- When To Say I Love You For The First Time, According To Experts
- When is the right time to say I love you?
- Should you say it first?
- What is the best way to say I love you?
- Is there ever a wrong time to say I love you?
- What do you do if they don't say it back?
- How to Defeat Your Insecurities and Tell Someone You Love Them
- How Insecurities Blocked Me From Telling Someone How I Truly Felt
- How to Find the Courage to Tell Someone You Love Them
- 1. Break up with your ego
- 2. Stop playing telepath
- 3. Leave your mind; enter the moment
- 4. Let your heart speak; let your ego be vulnerable
- 5. Remember, no matter what, you will be okay
- If I Can Do It, I Know You Can
- 10 Reasons You Should Say
- Have something to say? Tweet the
- Finding the Courage to Say
- Are You Afraid to Say
- Finding the Courage to Say I Love You
When To Say I Love You For The First Time, According To Experts
Noah and Allie. Chuck and Blair. Harry and Sally. What have they all taught us? That love is pretty d*mn complicated. And not just in the movies. Saying “I love you” to someone IRL is an incredibly hard thing to do, especially when you're saying it for the first time.
So much is going through your head. There's the fear of rejection—that the person you're saying it to doesn't feel the same way.
There's the fear that you're not going to say it right. Or that you'll say it too soon.
And of course, there's the fear that when you're face-to-face with that special someone, you won't be able to say it at all (**cough,** Chuck Bass).
But there is some good news when it comes to declaring your love. “The way everyone falls in love is unique and there’s no right or wrong way to do it,” says WH advisor and licensed psychologist “Dr. Chloe” Carmichael, PhD. But there are a few caveats to consider. Here's everything you need to know about saying “I love you” for the first time.
When is the right time to say I love you?
“I don't think saying 'I love you' means a lifetime commitment, but the statement is serious,” say Irina Firstein, LCSW. So you might want to do a self check-in to make sure now is the right time for you.
“Love is not a binary switch where you decide, bam! Now we’re in love.”
For many women, saying those three words requires a certain level of depth in their feelings, Dr. Chloe says. “Love is not a binary switch where you decide, bam! Now we're in love.”
The right time is usually when there's been clear signs of reciprocity. No one wants to blurt out those three words without the slightest clue if your partner will say them back. But even if you aren't entirely positive that they will, you should at least be sure that your relationship has been moving at a mutually satisfying pace, and that real feelings are there.
That's why Rebecca Hendrix, LMFT, recommends first anticipating what these words mean for both you and your partner. Saying “I love you” could just mean “I think you are great” to one person, and “I am feeling so full of love for you and I hope you will be in my life for a very long time” to another, she says.
“Before you utter these words, try to make sure you know where they are coming from inside of you and try to imagine what these words might mean to your person,” Hendrix says.
If you aren't sure what you're feeling is actually love (versus lust or attachment or infatuation/obsession), Firstein has a good pulse check: “It's when the feeling of care and tenderness is persistent and not just situational.”
Hendrix adds: “You are ready to say these words when your relationship has moved from the magical fairy dust stage into a real partnership, where you see both the good and challenging aspects of each other and love each other more for both.” That's where you're coming from? Great…onward.
Should you say it first?
“Someone has to say it first,” Firstein says. So don't feel intimidated if you've been waiting for your partner to say those three little words. It's possible that they are having the same hesitation you are, not because they don't feel it, but because they want to know if you do first.
“Love is a beautiful feeling, and if you feel it and have thought it through, share it! Even in the off chance your partner isn’t ready to say it back, it is still a beautiful sentiment to receive,” Hendrix says.
What is the best way to say I love you?
“The best way to say I love you is the way that is best for you and your partner,” Hendrix says. And how exactly are you supposed to figure that out? Two words: love language.
In case you've been living under a love-deprived rock, you probably have heard of Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages, who created a test for couples to learn how they each show and receive love.
