I Wasn’t Ready to Say “I Love You.” How Should I Have Handled it?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I had been seeing this guy for about a month and neither of us had used the word love. One night when we were talking on the phone, all of a sudden he said out of nowhere “That’s why I love you.” That is not the way I would think you would tell someone for the first time that you love them. I was not sure how I felt myself and I was not ready to say it back to him.

Nothing was the same after that between us. Later I asked him about it and he said he didn’t remember saying it, but I know he did. We are no longer together.

How should I have handled that situation?

-Becka (Texas)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Oh, sweet, sweet Becka. Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? First of all, remember that in our limited English language, love has many meanings. We love a cute dress, we really love our mothers and we seriously love our boyfriends.

When your guy uttered “I love you,” it was a reflex. He meant to say “like” because it was too early to feel real love, anyway. But when you brought it up, it must have scared him off. He realized that he had used a powerful word too early.

So what should you have done? Ignored his words. Look for love as a set of actions, not one silly word. By the way, the number one lie men tell women is “I love you” to obtain sex. His actions speak louder than his words.

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