No matter how strong your emotions are for the person you’ve been dating, it’s never easy to know when you should say ‘I love you’. Every relationship is different and just because you haven’t hit a certain milestone by a certain time doesn’t mean you should panic or see it as a red flag. But it is also good to know how things are progressing in your relationship because it helps you figure out what you want in a relationship. You don’t need to wait until he or she tells you that he or she loves you. If you’re in love, you want to let the other person know. But you need to wait until it’s time. Here are a few signs that’ll let you know when to say ‘I love you.’:

You’re Sure You Love the Other Person

If this special person is the first thing on your mind when you wake up, the last person on your mind when you go to sleep, and the person you think about the most throughout the day, you’ve probably wondered if you’re in love. Your mind and your heart may be in the wonderful first stage of being in love. But how can you be sure? Sometimes it can be helpful to wait for some time to pass to see whether the strength of your feelings has staying power. Healthy relationships can be tested by disagreements and the partners will continue to love each other. Before you tell someone you love them, it can be helpful to ask yourself if you feel confident in your feelings. This can make it easier to say. It can also be helpful to ask how you’d feel if your partner isn’t ready to say it back.

You Believe You’re Capable of Loving the Right Way

You should only say ‘I love you’ when you feel like you’re capable of loving properly. While some believe that there is always time for love, there are plenty of people who are so busy, they don’t make time for the relationship to work. If that is the case for you, don’t lie to yourself and make promises that you won’t keep. If you’ve found someone to love, you should make time for that person.

There are many factors that can hinder your ability to love the right way. Maybe time isn’t the issue; maybe you’re too young. Maybe you’re not physically young; maybe you’re emotionally immature. Before you say ‘I love you,’ you should be mature enough to truly appreciate a good thing when you see it. If you know in your gut that you love someone, don’t be afraid to say it. However, give love only if you can do it passionately and fully.

You Can Stick It Out, Even When the Going Gets Tough

Every relationship will go through times of challenge. Some relationships will be strengthened while others will be destroyed. Tough times may be as common as financial problems or the aftermath of a hurtful argument. Relationships may suffer as the result over the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. Whatever challenge you face, it’s important to remember that it is better to be prepared for tough times and not have them than to have tough times and not be prepared. If you can truly stick it out, even when the going gets tough, you’re probably ready to say ‘I love you.’

When You Trust Your Partner

Trust isn’t just given out of nowhere. When you first start dating a person, you build together. You and your partner will show each other how trustworthy you both are. And hopefully, after time, that certainty is formed and you can feel at ease being vulnerable with one another.

Usually, love doesn’t come until after you trust a person. By that time, you’ll be able to say those three little words without any doubts or second guessing. While we don’t know what might happen after, it is generally safer to say it to someone that you trust completely.

When Your Head is Clear

Aside from butterflies and hormones, there are other instances when your mind is too muddled to actually mean those words. When you’re feeling needy or ignored is not the right time to use those words to manipulate a response from the person you’re dating. It’s also not a good idea to use those words to make someone love you. Sorry, that only works in movies.

When You’re Not Afraid You’ll Scare the Other Person Away

There are some people that fall in love faster than others. When we find ourselves in love, we quickly move to convince ourselves that such a love must be reciprocated. Especially if the two of you are in what you believe to be a serious relationship. You may both be intimate, want to spend time with each other and very interested. However, that doesn’t mean you’re in love.

We all carry baggage, and sometimes that baggage slows us down. Sometimes, we want to be in love, but aren’t yet allowing ourselves. The worst part is when we don’t realize that we are the ones sabotaging things. The past relationship may define what a relationship is not supposed to be, but those memories can stick with us until we decide to let those things go. We can let go of the past pains without letting go of the lessons they brought with them. When you do this, you will less likely feel like you’re going to scare the other person away.

It’s important to be clear if saying ‘I love you’ is truly being expressed from your heart. Check in with yourself before you say those three little words. If you can promise to ride things out through sickness and in health, you’re ready to love. 

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