The languages include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts (yes, please!), quality time, and physical touch.
But when it comes to saying “I love you” for the first time, the general consensus is definitely to say it (not just show it).
“For many women, it’s important that their partner speak the words to them first because it's important to hear an escalation of the relationship,” Dr. Chloe says. But she also tells her clients who are worried about rejection that it's okay to couch the phrase a bit.
“Talk about it and articulate it, but in a way that gives you a little bit of a buffer,” Dr. Chloe says. Instead of saying “I love you,” you might want to say, “I’m noticing that my feelings are getting deeper. I feel I'm on the edge and I could open up and start to fall in love.”
This slightly milder, less bare-it-all approach gives you an opportunity to learn whether or not this relationship and your partner has the capacity for love.
“Love is a process,” Dr. Chloe says. “It should be a collaborative process of learning together and talking about your feelings deepening gradually and finding that it's happening for you mutually.” (At least, that's the ideal situation…)
Hendrix recommends adding in some words that further define what those feelings mean to you, to avoid any misunderstandings.
“If it is a romantic declaration of a deeper level of caring, then you may want to follow up with some words , ‘I feel so deeply for you and can’t imagine you not in my life,'” she says. “If it’s more of letting the person know you think they are special, you may follow up with words ‘I adore you and think you are a really special person.'”
Is there ever a wrong time to say I love you?
So I don't want to scare you and tell you that there's a wrong time to say “I love you,” but yes, there's a wrong time to say “I love you.” Or at least, there are some scenarios when it can come off as more of a red flag than a red-hot heart.
- Saying it too soon: “In a romantic way, saying I love you for the first time is usually something that is said when you both know each other well and are falling in love with each other and plan to make a long-term go at your relationship,” Hendrix says. “Saying this too soon may disrespect the love you are building and send a message that you don’t know how to ‘do’ relationships—or that you might not know the difference between love and lust.” Eek.
- Saying it during sex or while drunk: Declaring your love during sex is normal, Dr. Chloe says, considering how passionate and intimate the moment is. So it shouldn't necessarily be seen as a bad thing. But “saying it in a sexual situation naturally raises questions,” Firstein says, mostly because it's not their, uh, clearest-minded moment. And Hendrix agrees: “If someone says they love you for the first time during sex or when they are drunk [or in some other way impaired], you might not take it seriously any more than you would if your friend told you she was going to move to Paris after she had four glasses of rosé,” Hendrix says. “It doesn’t mean she won’t be moving to Paris, it just means you want to reconfirm that this is true the next day!”
- Saying it only over text message: “If a lot of your relationship takes place over text, maybe you share your sentiments via text,” Hendrix says. The problem becomes when your partner is unwilling to say those three words outside of texting.
“That's when you need to have a conversation and ask in a compassionate, nonaccusatory way why they don't feel comfortable saying 'I love you' in person,” Dr. Chloe says. Some people struggle with the verbalization of it (perhaps it wasn't said often in their childhood home), so if it bothers you, have a mature chat about it.
What do you do if they don't say it back?
“There is not much to do,” Firstein says.”It usually means that the other person either does not feel same or wants to be sure they feel same.” It's not necessarily bad news, she says. If the other person isn't completely sure they feel the same way, sometimes they just need time to process and really understand their feelings. (That's always a good thing.)
On the other hand, if they're certain that they “can't get there with you” as Bachelor Nation would say, “acknowledge yourself for having the courage to say 'I love you' and for being someone who can not only feel this intense emotion, but also share it,” Hendrix says. That's hugely commendable.
If you have found yourself in the middle of unrequited love, Dr. Chloe urges you to “ask yourself how you became so open to someone who didn’t reciprocate, and ask if there were signs along the way that you just kind of ignored.” Combing through this can help you avoid getting overly attached to someone who hasn't done the same with you, to prevent unnecessary pain in the future.
