What We Say When We Talk About Love Should You Say "I Love You" First?

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Should You Say "I Love You" First?

Have you ever tried to tell a guy “I love you”? If so, you have plenty of company. And I’m not just referring to saying “I love you” for the first time—even when you’ve been with a guy for years, even if you’re married. We want to hear these three little words so badly that we become vulnerable and insecure when He doesn’t say them.

For example, this happened to my husband of 20 years recently. Yes, two decades and I still run into the same problems! why Because men will always be men and we will always be women, no matter how committed we are to each other.

Just an innocent phrase, right?

So my husband was gone for a while to see his family and I was feeling especially vulnerable and missing him. When he called, we had a nice talk, but I knew he wasn’t saying “I love you.” And I really wanted to hear it – badly. So I spoke first. And he just went on talking about things. I felt angry and neglected until I couldn’t take it and told him so. Then he told me he loved me, and I knew he meant it, but I felt like I forced him to say it.

Here’s the first lesson of this story: Never say “I love you” unless you’re positive you expect nothing in return. Of course, that never happens because it’s impossible not to notice that the guy doesn’t say anything back.

New “I Love You” script

Instead of hearing it and saying “I love you” in return, I could have expressed my feelings to him in a non-judgmental, non-judgmental way. So here’s what I did the next time he called: I told him how weird it all felt, and that I didn’t want him to feel obligated to tell me he loved me, but it was so sad when he didn’t. And then I asked him what he thought. Here’s the gist: you express feelings (I felt weird), then you say whatever you don’t want (he doesn’t feel obligated), and then I ask him what he thinks.

The reason it works so well is because men appreciate it when you’re vulnerable about your feelings without blaming them, you tell them what you don’t want, and then you give him a chance to settle.

When I did this, my husband said I felt no obligation. This is the second lesson in this story. Guess what – men don’t feel obligated! It’s a “feminine” thing that we’ve been taught and fed and made to feel guilty about. And I realized at that moment that I was making something out of nothing.

Changing the old script

And here’s lesson number three: even though I’ve been practicing my own tools for connecting with a man’s heart for so many years, I’m stuck in old habits and need to remind myself to lean back and let Him lead the relationship. I need to focus on the most important person – ME – so that whether he says I love you or not is completely irrelevant to my happiness.

So take this to heart: we’re all human and we all need to practice shedding old habits and replacing them with new, more productive ones. Be aware of your old habits that make you think that his telling you “I love you” is like a magic potion that will make you feel completely safe.

Don’t say “I love you” first

Yes, we must open our hearts first. Always. You should be like an open book whose pages you are – flying free for everyone to see. Colorful and black and white, and empty too.

If I had said, “I’m noticing that I’ve been waiting for you to say “I love you”. It feels really weird after being with you for so long…” It would have been different. It would have opened my book.

But, instead – I sought a higher spiritual plane where it didn’t “matter” that I spoke first. And I find that I phrased it as a “trick”.

So – find your tricks – start noticing them when you want them. Over time, you’ll need them less and your heart will be freer to be grateful for his spontaneity when he first says “I love you.” And this, after all, makes you feel a lot safer than if you had forced him out.

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