How to React After Saying "I Love You"

Saying “I love you” is a big step in a relationship, so it’s important to take it seriously if someone says it to you. Think about how you feel about the person and ask yourself if you love them, too. If you do, then you might want to tell them that so they know you’re on the same page. However, if you don’t, then it’s important to be honest with them while also respecting their feelings.


Method 1 of 2: Choosing an Appropriate Response

How to React After Saying

Reflect on your feelings for the person. Consider if you love them, if you just enjoy spending time with them, or if you even see a future with the person at all. Saying “I love you” is a milestone in a relationship that indicates the person has strong feelings for you. They’ll want to know if you reciprocate those feelings. If you don’t then it’s important to be aware of that and decide how you’ll move forward from there.

  • For example, if you really like the person but you’re not sure if you love them, you might want to continue the relationship and see if those feelings develop over time.
  • However, if you have started to feel like your relationship with this person isn’t working, then it might be time to let them know this so that you can both move on.

How to React After Saying

Say “I love you” back to the person only if you mean it. If you love the person and feel ready to tell them that, then now is a great time to say “I love you, too!” However, it’s important to be honest if you’re not ready to say “I love you.” Even if you develop feelings of love for the person eventually, saying it before you mean it is dishonest and it could lead to problems down the road.

  • Never say “I love you” back if you don’t mean it because this will introduce a lie into your relationship.

Warning: Avoid saying “I love you” when you’re intoxicated. Saying “I love you” while you’re intoxicated can make it seem insincere, even if you really mean it. If you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, wait until you’re sober to say “I love you.”

How to React After Saying

Give a direct response to let them know if you’re not ready. If you don’t feel ready to say “I love you,” it’s fine to respond in a simple, straightforward manner. Listen to your instincts if you’re not ready to say it back and be totally honest with the person. Just make sure to be polite and considerate of their feelings.

  • Try saying something like, “Sorry, I’m just not ready to say that yet.”
  • Or, “I’m glad to know you feel that way. I’m not there yet, but I want to keep our momentum going.”

How to React After Saying

Tell them you value them if you’re not ready to say “I love you.” One way to respond to someone who has just said “I love you” is to focus on their positive traits and let them know that you value these things about them. Think about what you like about the person and what makes you want to spend time with them. Then, focus on these things in your response.

  • Try saying something like, “I’m so happy you feel that way. I enjoy spending time with you, too. You’re such a wonderful listener.”
  • Or you might say, “I care about you, too. You’re kind, smart, funny, and I just love spending time with you.”

How to React After Saying

Give them a hug or a kiss if you want to. Providing a token of affection for the person is another great way to respond. You hug or kiss the person instead of responding with words. You can also add a hug or kiss if you said “I love you” back, or if you told them you don’t feel ready to say “I love you” yet. Just don’t hug or kiss the person if you are thinking of breaking up with them. This will send mixed signals, which can cause the person distress once they learn the truth.

  • For example, if you’ve just said “I love you, too,” then lean in for a hug or a kiss.
  • If you’ve just told the person that you’re not ready to say “I love you” yet and let them know that you value them and enjoy their company, you might offer a hug as a way to show you’re sincere.
  • If you’ve just told the person that you are not interested in continuing the relationship, then giving a hug or a kiss is not a good idea. However, you might reassure them with a less intimate physical gesture, such as a pat on the arm or back.

Method 2 of 2: Responding to the Situation

How to React After Saying

Expect some disappointment if you don’t say “I love you.” The person may look disappointed or even embarrassed after saying “I love you” if you don’t reciprocate. This is normal. It’s fine to show empathy for them, but don’t feel pressured to say “I love you” or feel guilty for being honest about your feelings. