When To Say “I Love You”
Commenter MoChnk recently asked a complicated question:
How long does it take until you say to a woman “I love you”? Do you always wait until she says it first? What if she falls in love with you and says it but you don’t love her? Do you just smile and don’t answer? How do you handle such situations?
This “I love you” stuff is one of the most complicated issues for men. I’ve had to deal with it myself, including recently. Few things in life are this wonderful and dangerous at the same time.
The good news is that being in love with a woman is a wonderful thing that will make you very happy. It can connect you with someone in ways that border on spiritual. Happiness is the most important thing in life, and love (which don’t forget is simply a chemical reaction in your brain conducive to pair bonding) is one of the key components of happiness.
The bad news, and there’s a lot of it, is that for most men, love equals oneitis. Oneitis is every bit as bad as love is good. Loving a woman is wonderful, but getting needy for that woman by making her a bunch of promises and compromises in order to keep her (read: cling to her), namely regarding sexual monogamy and/or financial support, is a virtually a guaranteed path to major problems in life in the modern era.
I’ve said before that among the very large number of women I’ve had sex with and/or been in relationships with, I’ve only been in love three times in my 44 year life. As of this year, that total has now become four. To me, this is about the correct balance. Be with many women, fall in love with just with a tiny few. I disagree with extremists on both ends, both the high-emotion men who are seemingly falling in love all the damn time with woman after woman, and the jaded anti-women guys who think love is a bunch of bullshit and consistently and purposely avoid love, if not avoid pair bonding altogether, even into their older years.
One of the concepts I’ve tried to convey in my books and blogs, perhaps unsuccessfully, is that you can fall in love with a woman, and have her love you back, without getting oneitis. Yes, it’s possible. You can truly love a woman without chopping off your balls by making monogamy or financial promises, or without becoming needy.
I remember way back around 2008 when I first reached this point in my life. I’ll never forget it. I fell in love, hardcore in love, with a woman, yet didn’t get oneitis for her. I didn’t promise her monogamy, even though she strongly wanted it. I didn’t lose my mind and move in with her, impregnate her, or marry her, even though emotionally I wanted to do all three of those things. (Remember, oneitis is a set of actions, not thoughts. You’re allowed to think whatever you want; just don’t act on it if it’s stupid.)
I didn’t make her any of those kinds of promises even though I knew I could lose her because of it. Let me say that again. I truly and honestly loved this woman, but I was willing to lose her rather than compromise on my long-term freedom, masculinity, and/or Mission.
Now THAT’S how an Alpha falls in love. “I truly and honestly love you, I want to be with you, but I’m not changing for you, and if that’s a deal breaker, you should probably go be with someone else. I’ll be sad when you go, but I’m not suffering long-term limitations or unhappiness because of you. My life, my being, is too important.”
Beta males and many Alpha Male 1.0s don’t have the ability to do this when they fall in love. For them, love and oneitis is the same thing. That’s where idiotic things like monogamy, divorce, and lending women money come from.
So step one, before you even fall in love with anyone, is to build up your self esteem, Mission, confidence, outcome independence, and sexual abundance to the point where you can fall in love (and I mean hardcore love) with a woman, but still not get oneitis for her and not compromise who you are to keep her.
It’s like having a real superpower. I felt so good so many years ago when I knew I could do this!
Let’s examine his specific questions further.
How long does it take until you say to a woman “I love you”?
For me to say the words “I love you” to a woman and mean it literally, which has only happened with four women in my entire life of 44 years and scores of nonmonogamous relationships, I have two requirements that must be met first:
1. I have to actually be in love with her. I fall in love very slowly (thank goodness). It takes me many months, often a year or longer, of seeing someone consistently before I get these kinds of feelings. I’m talking about love now, not NRE. NRE is different, since NRE can happen almost instantly. The woman I love right now has been in my life for 2.5 years (though we weren’t together that entire time; that was about 1.5 years). The last time I fell in love took me almost two years of seeing someone consistently. The time before that took about seven months. The longer it takes you to fall in love with someone, the less problems you’ll have in your relationship life. Guys who fall in love fast tend to be higher-drama dudes.
