Should You Say I Love You First

The Dating Nerd is a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he is really, really good at dating. He’s been on more dates than you can shake a lengthy bar tab at, and he’s here to help the average guy step his dating game up a notch – or several.
The Question
Hi Dating Nerd,
I really want to say I love you to my girlfriend. We’ve been dating for three and a half months now, and the feelings she gives me – I know that’s love. I’ve never felt like this about anyone before, and I want to show it to her. But I’m worried I’ll screw it up or it’ll be a turn-off or something. Usually the woman says “I love you” first, no? Should I say it if she hasn’t? I think she might – she responds to all my texts and told me she wants us to be exclusive. I don’t desire to ruin this by bringing my feelings involved with it too early. What do I really do?
– Love Shy
The Answer
Hi Love Shy,
Yes. Go on and say “I really like you” first. Don’t be worried about it – it isn’t a big deal. You do not need an enchanting gift like flowers and chocolate, and you also don’t need a large amount of planning. It is possible to just blurt it out once the moment is right. It’s three words. You can certainly do this. You say at the very least three words continuously. Thinking about say these ones? Avoid being a coward.
Well, there are a number of arguments against my advice, that i will viciously defeat, each subsequently, because that’s my job – being right about your love life.
Some dudes are hesitant to state I really like you” before their partner does because they are taught that real men don’t show their emotions. That there surely is a particular magnetism in being truly a flinty-eyed stoic who reveals little. Mystery is conjured by an unsmiling, muscular male, and chicks dig mystery. Unless you give your affection out easy, the idea says, people will continue to work harder for the affection.
Is this true? Well, yes. Lots of people want affection and can work harder for yours in the event that you they don’t own it. Should this affect your choice to say I really like you?”
Definitely not. Because, really, who would like to live that way? Who would like to silently smother all their emotions so you may get yourself a small charisma boost? Presumably, if you are asking me this question, you are not an ice-veined introvert: You’re someone who’s making a dynamic effort to cover up their feelings, not somebody who doesn’t have most of them.
Imagine this nightmare scenario. You just had amazing sex with someone you could see spending your life with – a really, really good woman, a person who makes you want to stick around. Now you’re lying in her bedroom together. She’s propped up on her elbow, and her face is gently lit up by the streetlight shining through the window. The air smells like a mix of your favorite perfume and the nice bottle of Riesling you’re now drinking together, the glasses refreshingly cool in your hand. She’s looking at you expectantly as if she expects you to say something.
And you really want to – you really love her You’re sure of it.
So you keep your mouth shut so that you can win a few man points? Are you serious? If that’s being a real man, I don’t care for it. I’d rather be a fake man who says what he means.
Look, it’s totally possible that if you’re constantly thinking about how to maintain complicated power games in your relationships, you’ll be able to inspire a certain kind of servile devotion in people. But if you’re the type of guy who wants to spend his very existence carefully toying with the people who love him, then this is not the advice column for you. Not only does that lifestyle seem a little evil to me, it seems tiring, frankly. Who has the mental energy?
By the way, this can be a rule that applies to more or less any emotion that you experience in a relationship. If you’re feeling something strongly, you should probably just say it – not recklessly, but not shyly. Assertively. Otherwise you’ll just be a roiling bag of feelings at all times. Everyone gets angry at their girlfriends, because every girlfriend is annoying at some point. You’re presented with two choices: Air your grievances, or slowly let them corrode your soul until you hate your girlfriend, your life, and, well, everything. Or, in a different scenario, you’ll be filled with compliments that could her happy , because you don’t say a word, because that’s supposedly not what Men Do.
Moreover, if you act emotionless to get your way, you won’t be remembered by your exes as a great guy with whom things didn’t work out. You’ll be remembered as a manipulative jerk, because that’s what you were. This will be bad for your reputation. Again, if you want to go through life like that, fine. But it seems pretty silly to me.
You might offer another counter-argument: There are women who’ll be switched off by any spontaneous display of affection whatsoever – women for whom stony, masculine silence may be the ultimate turn-on. Yes. Which is really a minority, whom you almost certainly don’t desire to date, if you don’t enjoy projecting quiet scorn continuously. Nevertheless, you emailed me to inform me you intend to tell her. In order that tells me something there.
OK. Now counter-argument three is that she might let you know she doesn’t love you back. You may put your tender heart from the line and obtain it shattered.
And my reaction to this is simple. Just what exactly? You’re afraid that she doesn’t love you? Man up. Seriously. If you are at a stage in your dating life where you’re worried your partner doesn’t really like you, but you are not emotionally strong enough to risk ending the illusion that she might, your real problem is you are a baby. You need to want to know if you are coping with unrequited love, because it is a terrible place to maintain, and you should escape there. Men who labor in unrequited love have problems with back problems because their heads are constantly slumped in shame. Something unseemly probably happens with their testicles. (Disclaimer: I’m not a physician.)
Literally vast amounts of people everywhere have said I really like you” before, many before their partners did. Simple mathematics lets you know that many of the people went on to possess nice relationships, filled with houses, anniversaries, screaming small children. So just suck it up and take action.

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