In the end, “the wound of unrequited love is often a self-healing wound,” and you'll be just fine. Remember that you deserve someone who wants you the way you want them and loves you the way you love them, and nothing less than that will do.
And in moments of struggle? Grab that pint of vegan ice cream, watch your favorite rom-com, and move on. Just don't forget to say I love you to the person who needs to hear it most: you.
How to Defeat Your Insecurities and Tell Someone You Love Them
“Our own ego judges us, so we become afraid of self-awareness. If it’s not puffing us up to look better than others, it’s tearing us down—anything to block us from feeling at one with reality and who we are.” ~Beth Maynard Green
Have you ever had insecurities stand in your way?
Have you ever felt afraid to tell someone how you feel?
Have you ever felt someone could never love you the same way you love them?
We all have insecurities that hold us back in our professional life, our social life, and most of all, our love life. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot.
As someone with a serious physical disability who is basically a quadriplegic, I have often told myself I am not complete.
I’ve told myself I’m not enough, that I’m not good enough or strong enough. I’ve told myself that other people are not interested in knowing me or that they have already made all sorts of judgments about me.
Through my self-criticism, I’m actually imposing my self-image on other people, assuming they see me the same way I see myself. That way, I have an excuse to refrain from being vulnerable because I already made their minds up for them. I don’t have to open myself up and see what they actually think. I have an excuse not to take chances.
So, in a twisted sort of way, I’m actually feeding my ego while also “protecting” it from any actual feedback that I could learn from. Also, I’m missing out on the possibility that I could reach out and make a meaningful connection because maybe my self-criticism is off base.
How Insecurities Blocked Me From Telling Someone How I Truly Felt
I remember struggling with insecurity when I met a girl in college. She was beautiful and talkative, and I was an attentive listener. She d to tell stories, and I loved to listen to her slightly British-sounding Caribbean accent.
She was energetic and outgoing while I was more laid back and introverted. Our temperaments complemented one another. We hit it off right away.
I really d her, and I felt she might me too, but my insecurities kept getting in the way. In my mind, she could never me the way I d her.
We spoke on the phone late into the night and spent every moment we could together. But we were just friends.
So I talked around the issue. I poked at it from one direction and prodded at it from the other. I did everything I could to avoid being the first to say something really dangerous, to avoid showing my true feelings.
My subtlety was without compare; my hints were so obscure that even I wasn’t sure what I was talking about. She never suspected a thing.
Eventually, my ego got tired of protecting me from the terrible fate it knew would result. I decided to try something different.
I got up the courage to let her know how I felt about her, and she reciprocated. The feeling was unbelievable. She was my first and only real girlfriend.
From then on, the world would feel a profoundly altered place. For the last twenty years, she’s been a constant reminder that my ego has no idea what it’s talking about!
How to Find the Courage to Tell Someone You Love Them
As someone with a physical disability that leaves me dependent on others, I’m no stranger to insecurity. I’ve told myself all sorts of stories about how unworthy I am.
If I can find my way past negative self-talk, anyone can. Allow me to share some ideas that helped me along the way.
1. Break up with your ego
Often, when we accuse someone of having a big ego, we mean that they are overly confident. But sometimes we can be overly confident about what we think reality actually is.
I took a while to learn this, and I’m still learning this every day, but the ego is a double-edged sword. It can make you feel great about yourself, and also terrible.
What the ego loves to do is tell stories about reality; it s to believe that it has everything figured out.
We think we know exactly where we stand, exactly the way it is that people perceive us. Sometimes it’s easier to “know” we will fail than it is to actually try and risk embarrassment.
It’s time to challenge our assumptions and burst the ego’s bubble.
2. Stop playing telepath
When we attribute thoughts or motives to others, this is often just our own insecurities. This mental chatter can even be randomness. Thousands of thoughts go through our heads throughout the day, many of which we ignore as inconsequential or even nonsensical.
