You've just started a new relationship. S/He's sexy, smart, and funny. You both have similar interests. Everything is going peachy-keen until the bomb drops:

"I Love You"

It may be that its on the phone, or right before s/he drops you off after a date. The effect is always the same. Panic. Fear. Annoyance.

Now what's a child to do? Do you say "I love you" back and hopelessly doom yourself to an endless cycle of continous echoing "I love you"/"I love you, too"????

Or do you ignore it and hope it goes away?

This always deserves a response. A well thought out and reasonable response that will tenderly reflect the emotions of both the individuals concerned. After all if you DO love her, then saying it isn't a problem. But, then again, if it wasn't an issue you wouldn't be seeing this node now would you? So lets assume for a moment that she has said the three most emotionally charged words in any language and you don't feel the same way.

There are some rather icky scenarios possible here.

  1. You don't love her, she loves you.
  2. You don't love her, she doesn't love you, she's just testing you.
  3. You DO love her, she loves you, you just don't realize it yet.
  4. You don't love her, she doesn't love you, or even like you, but wants an easy way of ending the relationship quickly.
  5. She is emotionally needy. She just needs reassurance.
All of the above are tricky to deal with, but the first scenario can be the most emotionally devastating so lets deal with it here.


It is a lie, and she will spot it within a week (depending on how clever she is) and be crushed. Then she will recover and crush you. Not good. The thing to remember here is that if she does love you what she wants here is emotional re-assurance, and some tenderness. My advice (gathered from blood, sweat, and many, many tears) is to match her emotional intensity and replace the dangerous word love with one that is less emotionally charged, like for example adore. This needs to be done carefully, as follows:

"My feelings for you are stronger than for anyone else I have ever been with, and while I don't know what being in love is like yet, I know for sure in the short time we have been together that I adore you and want to be with you and hope you feel the same. Give me time, I need to explore my feelings further; I am just beginning to realize how special a part of my life you really are, and how much you mean to me."

And leave it at that. Don't embellish. Don't make promises you can't keep and for God's sake don't tell her you think she is really hot, but you're not ready for comitment yet!

As for the other scenarios, the responses should be fairly obvious, just play along, and don't do anything stupid. It's the first one that can really mess things up, so watch it like a hawk. Don't commit to anything unless you are sure. This is good advice for most things but especially in matters of the heart.

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