There are a few worse things in a new relationship than hearing your boyfriend say, “I love you,” and then feeling confused about how to respond to this revelation (worse: not hearing it at all). Instead of giving your partner mixed messages or acting disingenuous, consider exploring the signs of why you may not be ready. Check out my top 5 signs of why you’re not ready to return the “love” just yet:
1. You Just Started Dating!
The title says it all. If you’re in a new relationship with no boundaries or direction established, then these words shouldn’t be used yet. However if you’re under the age of 20, I can make an exception. As an adult, you know what it truly feels like to be loved and what it feels like to love another. However, many of us are still confusing love with lust. Let me clarify, lust tends to be short-lived and is more of an immediate gratification. However, being in love doesn’t exclude lust. In fact, lust can lead to love. Real love is not based on idealization or projection, it requires time to get to know each other. Let your lust turn into a meaningful love. You’ll know and feel the difference.
2. You’re Not Over Your Ex
This should be obvious, but for some it’s not. If you still have feelings for an ex, you shouldn’t be dating anyone, nonetheless saying “I love you.” You need to be honest with yourself. Are you REALLY ready to put forth the same feelings your partner is? If you’re still unsure, don’t respond with words that were meant for another…
3. You’re Feeling The Pressure
If it feels even remotely like an obligation, you’re not ready. Saying, “I love you,” should send butterflies through your body, not pins and needles. Don’t let pressure put you in a position you’re not ready for. You’ll resent the relationship later.
4. Thinking About Saying It Freaks You Out
Normally, when you’re ready to say “I love you,” you WANT to say it. You think about it all the time and you can’t stop wondering if he/she feels the same way. On the other hand, if you’re not ready, the thought of it makes you panic. Make sure you listen to your gut….literally.
5. You’re Afraid To Open Up
When you’re ready to say those three little words, you’re not only comfortable with the relationship, but you’re comfortable with your own feelings. At this point in a relationship you’ve developed a bond that has surpassed casual dating. You’ve met your best friend. You now feel close enough to talk about anything! If this isn’t the case, and you’re still holding back, you’re not close enough to bring your relationship to the next level.
About the author: Ashley Kaylor is a professional matchmaker in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @ashley_kaylor!