You’re doing yourself and the other person a disservice by trying to read their thoughts through a cloud of your own insecurity.
I did this a lot with her facial expressions and intonation. I was reading her all over the board, convincing myself that she was everything from madly in love with me to pitying me and using me as a charity case.
This sort of thing can drive you crazy, and at some point, I knew I had to stop because it was destroying my ability to be genuine. If I’m not being myself, pursuing a real relationship with anyone, let alone someone I have real feelings for, is pointless.
3. Leave your mind; enter the moment
When you want to tell someone you love them, you want to feel fully in tune with them. If for some reason you decide that the other person doesn’t feel the same way, you want that decision to be that person’s actual behavior, not some random doubt on your behalf.
As an introverted person, my ability to project my own insecurities on the world is strong. I have to make a conscious effort to focus on what is actually happening in the interaction.
This can sometimes be done with a mini mindfulness exercise. Just focus on the sights, smells, and sounds in your immediate vicinity. Most importantly, focus on the other person and what they’re saying, not what you’re saying to yourself in your head.
4. Let your heart speak; let your ego be vulnerable
Keep it real, but accept there are no guarantees. If you’re nervous, show it, or even say it. If you’re not sure how to say how you feel, it’s okay to say so and take a moment to figure it out.
If you’ve known this person long enough to feel you’re ready to share intimate feelings, they probably you enough to allow you the time to gather your thoughts. If not, this probably isn’t the time to broach the subject.
In my case, I can remember stumbling over several different versions of what I wanted to say before settling on one that seemed appropriate. It’s been a long time, so I don’t remember exactly what I said, but the words will be different for everyone, and, honestly, they don’t matter so much as the authenticity of the feelings behind them.
5. Remember, no matter what, you will be okay
When it comes to love, we often stop ourselves because we fear the consequences we’ve dreamed up. “What if I ask someone on a date and they say no?” But the truth is that, whatever the consequences, we have the capacity to move on.
Living your life in fear is far worse, never knowing how it feels to take a risk on love.
When you accept the idea that you will be okay despite any social consequences, you will act with far more freedom — which is invaluable in areas even beyond romance. Because fear of social consequences can cripple us in so many different ways, from making friends to career advancement.
If I Can Do It, I Know You Can
I know you’re thinking that you don’t have the courage to tell that special person what you’re truly feeling, but I believe in you. If I can do it, I know anyone can.
See yourself taking that first step and feeling the relief of being open and honest for the first time. Envision the smiling face of that other person in response to the heartfelt words you’ve shared.
Picture the newfound confidence you’ll feel because you were rewarded for your bravery and authenticity. Imagine the new life that is ahead of you, a life shared with someone you care about.
This reality could await you if you would just abandon your self-criticism and the insecurity, and open yourself up to true possibility.
You’re probably telling yourself that this sounds unly. I know this because I’ve told myself the same thing, but I know from experience that the negative self-talk is a lie more often than not.
Take the first step, and follow the principles I outlined above.
A beautiful new romance is waiting for you.
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10 Reasons You Should Say
For some people, putting feelings into words isn’t an easy thing to do. Saying ‘I love you’ is always an emotional risk, and that takes courage, but chances are, it’ll be more than worth it.
Communication is important.
One of the most important things you need for a successful relationship is the ability to openly communicate with each other. If you can’t talk to your significant other about your feelings, who can you talk to?
People can’t read your mind.
After you’ve been together awhile, it starts to feel you can intuitively pick up each other’s moods and thoughts. But realistically, you have no way of knowing what someone is really thinking. The only way to make sure someone knows you love them is to tell them.
It makes people feel good.
Seriously, who doesn’t hearing they’re loved? Even if you know without a doubt that certain people love you, it’s still nice to know someone cares enough to say it out loud.
It will make you feel good.
Whether you’ve been holding it in for awhile, or you’ve just realized how you feel, saying those words will be a relief. You’ll get it all out in the open, and then be able to go from there. Keeping your emotions, good or bad, inside isn’t healthy for anyone, so do yourself a favor and get them off your chest.
