If S.O. Started Saying I Love You Too Soon

When your S.O. starts saying “I love you” too soon for comfort, it can throw you a serious curveball. When your relationship has been going smoothly for awhile, it’s natural to assume the L-bomb is going to get dropped at some point. But when you’re not ready to meet them halfway, how are you supposed to react?

If you know your relationship is more of a casual thing for you, it makes sense to cut bait and move on before your respective feelings get any more mismatched. But if you actually like your S.O. (despite their apparent inability to read the dang room), things can get a little more complicated.

“It’s difficult because, especially in the early stages of a relationship, the pacing and timing is really critical,” says relationship psychologist Karin Anderson, Ph.D. “It’s so much easier and less awkward if you’re on the same tempo.”

While it’s tempting to pretend you didn’t hear it if your date says the L-word before you’re there, Anderson says it’s really better to acknowledge it right away. Jocelyn Charnas, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in Manhattan, agrees. “You have to look at it this way: If you’re going to be in a relationship with someone, you have to be able to have difficult conversations with them.”

Anderson recommends trying something like, “That feels so great to hear and I’m really excited about this relationship too. I just want to keep things moving and keep building our momentum.” It’s also a good idea to throw in something like, “I’m not quite there yet, but I’m crazy about you and so excited about our future,” just to clarify where you’re coming from.

Whatever you do, don’t say “I love you” back if you don’t actually mean it. “If you do and you don’t mean it, you’re introducing dishonesty into your relationship,” Anderson says. “To outright lie is a horrible idea.”

Of course, your S.O. is going to want to hear those three little words back at some point—something that becomes painfully obvious when they keep saying them to you. How much time do you have before you need to make a move? Charnas says there’s no set timeframe for this, but it’s a good idea to take stock of your own feelings and why this particular “I love you” made you feel uncomfortable. It could be that it feels inauthentic—maybe your S.O. said it after only a month of dating, which makes you question whether those feelings are for real.

But it also may simply be that you’re moving at a different pace and express yourself emotionally in a different way. “That might make somebody more inclined to say it earlier, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” she says. It just might feel a little awkward for a bit.

If you feel like things are solid otherwise, Anderson says you shouldn’t feel pressure to cave and start saying “I love you” too soon for your liking. “A new person shows up in your life and they’re suddenly supposed to be your everything…that doesn’t honor the rest of your life,” she says. “You can rush a good thing. Take your time.”


Get Out of A Relationship When You Feel Trapped

Relationships are meant to provide a sense of security, comfort, and companionship, though this hasn’t been the case for Reddit user, beautyinmel. She took to the blog in this post to seek advice about feeling trapped in her relationship with her partner of 7 years. She explains, “He is very possessive and obsessive. Throughout high school, I wasn’t allowed to go out with my girlfriends without letting him know; he comes over every Saturday from morning until late night so he can be with me all day and that continued until now.” She goes on, “I feel very very suffocated in this relationship. He likes being in control and I feel like I’m obligated to tell him/bring him anywhere and anything that I do.”

As if a relationship this controlling, unhealthy, and emotionally abusive isn’t difficult enough, her mother is also a steady source of pressure keeping her from ending it. She explains, “[My SO] gave me a promise ring in front of my parents and my mother accepted the ring before I could even say anything.” And once she finally broke up with him, he told her mother—who then called her repeatedly to tell her she was making a “the biggest mistake of [her] life.” And she has done this before. “She did the same before and she actually fell ill and I went back to him with guilt.”

So, what are beautyinmel‘s options? Here’s what Reddit users had to say:

“[Your mother] should have protected you, and instead she has essentially enabled your abuser. I suggest that you cut the both of them out of your life and talk to your campus health centre about what your options for counseling are. Your adult self has literally never known a life without your abuser being a part of it – it makes sense that this is insanely difficult to break free from.” — asymmetrical_sally

“You’re going to have to be tough on your mother. Every time she talks about him just say ‘I am not discussing (ex) with you’ then change the subject. If she tries to go back to talking about (ex) then leave or hang up and block contact for a day.” — Panda_Pandamonium

“Break up with him regardless of your mothers wishes. She can’t control your love life and she shouldn’t. I would advice you to break up over text, because with him being manipulative, there is always a risk he talks you back into staying with him, when you do it in person – usually I don’t think it’s fair to break up over text, but you should be selfish in your situation.” — Illkickyourmom

“You say he refused to accept the break up. But that’s not how break ups work. Break ups are unilateral by nature, they aren’t agreements both sides come to, or negotiations where one side has veto power. Once any party in a relationship decides it’s over, it’s fucking over. No matter who accepts or doesn’t accept it. Repeat this fact if questioned, block communication from your ex (or filter it so that you have records), tell him to stop contacting you otherwise you will consider it harassment and seek appropriate recourse, then follow through.” — illinoiscentralst

“Notice how he got rid of the people in your life that would support you if you two broke up, and kept the people that wanted you to stay together.” — kayina

“If you have any friends you can confide in about this I’d suggest doing that as well. Relationships that long term, especially controlling ones, can be hard to extricate yourself from at the best of times and if you can’t rely on your family to be your support network you gotta find it somewhere else.” — Kweevs

“Stay strong. Keep reminding your mother that no adult should feel tied to a decision they made at age 13. Keep reminding yourself.” — MrsKravitz

Bottom line: There is no easy way out of an abusive relationship, or recovering from a damaged relationship with a mother. But as these Reddit users suggest, finding the strength to remove yourself from these unhealthy situations and surrounding yourself with supportive people are the best (and most necessary) actions you can take.