Ahhhhh...love. What do I do with it?
July 30, 2008 5:54 AM   Subscribe

Ahhhhh...love. What do I do with it?

I'm female, and we are both in our mid 20's and it's about 4 months (we see each other about 2 or 3 times a week) and I'm head over heels. He is all I want and more. I love the way he talks, walks and when he is all sweaty and stinky. And everytime I see him I feel like I might just faint. Hee hee. I cannot stop looking at him. I think about him all the time, even when I'm occupying my time to not think of him, he just pops back into my head. Oh and I sooo want to have his babies. This is all new to me. What do I do with this? I know people say give it time, to wait for that sixth month mark to say I love you and to wait for him to say it first, but I just want to jump in and do it already and when the time is right I will. I would really like to read more personal experiences or advice on saying "i love you", the reactions to "i love you" and how long it took you to realize you were and if it was ever to soon for your SO to hear it from you. Also what have you said to lead up to it. And what's that feeling between like and love?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
You shouldn't put a calendar restriction on "I love you" - I've said it within a week, and I've gone years without saying it. With that being said, if a guy told me "I want to have your babies" I would run. Hard and fast.
posted by banannafish at 6:03 AM on July 30, 2008


"I love you" is girl code for "I want to have your babies." Either that, or she's lying. Either way, guys often tend to bolt.

I suggest you make a little endurance game out of it for yourself - commit to not being the first one to utter the phrase. Let him do it. It will tell you a lot - and not just about him, but about how real your love really is, too.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:08 AM on July 30, 2008


The feeling between like and love is called infatuation. Also the poly crowd calls this phase "NRE" new relationship energy. I always liked that one.

Personally I would not be scared off if someone dropped the l word 4 months in.

Also... what's up earlier posters?--many men want to be fathers, I don't think it's necessarily correct to assume all men who are fathers got there via deception on a lady's part.
posted by shownomercy at 6:11 AM on July 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Awww I am soo envious of you.......The last time I said i love you I said it after 5 months in the relationship......I didnt say it consciously....It was really a freudian slip or something because we were in the middle of a conversation in regards to something else and I said it.....I didnt notice it but she did...she was like did you just say you loved me? and I am like did I? and she was like I love you too.....and i am like well since I already said it

sooooo having in mind that the only way I said i love you was by mistake i think the best way for you to go about this is to first make sure that he indeed does love you back... (you should be able to tell in fact that may be the very reason why you love him in the first place)......I would wait at least another more month...and if you want to lessen the impact you might go like "(insert name here) I think I am falling for you".....see what happens.....
posted by The1andonly at 6:24 AM on July 30, 2008


"I love you" is girl code for "I want to have your babies."

I'm pretty sure that when my wife first told me "I love you," it wasn't code for "I want to have your babies." Fourteen years later, she still says, "I love you," and she still doesn't want to have my babies, which is great by me, because I love her and I don't want to have her babies, either.

Anon, there's no specific right time to say "I love you," but I'm thinking that for you, the time is not now, because you've felt the need to ask about it online. Before saying it, you should have at least some idea of how your boyfriend is likely to react. I said it to my wife before she said it to me. When I said it, I wasn't sure whether or not she'd return the sentiment (for the record, she didn't right away -- it took her a couple of months). But I was sure that she wouldn't go, "Oh my GOD!" and run for the hills. By the time I said it to her, she pretty much knew how I felt, and I knew she knew.
posted by grumblebee at 6:28 AM on July 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


"I love you" is girl code for "I want to have your babies." Either that, or she's lying. Either way, guys often tend to bolt.

This has not been my experience, any of it.

grumblebee had a good comment in another "I love you" thread that I've always liked

"I love you" doesn't mean "I'll treat you well" or "I'll be faithful to you." It means "I love you." Tons of couples screw up because they endow the L phrase with so much power that they think once it's said, everything is magically different.

Don't get me wrong. Love is the most wonderful thing in the world. But it's not everything in the world.