It will make you face reality.
Telling someone you love them and not getting the response you want is devastating. But at the same time, it’s necessary. Denial will just hold you back, so choosing to go through the hard part now means you can start getting over it sooner rather than later.
You might regret not saying it.
Sometimes when you keep doubting yourself and waiting for the exact right moment, you miss your chance. If you can’t be open about how you feel, you could lose them, only to realize you really were in love, but you just couldn’t muster up the strength to let them know.
It will help you sort through your own emotions.
It’s not always super obvious that you’re in love with someone. Sometimes it sneaks up on you, and you don’t fully realize it until you say it out loud. Obviously you shouldn’t say it to someone until you’re sure, but if you’re starting to think about it, that’s a good first step.
It will put other things in context.
Generally, actions speak louder than words. How you treat someone is a much better indicator of how you feel about them than what you say, but at the same time, those three little words have a way of confirming what has been implied all along— that you’re definitely in love.
It probably means you’re in it for the long haul.
Most people don’t say ‘I love you’ unless they plan on sticking around. If you’re willing to be vulnerable enough to say it, that means you trust this person not to hurt you, and that’s a huge part of a healthy relationship as well.
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Courtney Hardwick By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to Bolde.com, contributes regularly to AmongMen.ca, Complex.ca and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on @courtooo
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Finding the Courage to Say
How do you say “I love you!” to someone when you are scared? Perhaps you grew up in a home where hearing “I love you” was a rare occurrence. Or maybe you once told someone you loved them and you were rejected.
Having your heart broken, especially when you are feeling vulnerable, can make it hard to muster up the courage to tell someone else you love them, no matter how wonderful the relationship is. If saying “I love you” is hard for you, you are not alone.
I'd to share some thoughts on how to let someone you care about really know how you feel. I hope they can help you open up the way you communicate with each other.
Is your fear of saying I love you building a wall between you and someone special?
“I love you” is one of the most exhilarating, confusing and amazing things one person can say to another.
Even when people are in love, or are in the process of falling in love, finding the courage to say “I love you” to another person is hard for some people.
There are many ways to enjoy strong emotional bonds with your intimate partner, even when saying the words I love you is hard for you.
For many people, the fear of saying “I love you” too soon in a relationship is very real.
You may be anxious that if you say “I love you,” your boyfriend or girlfriend might get scared and pull away. Some people worry that if tell someone they love them, the object of their love and affection may not love them back.
Perhaps you grew up in a home where hearing “I love you” was a rare occurrence. Or maybe you once told someone you loved them and you were rejected. Having your heart broken, especially when you are feeling vulnerable can make it hard to muster up the courage to tell someone else you love them, no matter how wonderful the relationship is.
If you’re experiencing a dramatic change in your life, such as the end of a long-term relationship or the beginning of a new romance, finding the courage to say “I love you” to someone new can be scary.
On the other hand, taking a courageous leap of faith and saying I love you, even when you are scared, can be incredibly satisfying.
You may find out that the other person as just waiting for you to make the first move! It could be the beginning of something new and amazing!
Are words the only way to communicate with someone or are there other ways to express how you feel when you can't find the right words?
Thankfully, the answer to that question is 'yes.' Relationship experts and researchers have found that are many ways to enjoy strong emotional bonds with your intimate partner, even when saying the words I love you is difficult.
Do something for your loved one without being asked. Anytime that you can relieve someone's mental load, you are showing that you care.
Be kind and respectful to others. Demonstrate you have good manners not just towards the person you love but towards other people as well.
Find out what makes your loved one feel safe and go about providing those things. What is safety? It's more than just having deadbolts on the door.
Safety is the feeling you get when you know you are not being judged by someone you are opening up to.
Safety is knowing that your deepest fears and secrets will never be shared with others or used against you to humiliate or embarrass you.