2. I have to know for sure that she qualifies for an OLTR. I have never actually fallen in love with a woman who didn’t at least barely qualify for an OLTR, but even if I did, I see absolutely no point in getting her or myself excited if there is clearly no long-term, consistent future for us. I would never fall in love with an FB, as those tend to be lower-quality women (though not always). If I fell in love with a woman who was an MLTR but clearly didn’t qualify as an OLTR, I just wouldn’t go there. We’ll just date and enjoy each other as MLTRs and nothing beyond that. I’m not going to get into an OLTR with a woman who doesn’t qualify for it (and most don’t). That’s a recipe for disaster, and I don’t do disasters.
Do I actually wait to tell a woman I love her once I know the above two conditions are true? Yes. Do I have a specific time frame I can recommend? Not really.
Here’s the issue. Saying the magical words “I love you” is, in many respects, the pinnacle of your relationship. In some ways it marks the end of NRE, and that’s a little dangerous. Once you tell her you love her, some betaization will likely kick in, even if you’re going to be nonmonogamous forever and she knows it, and even if you’re Alpha Male 2.0 to the max and she knows it. There’s no way around this. As I’ve said many times, this is the price you pay for pair bonding, and if you never want to pay that price, you shouldn’t ever pair bond.
This is why it’s not a good idea to tell an MLTR who doesn’t qualify for OLTR that you love her. You’re going to cause needless problems in the relationship for no reason.
If you know for damn sure she qualifies for OLTR, and you want one, then your goal is a serious, long-term relationship with her anyway, so at some point you’re going to have to tell her you love her. A few of you might disagree, saying that you can get away with very serious, consistent, years-long relationship with a woman without ever saying “I love you.” I think that’s a little extreme, and I don’t think that’s experiencing love to its fullest extent. It feels good to say “I love you” to a woman you truly love. Even better when you don’t have oneitis for her.
Seriously, if you never want to say those words to a woman, don’t ever have an OLTR. Just bang FBs and MLTRs forever and you’re good to go.
I delay saying “I love you” until my gut tells me that I’m ready to say it and she’s ready to hear it. This might be a few weeks or at longest, a few months. It’s just something I feel out.
Do you always wait until she says it first?
No. The precise scenario varies depending on the woman. I also think that’s a little too “techniquey” and you’re killing some of the feelings of being in love with a woman if you over think this crap.
My last serious woman several years ago said it to me before I said it to her, but she was younger. Younger women have less girl game and are more likely to blurt this out. (I’ve had many younger women tell me they loved me.)
With women over 30, likely you’ll have to say it first, then she’ll say it back to you. The two times I’ve said “I love you” to a woman over 30, in both cases she immediately said it back to me and breathed a huge sigh of relief, revealing that she was waiting to say that to me and it was stressing her out as to whether or not she should wait longer and whether or not I loved her. Me telling her first gave her “permission.”
So we’re all playing this stupid game. As an outcome independent man, I just say it when I feel it’s appropriate, regardless of if she’s said it to me or not. Frankly, if I seriously love a woman, the odds are 90%+ that she loves me too and is just embarrassed to be the first person to say it. Hell, the very last time I first said these words to someone (somewhat recently) she was stunned, and actually had trouble believing me. With wide eyes she kept asking me “You do? You do?” Once again, she already loved me but was worried that I didn’t love her, so me saying it first calmed her down.
You might point out that that’s actually a bad thing, that you want her wondering, as it will keep attraction high. You’re absolutely right. It demonstrates my quality relationship game that she had no idea I loved her, when I actually loved her quite a bit. (She’ll be reading this blog post soon. Hi Sweetie!) But as I just said above and have talked about many other times, OLTR is a very different animal, and it’s where many of the rules start to change. If you want a serious, consistent, years-long relationship with someone, you’re going to have to venture down a slightly different path.
What if she falls in love with you and says it but you don’t love her? Do you just smile and don’t answer?
Pretty much, yeah. It depends on if it’s an FB or an MLTR. I’ve had numerous women in both categories fall in love with me, or at least tell me they did, when I didn’t love them.