Say it when you feel it.
posted by jessamyn at 6:29 AM on July 30, 2008 [14 favorites]


I'm female, and we are both in our mid 20's and it's about 4 months

Personally speaking, I've usually broken out the "I love you's" at about this time. 4-6 months sounds about average for my history with long term relationships.

Now that I'm in my mid 30s, the baby thing would freak me out only a little, and only send me running if she was dead serious about it (which I'm assuming you're not really... I mean, you feel like you would have his babies, but you're not actually planning to have children with him.. right?). However, in my early to mid 20s... I might've hit the sticks after 4 months and baby talk started.

That said... I must say I envy you... there is no feeling quite like NRE. I wish you and yours the best!
posted by Debaser626 at 6:30 AM on July 30, 2008


"I love you" is girl code for "I want to have your babies."

Bullshit. That's the most retarded thing I've heard all week and yes, I've read what Orson Scott Card has to say about gay marriage.

Also what have you said to lead up to it.

Ok, there was this girl that I loved like you love your SO. All very new feelings for me yet she was quite skittish about feelings or expressing herself or even having sex. But the love felt clean and pure, in the sense that I loved her and wanted the best for her, even if that meant she didn't want me. Of course I would be hurt by if she rejected me, but I'd be ok in the long run, knowing that I had expressed my feelings.

So, one fall morning, while we were in bed, I told her and said it was ok if she didn't love me, but that I loved her, no strings attached and listed all the qualities why I loved her (much like your list above). I pointedly said she didn't have to say or do anything because of what I was saying, but I just wanted her to know and I meant it. Her response was silence and then "ok," and while my heart did sink a bit, I was ok 'cause it felt like the right thing to do and say at that time. Eventually she did return the feeling and we had good times, but if she hadn't, at least I had told her.

That's how I would suggest you tell him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on July 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Four months is a perfectly reasonable first-ILY-time.

That said, keep the word babies out of it.

And go have fun! Don't overthink it. Just enjoy.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:41 AM on July 30, 2008


I was told "I love you" after -three days-. Of course I told him "you don't know me well enough", and of course I was right, and it took me a while longer to reciprocate. But now it's four years later, we still love each other, and we're getting married. The early "I love you" caused us no harm.

Not saying three days is advisable. (In any case it's probably easier for a man to get away with that than a woman.) But four months? Piece of cake -- go ahead and tell him how you feel!
posted by wyzewoman at 6:53 AM on July 30, 2008


You'll hear a lot of advice about waiting some arbitrary amount of time from men, but I'll preemptively contradict them. I'm a man and cheesy on the outside with another cheesy layer under that. "I love you" is awesome and would never scare me away in this situation.
posted by advicepig at 6:57 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


allkindsoftime: "I love you" is girl code for "I want to have your babies." Either that, or she's lying.

Wow... as a woman I find that statement remarkably offensive and inaccurate. I loved my ex boyfriend but I did not want his babies. I'm not sure I ever want children. And by that calculation, every woman that does not want children or is incapable of it must have been lying when they told their partners. By saying that you are exposing your own fear of commitment, so hows about you don't force that on other people and terrify the poor girl that her saying to her boyfriend that she loves him will run him off, okay?

I just can't get over the fact someone actually said that....



Anyway, I agree with pretty much everyone in saying that there is no set date when saying I love you is appropriate or weird or whatever. Only you know if it is too soon to say it. Ignoring what certain people have said above, some men I know like to hear it and take it as a huge compliment. Also, he may be feeling the same way but doesn't want to break out the L word incase it freaks YOU out. Basically, it is your call. Good luck though! Ain't love grand? :)
posted by gwenlister at 7:10 AM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been in and out of love for a decade now, as some trick of biology decided when puberty arrived I was going to spend my adult life quietly working with or around obsessive longings for one male or another. I've learned a few things, the most obvious that love, as a romantic infatuation, is a very selfish emotion that takes place in your head, and, if you don't be responsible about it, demands things of your loved one that are sometimes unreasonable. For example, when we say 'I love you' we often mean to ask 'Do you love me?', an acceptable question that becomes clothed in manipulation when 'I love you' turns into 'I love you, therefore you must love me.'