Listen attentively. This is one of the best wordless ways to say “I love you” because if you are focused and fully present and giving your loved on the attention he or she needs from you, the need to rush in and fill the space with words won't be as strong.
Create something for your loved one. Handmade gifts, drawings, food, or jewellry that you made yourself can be given as a way to let your partner know you care.
Research the meaning of love symbols in different cultures. Share what you've learned with your partner. If a symbol is involved in a ritual or ceremony, such as the giving of Welsh Love Spoons between lovers, try out that activity as wordless way to say “I love you!”
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
— Ann Landers
The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to show love as long as you are sincere.
If your loving acts and gestures are authentic, then they are just as valuable as saying “I love you!” And if you are 100% sincere when you say I love you, then your words could be just as powerful as your actions! The most important thing is the way you express love is safe, kind, generous and healthy.
If you don't carve out one-to-one time to spend with your partner, it doesn't really matter how often you say “I love you.”
If you are struggling to find the courage to say “I love you!” to someone you care deeply about and who you know, in your heart, deserves to know your true feelings, ask yourself if you can live with the consequences of not expressing yourself. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. No one knows what the future holds. If fate were to suddenly step in and separate the two of you, how would you feel about not having shared your true feelings of love?
Are You Afraid to Say
Source: Evgeniy Zhukov/Shutterstock
When was the first time you said to someone out loud, “I love you?” When was the first time someone said it to you? The moment might be as memorable as your first kiss. Some of us, however, have tremendous difficulty voicing this sentiment aloud. What are some of the reasons we hesitate?
Fear of Commitment
Some people put a lot of power into the three words, “I love you” and are not ready to promise something they are afraid to give.
The more weight that is put on these words by the partner of someone who is “commitment-phobic,” the less ly it is you will hear them tripping the commitment-phobe’s mouth. Love may be present, but fear of commitment keeps it from being voiced.
Why do people fear commitment? By making a choice, any other options are then excluded, and that lack of options can be fear-inducing and too limiting, regardless of the love one might actually feel for their partner.
Fear of Appearing Needy
Admitting love, for some, is to admit that they need another person in their life. It is almost giving away power if they admit that they are vulnerable to another.
Fear of Rejection
Of course, one of the strongest fears that keeps us from saying what is in our heart is the fear of our feelings not being returned. Love is a seesaw: It’s easy to begin with one person caring more for another at the start, but a balance of give-and-take is what gives the relationship momentum.
Fear of the Potential of Being Hurt
Being in love with a person is almost having an open space in your heart.
The saying about “having a soft spot” for someone is wonderfully descriptive: When we let ourselves open up to another, we take away a layer of self-protection, and that allows us to be more easily hurt.
Having your ego bruised by someone you have that “soft spot” for can be much more painful than when it’s someone less special to you.
Missing Role Models?
Maybe you haven’t seen tenderness expressed often between partners, families, and close friends. Maybe you haven’t been told often enough that you were loved. Or maybe you grew up in a family where the “currency of love” was actions, not just those three words.
What Is Your Currency of Love?
If successful relationships are built on relational economics, it makes sense that different systems might use different currencies. In fact, accepting that not everyone can put into words what they feel in their hearts is perhaps not as difficult as it might be once you figure out what a person uses as their currency of love.
Some people use a substitute phrase to fill in the awkward space after being told “I love you.” It may be “Me, too,” or “Back ‘atcha,” or “You know.
” Some people might even initiate the exchange of sentiments by telling their beloved, “Me, too,” and their partner may know the drill and respond, “I love you, too.
” Some might use a word “bunches” or “forever” to carry the message. All of these words are various denominations of the currency of love.
Actions as Currency
Others might use actions to demonstrate their love. I know a couple who have a tacit agreement that is never broken, which exemplifies their mutual care. One partner always gases up the cars on Sundays, regardless of whether they’re on “empty” or “full,” while his partner changes the sheets and towels while he’s out on this errand. This is another denomination of the currency of love.
