How soon can you tell someone you love them?

How soon can you tell someone you love them? I don’t think you can love someone if you don’t know enough of them to love. You can love what you’ve seen so far, but it’s hard to tell if you love all that they are if you haven’t had the time to get to know them yet.

That said, when you and another person have been sharing stories from your lives, and talking about what matters most for almost 2 weeks straight, it’s hard to feel like you don’t already know a lot about who they are. I’m also highly aware that NRE can play a massive part in those feelings, and can rush them. Guess I’m just curious what others think, and trying to keep myself realistic.

-How Soon Is Now?

I don’t use the word ‘love’ lightly, particularly romantic love. It means a lot to me.

As to when to say it, that’s the interesting question. Yes, trading stories and opinions and developing emotional intimacy with another person is a lovely process – and as you have stated, NRE plays a massive role. In what you describe as your current NRE, including taking up so much of each others’ lives right now, it’s difficult to tell what the person and relationship would be like in ‘real life’ when all the demands of normalcy kick in.

In early-stage NRE, as much room as possible is being made for the two of you while other things in both of your lives get pushed aside. I don’t trust myself in this type of NRE you describe (I see NRE as having levels) and don’t allow myself to make any major decisions while under its influence, including telling the person I love them. I might think it, but don’t say it. I need to see how WE operate in the context of life and particularly how we interact socially with others, since that’s a big part of my life. It’s at that point I can verbalize whether I love someone romantically in that they might become a partner. I need to see the opinions and stories in action – and I believe that takes time. Leon, what’s your take?

I really like the observation that you can love what you know of someone early on, but it’s not a full picture since you don’t really know them well. This is true. However, the underlying question isn’t whether you know a person well, it’s whether you love them. And your love has nothing to do with how much you truly know a person. It needn’t even have anything to do with reality.

Love is how YOU feel. It exists – or not – completely inside your own head. Even when you’re “in love” with someone, it’s STILL all inside your head, including your conviction the other loves you back the same way. You can easily love someone without knowing them well. All you need to do is like them more than just “liking” them.

But “how soon can you tell someone you love them?” You can love someone all you want but the act of saying “I love you” has a lot of symbolism attached, probably more than any other statement you’re likely to make in your entire life. Hearing it when it’s not welcome can be damaging to the health of any relationship, largely because there’s so much social baggage associated with being perceived as clingy, vulnerable, and/or emotional. As a result I believe it should be spoken cautiously for the first time, not because of its truth but because of its symbolic impact. I’m usually a huge fan of radical honesty, but with symbolism it’s likely safer to “hint” at it, or edge closer to it in conversation, until you feel confident your partner is ready to hear it, no matter how much or little time has gone by. Then go for it. It’s wonderful to love someone, exponentially so when your love is shared and reciprocated.

My short answer is, you should be open to saying it once you feel it, no matter when that happens. But time it tactfully.