I told my boyfriend that I love him three months into our dating and he didn’t say it back. I thought I was fine with that and just accepted that he wasn’t there yet. Also, maybe three months is too quick anyways? Every now and again, usually after a few drinks, I would say it again and he would just give me a kiss or a smile. He would acknowledge it, but he wouldn’t say it back. Jump to one year from the first date we went on. We went out to dinner and then he told me he loves me. At first I was very excited to finally hear him say it, but then it sort of hit me that he waited a year. I don’t know what to think about that. I asked him why he waited so long and he said, “I just wanted to wait a year. I figured that was enough time to know.” I’m really confused by this answer. Part of me is really happy that he finally said it but another part of me feels like maybe he was just waiting for some arbitrary time point and it has nothing to do with how he actually feels. Should I just be happy that he finally said it? I feel like I sort of ruined the moment and excitement of finally hearing it by second guessing it.
Thank you for the question- it actually hits very close to home for me as I’ve been in a very similar situation. What do we do when someone is waiting for a sign of something that is set for a different time point than we are? This could happen at so many different points in a relationships, not just “I love you”. These times might include moving in together, getting married, or having sex. People have different time frames and it can be really important to figure out if you’re on the same page, especially for large life decisions. However, these things are a bit different than what you’re asking because you’re asking about something emotional and something that is generally a prelude to all the other things.
What it sounds like you’re asking is if it’s possible that someone can have a predetermined time for when they say “I love you” and still have it mean the same thing? And, drum roll please… I’m not sure! It’s complicated. It’s possible that he was waiting for a time period because he thought that was the appropriate time to wait, he could have felt it for a long time but wanted to wait until one year, or he could not feel it but thinks he has to say it. I don’t think you’re wrong to wonder about his reasoning and I think you’re totally within your rights to ask him. But, I think you should ask in a way that is totally non-judgmental and comes from you being curious.
Not only is there a question here for him, but also one for you. Why do you need to hear it? There are a lot of different ways someone can show you they love you without it having to be through saying these words to you. I entirely understand the want to hear them, but do you have to have them? Are there other ways he shows you that he cares? Do those actions speak louder than the words? I entirely agree that yeah, it’s nice to hear. But why do you HAVE to hear them?