Being willing to go grocery shopping with your partner, if asked, is a way to show your heart. Being willing to go fishing with your partner might be another way to do the same.
Throwing her clothes into the wash when she’s had a long week and has fallen asleep on the couch or ordering his favorite take-out when you want to let him know how much you care are others. Letting your partner leave the cap off the toothpaste and never saying a word is another way to add capital to the relationship.
Biting your tongue when your partner tells the same story a second and third time expecting the same “initial reaction” from you again and again is a way to show you care.
Some of us might still write love letters, but maybe “love Post-its” are all you can manage.
Maybe intimate and affectionate texts are the currency you use? Whether it’s paper, plastic, sound waves, or radio signals, the most important thing to remember is that the value of a relationship cannot grow if couples are hesitant to take a risk and make an investment. Letting go of the fear and allowing yourself to take a risk can pay off in big ways.
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Finding the Courage to Say I Love You
For the past 5 or so years I have been on and off with this boy. We have never officially been boyfriend and girlfriend though. We would talk we were, text constantly, and went on dates. The first time this ended he ended up dating someone else so I moved on. Once we were both single again, years later, we ended up right back where we were.
That lasted for about 8 or 9 months. During that time period he went to school in another country for 6 months. When he came back things were great, we went on a date, and then after a month things slowly faded away. We didn’t talk we used to, we were just friends. It has been at least 2 years since we were more than friends. Neither of us dated much.
In the back of my head I always thought that the two of us would end up together. These feelings stopped me from being in a relationship with someone I really d. Now he is in a serious relationship and I don’t know how to move on. For the past 5 years he has also been one of my best friends.
Do I have to stop talking to him completely to move on? How can I start this process?
You just might have to stop talking with him—not forever, but not for two weeks either. And here’s why: you love him.
And because you love him, you need to separate from him in order to gain the perspective only separation can give you.
Regular contact, even just “as friends,” is ly to keep you stuck, emotionally speaking, which will make it difficult for your heart to be open to loving someone else.
There is a second option, but it’s not for the faint of heart. If he is not engaged or married, then perhaps you can go out on a limb and finally tell this person how you feel….really feel.
It strikes me as unusual that the two of you have been doing this dance for five years, yet the question, “so what is this?” never came up.
I suspect that you may have been hesitant to express your true feelings, because doing so would have forced a resolve, and when we fear hearing “I don’t feel the same…” we tend to avoid those important conversations and hope for the best.
Going silent regarding our romantic feelings hardly ever gets us where we want to be (a caveat here: if you have romantic feelings for someone who is already married/committed to someone else, then going silent on those feelings is the way to go).
Starting as friends, discovering the attraction, acting on that attraction, and moving more deeply into intimacy is a natural process that doesn’t need to be spoken about per se, but once there has been sexual intimacy, both should be in a position to talk about the “graduated” involvement.
If not, someone is usually left holding on and hoping for more.
I don’t have a sense of just how intimate your relationship was, but a good rule of thumb is that if you’re ready for sex with someone, then you need to be ready for open-hearted engagement, which includes the honest expression of feelings.
If I were you—if I loved someone but never told that person—I’d tell. It’s hard, really hard, but what do you have to lose? There is no shame in loving someone who does not reciprocate those feelings.
If he shares that he didn’t/doesn’t feel the same, you will be hurt, yes, but you will also feel incredibly empowered by your courage to let love lead rather than fear—that sort of courage will wash over you, make you even more beautiful, and strengthen you as you go about mending your heart.
Closure is necessary for all of us, but there is no genuine closure where things are left unsaid.
And remember, there is mystery to this love thing. Our soul recognizes the other soul who will edge us into our wholeness, our healing, our purpose…if his soul isn’t saying “yes,” then the truth is, he is not the one, and least not right now.