I'm going to let you in on a lil secret: In the same way no one can tell you when you’re in love, there’s no way of knowing when your partner is in love. Sure, there may be some signs you can read into that = they are absolutely ready to say ILY, but it really is one of those things that is completely singular to each individual person.
That said, if you want to make sure your partner has the same feelz you do, you can 1) Ask them or 2) Read the following quotes from men on the moments in life they knew they were in love as examples. If anything, maybe hearing their responses will help you sort out your own feelings.
But just so we’re on the same page: If you’re feeling like you’re in love, it’s probably love, and it’s totally okay to share your feelings before you know if your partner loves you back.
Now, 20 men on le moment they knew they were officially in love-love:
- "I'm going to be super cliché here, but it really did just hit me randomly one night when we were watching Netflix. I'm not sure what happened, but it was like, in that moment, I knew that I'd be okay doing anything—literally anything—with that girl by my side. And be completely happy doing it." -Jaron T., 29
- "I think it was most obvious to me when we were in an argument or fight and I could still look at her and think: 'Yeah, okay, I do love her.' If you can still have those same feelings even when things aren't going the best, that's love. But when you don't feel that way when things get tough, it may not be love." -Eric R., 26
- "I knew I was ready to say 'I love you' when saying 'I like you' just wasn't cutting it in my heart. I felt like I could tell her anything about me or what was on my mind and I wouldn't be judged. I especially knew when I cared for her and her feelings as much as I did my own." -Mason M., 27
- "I'm not sure if you ever know when you are ready. The first time you say it, it just happens. Afterward, you might regret just letting it slip like you did, but inside, you know you showed exactly how you felt, and that's a good thing." -Aleksei C., 24
- "My ex-girlfriend and I were best friends. The sex was great, we helped each other grow as people, and we were a great team together. Once I realized that nobody was gonna get me like she did, loving her was the easiest thing in the world, which is when I knew it was the right time to say it." -Josef G., 27
- "When enough time goes by, and no matter how irritated she can make me, I still can't help but smile." -Kit O., 29
- "Honestly, there's no way to know unless you know. Most of the time you are just guessing. I've said it once before, and I meant it from top to bottom. You're usually scared to say it, but when you know it really means something, you go ahead and say it anyway." -Christian S., 25
- "I feel like 'I love you' is overused, so it takes some time for me to say it even if I do have those feelings toward them. If I were going to give it a specific length of time, I'd say typically four to five months, unless she says it first." -Alex Z., 28
- "I don't know if I have any kind of rule; I've been in year-long relationships where I never said it. I've said it a month in, three months in. It's just when I'm feeling it. Usually when I still have butterflies when I see her, and we're both starting to talk about meeting each other's parents. That's usually when I can tell this is getting serious." -Tom, 27
- "I don't say it before a month, no matter how much I like them. I feel like it scares them off." -Luke, 28
- "I said it after a week to the woman I wound up marrying. Looking back on past relationships, I was probably always quick to say 'I love you,' but I was crazy about my wife from the moment I met her." -Ian, 26
- "I never say it. Ever. I take it very seriously, and it's not something I want to just say to anyone. I don't throw that word around. I want to mean it when I tell my future wife I love her. I don't think many people I know realize I take it this seriously, but I do. I don't want to cheapen the phrase." -Russell, 29
- "Probably on average… and this is me doing my best to average it out just thinking back… but around six months or so? To be completely honest, that's just when I feel obligated to say it." -Anthony, 28
- "I think I know if this is going to be a long-term relationship within a month or two, which is usually when I'm read to say, 'I love you.' But I wait until a good moment. I don't just like, fire off a Snap the second it dawns on me. I want it to be romantic." -Cody, 26
- "I've said 'I love you' to two of my girlfriends and I married one of them. In both cases, it was probably closer to the one year mark, but definitely before our one year anniversary." -Jay, 29
- "I have a problem. I fall in love with like, everyone. There has been more than one occasion where I was drunk and my friends had to take my phone away because I was about to tell a girl I hooked up with like, once that I loved her." -Ethan, 25
- "It's funny. I've said it to someone after a few weeks, and that relationship wound up being a train wreck. The woman I'm with now, she and I took it very slow. It was months and months before we said it. And things have been going so great. And that's not to say falling in love fast is bad, just that falling in love slowly is perfectly fine." -Joey, 26
- "It was actually a bit of a… a point of contention with my current girlfriend. She said fairly early on. She probably said 'I love you' at around three months. And it wasn't that I didn't care about her deeply at the time, but… I just didn't feel comfortable saying it. It took me awhile to get there. But it came up, and I felt pressured. I didn't like the idea of saying it because she wanted me to. I eventually did say it, but on my terms." -Brett, 28
- "I think six months is kind of the epicenter of saying, 'I love you.' That's a very reasonable time to say it. And I think the further away you get from six months in either direction, like either too early or too late, it starts to get a little odd." -Steven, 27
- "I want to say usually between like, five to nine months. I've had maybe eight serious relationships where saying ‘I love you’ was even on the table. And that window for me definitely wasn’t an exact science. Sometimes I felt like I was there more quickly than other times." -Dennis, 29
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.