Even though women are usually more ~in tune~ with their feelings, there's still this idea that men are supposed to be the ones to make relationship decisions big and small, like whose place you'll sleep over at that night, which restaurant you should go to, and when it's finally time to say "I love you" for the first time. But it makes no sense for this responsibility to be left to men alone, and there's no reason why you shouldn't woman up and go for it. As with most things in life, the timing is really all that matters, anyway.
1. He might be waiting for you to say it first.
If you feel like you're in a game of "I love you" chicken, odds are he's waiting for you to say it because he's just as scared of the potential rejection as you are.
2. In ten years, you won't care who said it first anymore.
What matters is that you're together and still head over heels for each other, not who awkwardly said "I, uh, love you..." moments before the other.
3. Someone who freaks out and panics at the phrase "I love you" isn't worth it.
If this isn't, like, your second date or something, your partner shouldn't run for the hills just because you acknowledged how you feel about him out loud, to his face. That's a definite sign that you're looking for different things out of this relationship, and maybe it's time for a re-eval.
4. Guys actually like when you say it first.
The pressure of responding to an "I love you" is way less than the pressure of saying it first. Think of saying it first as doing a favor, which is something you do for people you love.
5. It's not any less real if he says it in response to you.
Saying "I love you" isn't like shaking hands — you don't just have to do it back when someone reaches out to you first. If he says it, trust that he means it and don't discount his feelings because he was slower to admit having them.
6. You'll feel so relieved afterwards.
Remember the feeling of waiting for college acceptance letters? You could either leave it sitting on the counter for a month and live in constant ignorant yet very anxious bliss, or you could rip it open and know right away what the outcome was. It's scary, but putting it out there means one less thing to obsess over.
7. That weird stage of being in love but not saying it out loud is only fun for so long.
It can definitely be thrilling to feel like you're both on the precipice of ~real love~. The stakes feel lower and you're always wondering if today will be the day you finally say it. But that gets old fast, and feelings tend to get hurt if you wait too long.
8. Saying it first actually gives you more control over the relationship.
The myth that whoever has more feelings has less power isn't true. That's actually just some sneaky misogynistic crap about how feelings in abundance = weakness. Being up front about your feelings leaves no room for misinterpretation, and that clarity is really powerful.
9. It will clear up any uncertainty you have about your relationship.
If he rejects your "I love you" and says he's flattered but not looking for anything serious, you know you can move on. And yes it'll be hard. But it'll only get harder later on.
10. Once it's out there, you can start saying it to each other every damn day if you want.
The first time is big and scary, but casual little "I love you" texts, and notes on the fridge that end in "Love, Bryce" aren't scary at all. They're the actual best thing. Don't you want to get to that sweet part of the relationship already?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.