But yeah, enjoy it, too.
posted by Phalene at 7:15 AM on July 30, 2008 [20 favorites]


the most obvious that love, as a romantic infatuation, is a very selfish emotion that takes place in your head, and, if you don't be responsible about it, demands things of your loved one that are sometimes unreasonable. For example, when we say 'I love you' we often mean to ask 'Do you love me?', an acceptable question that becomes clothed in manipulation when 'I love you' turns into 'I love you, therefore you must love me.'

Very insightful.

I don't think 4 months is too early, especially for people in their 20s, but then again I wasn't really infatuated with MuddDude in this way until well after I realized I loved him.
posted by muddgirl at 7:36 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


For example, when we say 'I love you' we often mean to ask 'Do you love me?

I love this....

Call me lame, but that is probably the most insightful thing I've heard regarding this topic in fucking years.... *applauds*
posted by Debaser626 at 7:41 AM on July 30, 2008


Started dating my SO on a Friday night. The following Thursday, I said "I love you." He replied it was a good thing, because he was in love with me. :-D
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:15 AM on July 30, 2008


many men want to be fathers, I don't think it's necessarily correct to assume all men who are fathers got there via deception on a lady's part

Yes, absolutely. And even if they don't there's nothing wrong with saying "I love you" to someone - it isn't a guaranteed ticket to an inevitable "Walk Hard" future of constant squalling infants in a shotgun shack or something. There are a thousand little steps between "I love you" and babies and in most relationships, people don't take them all.

Anyway, I agree with those who say to be honest about this feeling once you are sure you're not acting out of simple infatuation. There's not much to be gained by sincerely feeling that way and not telling him, other than the sense that you're suppressing emotions you'd rather express, which is a lame way to begin a relationship. Of course, it may be that he does not, or does not yet, return the feeling, but that doesn't make it any less true that you feel that way, and it is information he will want to know as he considers the relationship, as well. It could be that he's delighted to hear it. It could be he will say "thank you, I might feel that way to but need more time," or it could be that he will say "I like you a lot but I don't really feel like it's love." A variety of responses is always possible.

But for those who are telling you not to say anything because he might'n R-U-N-N-O-F-T - you really don't need to listen to them, because they're basing their response on the fact that they're not ready to hear this from an SO. If there's one thing I wish I could go back and instruct my twenty-something self to do, it would be that when I'm ready for a more serious relationship, I should not waste time being with people who aren't, or who aren't that enthusiastic about being with me. If you feel that you're able to express your feelings of love in a genuine, calm, and giving way, instead of a rush of giddy gushiness, then you're probably ready to say it and you probably mean it. If he's not ready for that sort of relationship with you, that's information you want to know at this point. If he runs upon hearing that, well, you guys had different ideas about this relationship anyway. Better to find out before you pine away even more.
posted by Miko at 8:49 AM on July 30, 2008


I think you should just enjoy how you're feeling. Something tells me he can sense that you love him, I think people usually can. : ) Don't listen to bitter people - your exuberance sounds great, and there is nothing wrong with saying I love you, nor with having babies, and I agree with whoever pointed that you said you "wanted to make babies with him", not that you were going to run out tomorrow and get pregnant. There is a vast difference, and I'm sure he is capable of understanding that. When you love, respect and admire each other, it's natural to want to recreate. : ) I don't think it's "too soon" to say it, I think being sincere is what's important, i.e. it would be wrong to say it if you didn't mean it, but that's obviously not the case. : )
posted by Penelope at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2008


Wow... as a woman I find that statement remarkably offensive and inaccurate.

You know, I didn't mean it as offensive, but you're right, I labeled all of women with that statement and that was wrong. I'm sorry for that, I hope you can forgive me for my mistake.