First of all, it’s not a big deal. One of the cardinal rules of interacting with women is this: if something is a big deal to you, it will be a big deal to her. If it’s not a big deal to you, it won’t be a big deal to her. So if she says “I love you” and you give her a double-take while your eyes are bulging out and you’re trying to figure out what to say, you’ve already fucked it up. You’ve made it a Big Deal™, so now it’s a big deal to her. Get ready for some embarrassment, hurt feelings, and possibly some drama.
If it’s an FB telling me these three magic words, I’ll give her a big kiss, smile, give her great eye contact, and tell her something like, “You are so sweet!” I love it when a beautiful young woman tells me she loves me, regardless of if I love her back or not. It’s wonderful and flattering. Enjoy it!
But then, I’ll do something like pinch her cheeks, and immediately change the subject. This is really important, because I’m not getting into a fucking conversation about this with a FB. A FB is a friend, not a lover, and she needs to get that. If you strongly change the subject in a very casual, relaxed tone (remember, it’s no big deal), she’ll get the point fast and move on. I’ve never had a problem doing this.
By the way, you should not have FBs falling in love with you if you’re following all the correct nonmono relationship rules. If you are, you’re screwing this up big time and are sending too many boyfriend / provider signals when you should not be. I’ve only had one FB in my entire life tell me she loved me, and I’ve had lots of FBs.
If she’s an MLTR, this gets a little more complicated. Unlike with FBs, with MLTRs, there are some real two-way romantic feelings going on. You need to make a judgment call on whether or not you want to proceed with this MLTR under the umbrella of “I love you.”
You can love an MLTR. That’s within the rules. I’ve done it. But she’s going to have to be a high-end MLTR, above and beyond all the other women you’re seeing. Also, hopefully she’s demonstrated a nice track record of low jealousy and low drama.
If you want to move forward with her under the love model, then go ahead. Tell her that you care for her deeply and want to take things slowly, but that you want to be with her. Use your own words.
If you don’t view her as a high-end MLTR at all, just a midrange or low one, and have no interest in getting more serious with her than you are right now, then you need use the method I described above when talking to an FB. If she pushes for more conversation and details, which is likely since she’s an MLTR, then tell her (gently!) that you care about her, but want to keep things the same between the two of you.
Be prepared for some tears when you do this. When you love someone, you want them to love you back, and when she realizes you don’t, she’s going to be unhappy. This is okay. Let her emote, be kind and loving, and support her…provided she doesn’t actually start giving you drama by insulting you or laying down demands or ultimatums. (And if she does, you know what to do: INSTANT SOFT NEXT!)
Let’s flip this around. What if you are love with her and she’s not in love with you? This has never happened to me (outside of high school that is), but I know it’s happened to plenty of you.
The only valid question at that point is this: are you and her actually having sex?
If the answer is yes, then downgrade her to an FB or very low-end MLTR at the very most, and start focusing on other women in order to find someone new with whom to have these shared feelings. Continuing to have sex with her, assuming she’s hot, is great. Keep doing that. But continuing to have one-sided feelings for a woman in the long-term is extremely destructive to your self esteem and frame as a man, as I’ve described in great detail when discussing friend zone (though you’re not in friend zone if you’re actually fucking her; that’s why it’s okay to continue).
If the answer is no, and you aren’t having sex with this woman, now we have a very severe problem that you need to take strong and radical action to fix, right now. At this point, you really are in friend zone, and you need to get the fuck out right now. Read this and this, and then follow up with this. Then nicely eject that woman from your life and start having sex with at least one new girl, preferably one physically hotter than the woman you currently like.
I’ve said it a hundred times, and I’ll say it again: regularly spending time with a 100% platonic female friend you want to fuck but can’t is a slow death sentence for the masculine man. (The only exception to the rule: you’re successfully using her as a wing or pivot to actually have sex, for real, with many of her hot female friends.) If you actually love this woman, this becomes ten time worse. Be a fucking man and end it. Right now.
There are 3.5 billion women on this planet. Loving just one of them who doesn’t love you back and/or doesn’t even have sex with you is one of the stupidest things you can do with your time and your emotions. You seriously need a punch in the mouth.
I hope this gives you some guidance on what to do about this whole love thing. Like most everything else in relationships with women, it’s a good thing, but it requires forethought, strength, and management, or else it will throw you into a happy-now-unhappy-later model. We don’t want that. We want the happy-now-happy-later model. Much better.