s no such thing as the correct time to say it, or a perfect way to deliver this rather romantic news.
…But just to double check that there’s absolutely no rhyme or reason when it comes to falling in love, I checked in with 16 women to see how their first ‘I love you’ moments went down.
"My boyfriend dropped the L-bomb pretty early on in our relationship, but I wasn't quite ready to say it yet. So I waited a little bit longer for the feelings to brew.
"Then we went on a camping trip and it was really romantic and I was like, 'THE TIME IS NOW'... so I told him I loved him on the final night of our trip. He was excited, said 'I love you too' and it was all very cute, until.... he casually let me know that I'd actually said it to him in my sleep two nights prior. Classic."