That said, you are, as you pointed out, only *a* woman. I've dated more than one, and guess what, more than a couple of them were more interested in what I could provide than they were in who I was. They were interested in a ring, or yes, sometimes, even babies.

I'm glad we have such an open-minded and non-baby-wanting community here to tell me what a retard I am, but you people need to accept the fact that a lot of guys have in fact ran from relationships where they were smothered by a woman who was looking for more than the guy was ready to give. Don't try and label me as one insecure guy who can't commit, that's not the case and its every bit as offensive to me as what I said was to you.

This is a real consideration that the OP needs to consider. She shouldn't conceal her feelings, but that doesn't mean she should lay out every infatuated urge at his feet, either. Some mystery helps sometimes.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:14 AM on July 30, 2008


that doesn't mean she should lay out every infatuated urge at his feet, either. Some mystery helps sometimes.

Doesn't make sense. Are you saying that a woman is better off being in love with a man like yourself, spend a lot of time in a relationship with that man, and not being honest about her feelings for him, when he is not ready to reciprocate those feelings?

When men scurry because a woman they're with wants to commit, it's because they're not ready to commit to that woman, not because the woman is doing something wrong. It's not the woman's fault; they're in different places in life. There's absolutely nothing inappropriate about aspiring to marry or have children or have a more serious relationship, and of course there's nothing inappropriate about not wanting to do those things, or at least not right now. It goes the same way in the opposite direction. The suggestion that "women" are trying to "smother" men is definitely sexist. If you're in a relationship that's going faster than you want, it's up to you to negotiate a change. It certainly helps to do that when you know what the partner is thinking and feeling, doesn't it?
posted by Miko at 9:24 AM on July 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


[please take continued side discussion to email or metatalk if it doesn't address the OPs concern, and BrandonBlatcher, don't call people retards, okay?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:31 AM on July 30, 2008


Oh look it's the age old 'i apologize, but...'. Fun. Nothing in the OP's post implies that she is in love with this dude simply because she finds him a good sperm donor. "I want to have his babies" is not the same as "I need to have babies and this dude's good enough". You're missing some subtlety in your effort to complain about girls who you've dated.
posted by spicynuts at 9:32 AM on July 30, 2008


And what's that feeling between like and love?

Terrifying. In a good way. Like jumping off a cliff.

I was saying "I love you" in my head waaaay before I was saying it out loud. By the time I did, I was simply happily comfortable with the idea and it made sense to say it.
posted by desuetude at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


The suggestion that "women" are trying to "smother" men is definitely sexist. If you're in a relationship that's going faster than you want, it's up to you to negotiate a change. It certainly helps to do that when you know what the partner is thinking and feeling, doesn't it?

Agreed. If you love the dude, tell him. If that freaks him out, he'll either handle it in an adult, mature way, or he won't. Either way, you'll learn things worth knowing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's not something to be said lightly...say it when you feel like you'll explode if you don't.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:05 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Could you start singing the chorus of this song around him periodically as though you have it stuck in your head? You could test the waters. And you'd have a safety valve: "Oh it's just this song from Youtube." Okay maybe just sing it to yourself for some joyful release when he's not around.
posted by Askr at 10:29 AM on July 30, 2008


To add to the experience pile, my girlfriend (I'm also a laydee) said she loved me after about 8 months. She had been thinking it for awhile and was very nervous that I wouldn't return the sentiment but she went for it. It was adorable :-)

My girlfriend and I sort of worked up to it, saying things like "I adore you" and such. Maybe start with that and see how he responds? It might make you more comfortable taking the leap, which you seem to not totally be quite yet.
posted by lacedback at 11:00 AM on July 30, 2008


First things first: disregard any and all calendar-based advice when it comes to relationships. You shouldn't allow any other societal forces when it comes to gender roles in relationships sway your decision, either.

I would really like to read more personal experiences or advice on saying "i love you", the reactions to "i love you" and how long it took you to realize you were and if it was ever to soon for your SO to hear it from you.

