"I know in my heart that I love my boyfriend, but I'm so nervous about saying it out loud! Who's supposed to say it first? When does it usually happen? And, ack -- what if he doesn't say it back?" --from minks21 on the Guy Talk message board
When it comes to saying those three little words, there are no rules -- only romantic intentions. Here, both men and women from the Relationships channel community share their stories of what happened when they finally got the courage to confess their true feelings. Will their happy memories inspire you to do the same this summer? Read on and let your heart decide.
Success Stories from Women Who Said it First
"I knew my boyfriend for years before we started dating. So one day, sitting on the couch, I couldn't help but blurt it out. It just felt right. He said 'I love you' back right away, but still I'm pretty proud that I broke the ice!"
"I just blurted it out and walked away because I was afraid of my boyfriend's reaction. He followed me, and I kept telling him not to say anything. I mean, I didn't want him to feel obligated if he wasn't ready. Maybe I scared him, but it worked! Now, he is madly in love with me! The wedding is just a few months away."
"When my fiancé told me he loved me, I didn't want to say it back just because he did. Then a couple of weeks later, we were at a bar. I got up to go to the bathroom, and accidentally said, 'I love you.' We both realized what had happened, and stared at each other for a second. I was planning on telling him, just not at a stupid bar while I was heading to the bathroom. I mean, that's not romantic! But he didn't mind."
"I told my boyfriend that I loved him within the first month that we knew each other. He didn't tell me until four months later when we went to stay with his family for Christmas. I think he couldn't say it and mean it until I'd met them because he was afraid that I wouldn't approve of them! But I told him how much I liked his mom and dad on the first night we were at their house. That's when he told me he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. It was worth the wait. Still, I said 'I love you' a lot without hearing it back. I mean, there's time for many 'I love yous' in four months!"
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Men Who Made the First Move
Music to Her Ears
"After two months, I knew my girlfriend was as smitten as I was. I wanted to wait until we'd been together longer, but patience has never been my strong suit. So one weekend morning, when I got up to make coffee, I looked at her sleeping and decided I would say it. I thought it might be nice to play the CD that I'd introduced to her during our first night together, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I had to wake her up and ask her where it was. She found it. When I returned with the coffee, I finally said, 'You know what? I'm falling in love with you.' She was as happy as I'd hoped. And without missing a beat, told me that she fell in love with me, a long time ago."
Love Me, or Else!
"My boyfriend used to have a friend who demanded a lot of his attention. It felt like three of us were in the relationship. I was fed up and willing to walk away from him. I even told him I wanted to 'take some time.' But he emailed me saying that he cared, didn't want to lose me, and how he wanted to tell me something in person. After we talked things through, he told me that he loved me. Before I even knew what hit me, I heard myself saying 'I love you, too.'"
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage
"I said it first. My wife and I had been 'just friends' for most of our lives. But after a brief courtship, I told her I loved her and followed it immediately with the question, 'Will you marry me?' I knew she loved me as a friend, but had no idea whether she loved me loved me, so I felt way out on a limb. Luckily, she said yes."
Back for Seconds
"I first dated my beloved in high school, during senior year filled with prom preparation and more. So 'I love you' may have been said one hundred times. Who knows? Then, I broke up with him early on in our first year of college. Twenty years later, we met again at our reunion, and right away I knew I'd made a big mistake back then. The sparks led to a date, and only two weeks later he said, 'I love you.' I thought he should be more cautious with a girl who was such a jerk in the past. But he knew it, he said it, and I wasn't far behind."
Love at First Email
"I met my girlfriend online and during one of our phone conversations, she said something really cute and giggled. It made me laugh so I said, 'That's why I love you.' Right after I said it, I tried to explain why because I knew that I was feeling way too much, way too soon, for someone I hadn't met in person. She said, 'Don't worry, it's just an expression, I know you didn't mean it the way it sounded.' But I thought maybe I did! So a couple of days later I got ready to tell her in no uncertain terms that I loved her. But before I could, she cut me off and told me first."
Absence Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder
"I had gone on a trip without my boyfriend of four months, and couldn't wait to get home to see him. Upon my arrival, he was waiting at my house. That's the night he told me he loved me. Looking back, we both agree that there were plenty of times we'd both wanted to say it, but didn't want to rush. I guess a little time apart can't hurt."
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Embarrassing Moments that Turned into Great Memories
"My fiancée and I were at a miniature golf course with another couple who are my best friends. We noticed that there were several of what appeared to be giant beetles all around us. So what did my lovely lady do? She started to squash them with her golf club! I gave her a look like, 'What are you doing?' She stopped, turned around, blushed and said something about all of us thinking that she was nuts. 'No way. I love you,' I said. It just slipped out. So we both looked at each other and laughed. Later that evening I said it for real and she said it back. Phew!"
A Snort Story
"My fiancé and I grew up in the same small town, but we used to only know each other as casual acquaintances. When we started getting to know each other, we discovered we have the same nutty sense of humor. One night, we were playing pool and laughing our heads off. I actually snorted and fell into a giggling fit. Then, he just blurted out, 'I think I'm falling in love with you.' So I said it too, and we hugged each other right there in front of everyone. Now, four years later we say it at least twice a day."