Dear Dr. Date,
I think I want to take the dive and say the L-word to my man. I definitely have the feelings, but the only thing holding me back is whether he does, too. I want to say it, maybe on V-day, but I don’t want him to a) freak out at how serious I am getting or b) say it back just because I said it first. How do I know?
—The L Word
When it comes to the L-word, there aren’t any rules for how soon is too soon or when the right moment is. Some people wait a year and then spell it in M&M’s on a giant cookie, others blurt it out at the grocery store two weeks in. Either way, what matters is how you’re feeling and how you’ll feel if your boy doesn’t answer the way you want him to.
Obviously, the response we all hope for is, “I love you, too! I’ve been wanting to say it but was scared you didn’t feel the same way!” This could happen, and I hope it does.
However, your boy may do it differently. Imagine him saying something along the lines of, “I really like you, but I think it’s too early to say ‘love,’” or just straight-up, “I don’t feel the same way.” Decide if that’ll make you upset. More importantly, decide if you’ll believe him.
It sounds like you’re not sure he’ll mean it if he says he loves you back, which is more of a problem than worrying he won’t say it at all. Figure out why you think this is a possibility. Has he said he wants to take it slow? Does he worry about commitment?
Weigh these things out, and decide if telling him how you feel is worth the possible disappointment. No matter what he says, take it at face value. You’re being honest, so assume he is, too.
As for saying it on Valentine’s Day, maybe don’t. Setting a date will just make you nervous. Say it when it feels right, say it with authority, and don’t backtrack once it’s done.
Could you give some general Valentine’s Day gift advice? I’ve been with my girl for three months or so, and I want to plan something special. What are romantic, non-cheesy things to do? What about gifts? How much money is too much to spend?
Gifts are nice on Valentine’s Day, but a romantic date is better. It doesn’t have to be anything major — last year, my S.O. and I spent the evening eating candlelit takeout on my dorm room floor, and it was great.
If you want something a little more fancy (or just have a weird roommate), book a table at a nice place (do it now), and pay for her dinner (no excuses).
Of course, fancy dinners aren’t for everyone (ahem, see above). If your girl is more easy-going, make her dinner and rent her favorite movie or get tickets for the show she’s been talking about. Whatever you do, put in your best effort, but don’t stress out too much.
As for gifts, the smallest ones are often the sweetest. Flowers or cupcakes are nice. Avoid anything that’s super-personalized, like perfume or jewelry, unless you know for sure that she wants it. After that, just focus on making it a nice day for her, and you’ll both be happy.