The phrase "I love you" is something I probably over-value. I have never been the first person to say I love you in a relationship, and it's because I wait until I am bursting-at-the-seams in love with a person before I tell them so. This helps me figure out whether or not I am thinking of this person non-stop because I am stupidly in love with them, or if it's because this is new to my life and I'm just truly enjoying every bit of it (what we're calling New Relationship Energy in this post).

I'm not sure if what you're describing (in the post, anyway) is love Love LOVE or if it's NRE. Only you can decide that. What I can offer is this: when I'm in love, I know it. I know it with every fucking bit of me, and there is simply no room for input on the subject from a group of (awesome/smart/amazing) strangers online.

And what's that feeling between like and love?

Crazy. Scary. Amazing. If you find that you are not quite at love just yet, enjoy every second in this wonderful valley.
posted by littlelebowskiurbanachiever at 11:23 AM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you love the dude, tell him. If that freaks him out, he'll either handle it in an adult, mature way, or he won't. Either way, you'll learn things worth knowing.

TPS for the win. This is so, so true. Be true to yourself and respect your feelings, and respect him enough to let him deal with that as he will. For what it's worth, 15 years ago this November I told a girl I loved her after knowing her for about a week, she said she loved me too, and the lovin' ain't stopped yet. I still get butterflies when she walks into a room, and I'm pretty sure she's still head over heels for me, too.

What to do about all this love you are feeling? Set it free and enjoy it!
posted by Rock Steady at 11:31 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm, between me and my partner, he's the one who was out looking for a babymamma, anyone will do, even if I was the one whose hormones were screaming MAKE BABIES WITH THIS ONE, YES, THIS ONE RIGHT HERE.

I would just bust it out. Why wait for him to say it first?

Just don't say it right before you're about to bone, you probably won't end up getting laid due to the seriousness of the moment. Or, perhaps you will!

Good luck! And enjoy!
posted by sondrialiac at 11:41 AM on July 30, 2008


Tell him, but better in a moment you are certain is awash in love - singing late into the night, driving too fast under the flickering sodium lights, standing still as the ocean overcomes you.

Standing in line at the bank would not be a good place.
posted by plexi at 11:51 AM on July 30, 2008


If I thought about love at the beginning of my relationship the way I do now, some six and a half years in, I probably wouldn't have said it three weeks in, when she asked as a precursor to having sex for the first time. I was definitely infatuated, and was willing to say it, but it didn't mean the same thing that "I love you" means when I tell her now.

Ultimately, this is something that you kinda have to work out for yourself, because everyone and every relationship has different threshholds.

Oh, and though my girlfriend tells me that she loves me all the time, she's less interested in having babies than I am (and I'm kinda "meh" on the idea).
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 PM on July 30, 2008


Here's the thing. You are built to take care of these questions. The programming to sense the right time to spring this on him is hard-wired. The key is trust--you must trust that the programming is in you to know when to say it.

then say it when the time comes.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:38 PM on July 30, 2008


Standing in line at the bank would not be a good place.

I respectfully disagree. If I were a guy, and the girl I was dating were with me in line at the bank, and she suddenly put her arm around me apropos of nothing, looked at me, and said matter-of-factly "you know what? I just realized that I love you. Not just when we're being intimate, or when we're out on the town, or when we're cuddled on the couch watching a movie, but even right here, right now, standing in line at the bank." and put her head on my shoulder...well, maybe I'm strange, but I think that would be fan-fucking-tastic.
posted by davejay at 1:50 PM on July 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


Standing in line at the bank would not be a good place.

