He Said I Love You, I’m Not Ready to Say it Back


Sent via our form:

“What do you say to a man when he says I love you….

But you’re not ready to say it back  / don’t want to say it yet?”


Mr. In a Relationship SEE BIO NOW>

I would imagine this would make for an awkward moment. General concept—never tell someone you love them unless you really mean it (or you are never going to see them again, in that case what the hell). There will be repercussions, and you’ll have to backtrack, lie or argue your way out of that.

If you aren’t ready but you are okay with the guy saying it, tell him that while you are touched by the sentiment and you care a lot about him, you just aren’t ready to take that step yet. If you aren’t comfortable and you are totally freaked out by it, get outta dodge.

Mr. Sensitive and Scientific SEE BIO NOW>

Umm, awkward silence? Hug him so tightly that he can’t speak? The thing about love is that nobody can tell you you’re in love or not in love, you just know. He knows he’s in love and you aren’t there yet. I think honesty is the best policy, which is that you should tell him you don’t feel that way yet. The trouble is that people in love don’t listen to logic, they’re acting emotionally. Even if you give him lots of verbal signals and explanations, his emotional base won’t change. Don’t expect him to leave when you say you’re not ready. Chances are strong that he’s going to stick around and try to wait for you to “fall in love” with him. Sadly, I think chances are that you will not.

Why? The emotional core of a person tends to drive people, and then the brain rationalizes emotional decisions. When I’ve told people that I loved them, one of two things happened (1) the words “I love you too” literally burst out of their mouths, or (2) silence. Every single relationship I’ve had where the girl responded with silence ended in tears (mine). She may have been connected to me for friendship, lust, whatever, but her heart knew I wasn’t the right guy. It just took a while for her mind to figure it out.

Likewise, when a girl has told me she loved me, and I said I wasn’t ready, it meant that subconsciously I wasn’t ever going to be ready, but I enjoyed the comfort of the relationship. Emotional bases are pent up in the mind, so if he mustered the courage to say I love you, he’s probably been feeling it for a while. You have not. You’re probably enjoying the companionship and there may be plenty of reasons for you to stay, but if you’re not ready, I’d ask yourself deeply whether it’s that you’re not ready to say it now, or you’re not ready to say it to him.

Mr. Loves Boys Too SEE BIO NOW>

You slap him as hard as you can across the face and say, “I cannot believe you just said I smell like Olive Juice! Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners?” Between the harsh slap and the mis-quote, he’ll likely not say that again for a while. Okay, that might be a bit of a strong reaction.

Really, I think that honesty is the best policy. You can say something like, “I appreciate your feelings and I’m excited that you feel that way. I’m not a person who throws the word ‘love’ around meaninglessly. I think that things are moving in the right direction for us, but I’m not quite ready to make the jump from like to love just yet.” Of course, if you’ve been dating the guy for eight months, maybe it’s time to either commit or move on. Now, should he make this proclamation on one knee with a ring in his hand, you’ve got bigger issues. At that point, you may need to revert back to the “Olive Juice” approach…or say yes and live happily ever after.

Mr. Noncommittal SEE BIO NOW>

For better or worse, I have almost never said I love you first. You’re really putting yourself out on a limb by doing that. In my opinion, the signs that the “both of you” are in love with each other should be blindingly obvious. Too many people sling “I love you” around with no mind of whether or not they really feel that way.

If for some reason I said “I love you” and the girl didn’t feel the same, I would want her to be honest. Is she just not there yet? Is she not feeling it? Does she want to break up? That statement is a quick road to a more serious step…or the end. But keep in mind that if you think you might get there, tread lightly—guys are much more fragile than you might think. Some men have been known to turn into jerks when they see that what they are feeling isn’t being returned. The key is, if you don’t feel it, don’t say it.

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think? What would you do in this situation? Has this ever happened to you? Do you usually say “I love you” first or wait?

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Post a Comment
  • Tim Smith:

    I am a senior and have told my woman friend that I had feelings for her after about 3 1/2 months. She kissed me and said “thank you”. We have a great time together and have many things in common, maybe almost like really good friends or even siblings, but there IS this deeper feeling I have. I know I’m in love and finally told her so after about another 6-7 weeks. I got the most wonderful hug, a specially sensuous kiss, and another thank you. I’m old fashioned, I am not trying to just get into her pants and actually thought of explaining that to her. I have told her there is no rush, we should continue to enjoy each other’s company, and I hope in time she’ll respond in kind. I am uneasy now with continuing to say I love you, but I do and still tell her I do. Really Hoping I’m not scaring her off by continuing to tell her. Should I back off a little? A Lot? Thanks, Tim ( I know, no boys allowed but I would love another woman’s point of view.)

  • Gina:

    He told me he loved me and that I was the one O_O after only a few months. I didn’t feel the same way being it had only been a few months and I was honest with him. He was pretty upset and got pretty angry so it ended. Sad thing is I might have felt the same way if we would have had more time together because I missed him when we didn’t see each other and I did have feelings for him, I just was not “in love” yet but he was in a rush and i wasn’t.

  • Unknown:

    well, he love me but actually i don`t have any kind of feelings for him
    he said “i love you..and i want to continue this relationship but i want to know about your feelings?” ..i don`t like saying “i don’t love you” in front of him…i want another way to tell him…

  • Unknown:

    i’ve been told this ! someone told me : i love u ! but i’ve got many reasons not to take this step ! one of the reasons is that i can’t know my feelings about him ! i don’t know if i love him or i like him ! it’s ssomething new for me ! so i want help :/

  • KristinA:

    This happened to me only in reverse. I said “I love you”. And he said “I know”…. Totally awkward. I didn’t even know how to respond to that so I never said it again.

    1. Unknown:

      i said : “i knw” to someone who said : “i love u”
      If this person has my same thoughts ,he will let the time decide it’s good 4 both of u ! just let the time decide ! maybe he’s gonna love u sm day

  • Grace Taylor:

    I would recommend taking your retainer out before telling your significant other that you love him or her because you could be easily misunderstood. that happened to me and he never talked to me again. for a while I thought it was just because he wasn’t ready for that level of relationship yet, but then I realized he must have misunderstood my intentions due to my oral device. he probably thought I said ‘you smell like olive juice.’ don’t let this happen to you.

  • Liv:

    The guy I liked said I love u twice now. I like him A LOT but, I’m the type of person that doesn’t just throw that word around… I don’t want him 2 think I dont like him but, I don’t want to say it quite yet. I still don’t know what 2 do…

    1. Unknown:

      Just like my case ! i really don’t want to lose him , i don’t knw if i like him a lot i don’t know but i just like everything he does 2 me ! i really don’t wanna lose him

  • chicabrat:

    I know how the guy must feel to some degree. I have been getting mixed messages for over a year. He told me loved me when I was gone for 4 days then took it back after a couple of days. We have been there for each other for almost 2 years and he does not want me to leave at all. Says he will miss me terrible, but I want a commitment and need to leave because I don’t think I will gwt one. Do u like being with him? Does he make you feel complete? If not then if u can stay friends you may need to leave.

  • Gina:

    I think the words -I love you- should not be said until the partner shows their love in lots of non-verbal ways first and for a period of time in the relationship. (and when i say non-verbal, im not talking about s3x). That way, when the love is creatively expressed, then it can be felt by the partner when the actual words are said. The partner on receiving end should already “feel” the love. The receiver ideally should have the time in relationship to reciprocate and express the love back in a non verbal creative way too.

  • Meagan:

    Thank you guys for the tips! My guy just now took this step and I’m flabbergasted to say the least. This is the first web page I pulled up from google and Mr Loves Boys Too really hit the nail on its head (so to speak). Amazing and honest advice from everyone but i had to give a special shout out to Mr Love! Thanks!

  • Cristin:

    My boyfriend is the type of guy who holds his feelings pretty close. He has never told a girl that he loves her. He told me he wasn’t even sure he ever would say it to someone. He doesn’t even say it to his mother. And I was A OK with that.

    But then he had to go and change the game.

    He looked into my eyes for a solid 30 seconds, which is pushing it with a girl like me- someone who struggles to hold eye contact for the specific reason of hiding emotion- and said, “I love you.”

    I wanted to vomit. Not because I don’t care about him, but because it was the last thing I expected to hear from his mouth.

    Our relationship was built on this acknowledgement that “love” probably wasn’t a word that would ever enter our vocabulary. That was basically set in stone and I had rationalized with myself that as long as he showed his affection I would never actually need that word.

    So when he said it I said, “I don’t know what to say.”

    I will disagree with the guys that said that if you aren’t ready to say I love you as soon as your partner does you will probably never love them. There are circumstances and situations that dictate that sort of thing. I am almost certain that I love this boy; this ridiculous, wonderful boy who does things that drive me crazy yet I enjoy every moment. But because it was so unexpected I really need time to figure out how to say it as more than a knee jerk reaction.

  • coupondeals143:

    LOVE is a very strong word YOU should ONLY say it if you really MEAN IT!!!

  • nevaeh2272005:

    only say it if you meen it

  • owensfamily520:

    i agree with just about everyone else ONLY say it if you truly mean it. But make sure that everything is out in the open between the two of you. you know talk to eachother.

  • melmel95:

    say it if you mean it

  • avatar
    Roxie D:

    I said it first, on New Years… no better way than start the new year off by being honest, right?! He didn’t just say it back, he YELLED it back and then everyone started clapping :) We are lucky enough to still be in love, but if you don’t feel it when he tells you… BE HONEST, like all the guys said. If you don’t think you will ever feel it, NOW is the time to get out. Or just let him know that it takes you a little longer to open up your heart.

  • melnescobar:

    I was always the first to say it usually of course being the fem and falling so quickly at least within 6 months to a year but this last one said it to me first and I said it back right away… Why? Because I couldn’t get my nerves together to say it first to this one. I felt it for a long time and just couldn’t spit it out. He did and now we are still committed to eachother 2 months is our 1 year anniversary of actually being a known couple. For me the time just keeps ticking :)

  • Nyxxy:

    most of the guys I’ve dated have said it first. Upon hearing that, I usually just kiss them after the declaration..

  • avatar

    I agree with pennntas!

  • Sanriobaby =^.^=:

    You should only say “I Love You” only if you really mean it, otherwise you’re a jerk for lying. Better to be honest about your feelings upfront then lying about it b/c no one wants to be lied to about something so serious.


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