How Do You Know When to Say I Love You?

how do you know when to say I love you

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Those three little words that we all long to hear from the man or woman we adore can mean the world, but if said at an inopportune time or under the wrong circumstances, “I love you” can be a dreaded statement that might cause confusion, embarrassment or even regret. So, how do you know when to say I love you?

When are the right times to say it,  and when is it best to keep that declaration to yourself?

Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to knowing when to say I love you:

• Do say it when you see your spouse do something that you admire, respect and/or adore.


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• Don’t say it out of obligation, or because he or she said it to you and you feel awkward not saying it back.

• Do say it after a fight.

• Don’t say it for the first time during sex.

• Do say it for the first time when you are fully clothed.

• Don’t say it when you’ve been drinking a lot.

• Do say it sober.



• Don’t say it too often or it loses its meaning.

• Don’t say it because you feel guilty about something.


Here are a few more tips about knowing when to say I love you and when not to:

Do say it on your spouse’s birthday.

Do say it when you see your spouse in an act of true kindness, or if you are proud of him or her.

Don’t say it in an attempt to get the person to forgive you. Instead, try, “I’m sorry.”

Do text it, just for nothing. There is, without question, no better text someone can receive.

Do say it to give your spouse confidence before a big interview or business meeting.

Do say it in front of your children. It makes them feel loved.

Don’t say it in a desperate attempt to keep the other person from ending the relationship.

Don’t say it just to get someone into bed.

Don’t say it to a lot of people. Isn’t it nicer to be able to say you’ve only said I love you to one or two or even a handful of people you’ve dated versus 28?

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Regardless of all these do’s and don’ts, saying I love you or keeping it to yourself is something only you, in your heart can decide. That said, there are a few words that sometimes mean so much more than I love you. See if any of these might be a better fit:


1. You’re my best friend.
2. You’re hot.
3. You bring out the best in me.
4. I’m sorry.
5. I trust you.
6. I really enjoy being with you.
7. I respect you.
8. My heart pounds when you’re in the room.

9. I’m proud of you.

10. You make me really happy.

Like this article? Check out “9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship”




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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

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