There are some pivotal milestones in every relationship, from your first date to when you decide to move in together, but one of the more nerve-wracking moments can be telling your partner "I love you" for the first time.
A new survey has found that the average amount of time it take for Brits to say "I love you" when they are in a new relationship is three to four months.
In fact, just over a quarter (26.6%) of the 2,000 respondents in a survey by Censuswide said that they first told their other half they loved them after three to four months, while a fifth (20.4%) said those three words after one to two months, and 19.4% first said "I love you" after five to six months.
One in 10 people (10.7%) said “I love you” after just one to three weeks, while 0.5% said it after less than a week of knowing the other person.
A further 8.8% said it after seven months, 2.9% after nine months, 5.5% after 11 months, and 0.4% after one year.
“For some people, they might feel immediately that they’ve fallen for somebody, for others it takes longer to allow some of those feelings to come through and particularly if you have had bad experiences in the past, it might make it difficult to accept that this relationship is going to be different,” says relationship counsellor at Relate, Ammanda Major.
“Some people feel that if they do tell someone that they love them or they're falling in love with them, then they might be rejected because how do you know that the other person feels the same about you? So sometimes [if saying ‘I love you’ takes longer than you hope] it might be that you're worried they may not feel the same.”
If you do say “I love you” to your partner and they don’t say it back immediately, Major says this isn’t necessarily because they don’t love you, but they might just have a different way of showing their love.
“People express love in different ways, and for some people saying 'I love you' is really difficult,” she explains. “Their natural way of sharing it may not be to constantly reassure you that they love you.”
Instead, she suggests, it could be by “being a certain way with you” or by “caring in a certain way with you”.
If you’re not sure whether you are at the stage yet to say “I love you”, Major explains that some signs that you are truly in love with your partner are that they are someone who can help you to feel comfortable, to feel safe, attractive, cared for and important.
“Most crucially, you feel like it's someone you can be vulnerable with and they won't take advantage of it,” she adds.
“It’s about feeling that someone’s interested in you, feeling that someone cares about who you are, that values who you are and is able to accept you for who you are.”
Elsewhere in the survey commissioned by Betfair Bingo, it revealed that the average time it takes people to propose to a new partner is one to two years (40.2%).
Three to four years was the second most popular time frame (22.7%), followed by seven to 11 months (15.8%) and three to six months (9.5%).
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