In fact, in keeping with what davejay has said, time/place matter somewhat. I don't know if it's me, or college guys, or whatever, but I had a string of serious-ish relationships where the first time a guy told me that he loved me was when we were in the throes of messing around and my response was always "that's great. tell me again when your clothes are on"

Not that it may not be a good time or a romantic time or a sexy time to tell someone that, but generally speaking (and speaking only for myself I guess) I think it's a better thing to hear for the first time if it sounds at least somewhat considered and not "oh that's just the passion talking"

Again, you feel it when you feel it and you say it when you want to, but if you're mindful about how it comes across as well as how it feels to you to say it, that's a data point to consider.
posted by jessamyn at 1:57 PM on July 30, 2008


I love my boyfriend. I don't want to have his babies. Or anyone's babies, really. But I said it (and it just popped out, at home, washing dishes) after two months (and it just had to do with good old fashioned love). It's only been five, but I still love him. The infatuation googly stuff has gone away, I no longer go gaga when I see him, but I still love him. Do what you feel, when you feel it, where you feel it.
posted by cachondeo45 at 2:18 PM on July 30, 2008


Depends.

Three weeks in, I freaked out and dumped the guy, because I felt totally different. A month later, one week in, he said 'I'm in love' and it was the most wonderful thing ever, because I was madly in love with him too.

Our 7th wedding anniversary is in december.

You're supposed to wait? What? News to me.
posted by ysabet at 4:13 PM on July 30, 2008


I've had pretty good luck with random stuff like "Do you still love me?" "You're so easy to love." etc.

Not as charged.

(me = guy, date girls. hot ones.)
posted by trevyn at 5:35 PM on July 30, 2008


Maybe it's just me, but I find i-love-you to be the most tired, hackneyed, overworn, banal piece of nothing in history.

It's like a grubby old dollar note that's done the rounds of a million and one sweaty hands, been dropped at a fair, walked all over by a thousand careless soles, put through the wash a half dozen times, used to snort a fat line of coke or two, been crumpled up & thrown in petulance more than a handful of times, and had some drunken stranger scrawl upon it an illegible number for a hookup that never eventuated.

On the other hand, what you wrote in your question has at least fifty-seven varieties of awesome: I'm head over heels. He is all I want and more. I love the way he talks, walks and when he is all sweaty and stinky. And everytime I see him I feel like I might just faint. Hee hee. I cannot stop looking at him. I think about him all the time, even when I'm occupying my time to not think of him, he just pops back into my head. Oh and I sooo want to have his babies. This is all new to me.

If I were your SO, that's something I'd be loving to hear. But effusiveness like that is not the only way. A former girlfriend of mine would get a funny look in her eyes -

Me: "What's up with you? Why are you looking at me like that?"
She: "Oh, I'm just having a wonderment rush!"

This also worked nicely.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:19 PM on July 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


See also the responses in this oldie but goodie.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:28 PM on July 30, 2008


I told my girlfriend that I loved her less than two weeks into a relationship. We had known each other for a while, chatting by email and so on. Still together over 8 years later, and she teases me about it occasionally, but we both know it was genuine!
posted by tomble at 10:06 PM on July 30, 2008


You follow your instincts, your gut feeling. You just know it. It's in the way he/she smells, the way he/she looks, they way he/she looks at you, the things he/she says. There really is not a logical explanation. You just know. And sometimes you're wrong. Take a chance.
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:28 PM on July 30, 2008


I've been with my girl for about a year now. We did the ILY thing at month two.

Nobody was weirded out, and things are still generally awesome.

Hopefully he's not an uptight prick, but a genuine and kind fellow, and will appreciate the sentiment, and even return it.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 2:46 PM on August 1, 2008


I'm female, and we are both in our mid 20's and it's about 4 months (we see each other about 2 or 3 times a week) and I'm head over heels. He is all I want and more. I love the way he talks, walks and when he is all sweaty and stinky. And everytime I see him I feel like I might just faint. Hee hee. I cannot stop looking at him. I think about him all the time, even when I'm occupying my time to not think of him, he just pops back into my head. Oh and I sooo want to have his babies. This is all new to me. What do I do with this?

Call it what it is-- desire and lust-- and give it some time to settle. You haven't said a single thing here that gives me, at least, any sort of idea about what kind of person he is, or what qualities you "love" in him, besides his extra good smelling pheromone laden sweat.

I've been there. It isn't love.
posted by jokeefe at 3:10 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


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