How and when to say i love you

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I Love You is the title of at least 47 songs, 15 albums and 13 movies in the English-language canon. The phrase, or a version thereof, adorns items as tiny as guitar picks and large as bags of dog kibble. And we get so close to saying it so often! So much.

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Yet when it comes to actually speaking the words out loud, to another person, whose face we can actually see, people can get squeamish. Why is that? TIME put the question to some therapists that we — well, that some might say we like very, very much. Here are some of their theories, and their advice. Psychologists have observed that modern relationships do not follow the map that used to help people guide their way to commitment.

People used to meet, go out on a few dates, decide not to date anyone else, learn to trust each other, fall in love, say Those Three Words and then either officially partner up and maybe marry, or break up and fall into a deep funk before starting the process all over again.

The relationships were more or less linear.

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Now, ambiguity is the thing. Ambiguity feels protective. Uncertainty makes people feel vulnerable, but it also gives them power. According to the mating theory known as the principle of least interest, the person who expresses more ambivalence about the relationship has the most power, because it means the other person has to be the one who does the pursuing.

For some folks, it feels like diving off the high board, naked, in front of the entire school or office. Maybe it le to glory, maybe you belly-flop. Plus, they may question their feelings. Partly to inoculate themselves against a relationship going sour, couples are marrying later 28 for women and 30 for men in the U.

Saying I love you to someone is throwing such caution to the winds. A new, non-peer-reviewed but plausible study from homes. An earlier study from the Max Planck institute also hinted at this.

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All right, maybe not exactly because of day returns, but because of the indecision that makes that practice necessary — and also encourages it. People who are seeking mates in the current era are presented with so many options, the FOMO can be chronic. What if you commit to Gregory Peck and then Cary Grant swipes right?

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Saying I love you to one potential mate means you cannot say it to another. It has somatic effect. If people encounter such a person in a partner, sibling, parent or friend, it can make them allergic to those words. This is like deciding not to dive because you have a morbid fear of water. It also helps to realize that humans have a need to love, therapists say, and to avoid meeting that need is to eliminate a key part of your humanity.

Homo sapiens are herd animals who pair bond. It might also help to know that studies have shown that men usually say I love you in a relationship before women do, and prefer to hear it before they have sex.

Every time he told someone he loved them, a natural disaster broke out. at letters time. Getty Images. By Belinda Luscombe. Be the first to see the new cover of TIME How and when to say i love you get our most compelling stories delivered straight to your inbox. Please enter a valid address. Please attempt to up again. Up Now. An unexpected error has occurred with your up. Please try again later. Check the box if you do not wish to receive promotional offers via from TIME.

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How and when to say i love you

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