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This Is When Most Couples Say 'I Love You' For The First Time

Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor
By Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor

Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.

Image by Santi Nunez / Stocksy
September 19, 2019

When is the right time to first say "I love you" in a relationship? 

Therapy search service Zencare recently surveyed over 1,000 people about their relationships and dating habits, including asking about when they popped the big "L"-word in their relationships. A majority of couples—an impressive 55%—said "I love you" within the first three months of dating. Specifically, a quarter said it within the first one to two months, followed by the 20% who said they did it after two or three months. Another 20% said at least five months had gone by before they confessed their love.

Interestingly, couples who said "I love you" earlier on in their relationship also tended to report being the happiest among the respondents. When asked about their happiness with the relationship, 67% of couples who dropped the L-bomb in the first 30 days reported being "very happy," compared to 53% of those who did it after five months or more.

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If that timeline seems way too tight for you—or you're half a year or more into a relationship without any big love confessions yet—don't panic.

"A serious relationship is one in which two people are dedicated to growing together," psychologist and relationship coach Shula Melamed, M.A., MPH, tells mbg. "It can happen quickly, or it can grow over the span of a few years—the critical component is that both people are invested in it and in a similar way." 

Words are just words at the end of the day; what matters is that your feelings for each other are growing and that your relationship continues to develop and move forward. Melamed says a clear sign that your relationship is getting deeper and more serious is that you're able to talk about the relationship together and where it might be going. 

"These conversations will be the foundation of taking it to the next level," she says. "Intention is everything when you start something—serious relationships are no exception."

Meantime, here are a few clear signs you're in love with someone.

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Kelly Gonsalves
Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor

Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach based in Brooklyn, as well as the sex and relationships editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and educator certifications from The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed. Her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.

Gonsalves provides heartful, evidence-based information about sexual well-being and healthy relationships through counseling, coaching, workshops, and journalism. Her research and reporting have debunked myths about the “elusive” female orgasm (nope, women’s orgasms are not a mystery and not naturally more difficult to achieve than men’s orgasms), explored the complicated history of American period care, uncovered the surprising psychology of ex sex, and much, much more.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with her upcoming programs, relationships insights, and latest writing.