Wow, it has apparently got even harder these days to whisper three little words. It's become even harder these days to say that you're in a relationship with someone, let alone admit that you love them – to their face.Our dear friend Commitment, or lack of it, seems to be the reason why many young men do not want to call you their girlfriend, even after months of monogamous dating (see our Wonder Women poll on the subject, here).
So much so that it's got Rebecca Holman in a deserved tizz: when exactly do you call a relationship a relationship?
She talks of horror stories of friends of hers who have been dating a man for months, but when she's introduced as his girlfriend at do's, he goes pale at the thought of it.
You're growing together, you're encountering new situations on both an individual and couple level and, thus, the definition of “I love you” evolves with your relationship.
However you say it (through tears or through laughter), wherever you say it (after a good romp or first thing in the morning), and whenever you say it (three months or three years) one thing is always constant: There is some type of love present.
In another few studies, these same researchers examined whether men and women have better reactions to statements of love before or after having sex in the relationship.
Men rated more happiness and felt more positive emotion if they received confessions of love before having sex.
Believe me, he says, "I'd love to say she is my girlfriend but I don't want to put her off." The caginess seems to apply to both men and women. He would wait SIX MONTHS before saying 'I love you'. It follows then, that we are losing a sense of our real selves, of our real opinions, of our real feelings.
I ask him, on the off-chance that, you know, he might just love this girl, when would be the appropriate time to tell her? A romantic evening sunset and bottle of rose on the beach? We have a public-facing opinion where we're happy to share what we had for breakfast, the fact we hate so-and-so but simply love skinny dipping and downing shots – or whatever – but when it comes to our true emotions, we are guarded. But then he had known me already for about a year and so had, I guess, developed these feelings 'behind the scenes'. Him saying it so early on, no strings attached, gave me the control, the confidence, of being able to wait a bit until I said it back, safe in the knowledge he meant it and I knew where he stood.
Here's what it all means: In the grand scheme of a long-term relationship, three months is fast.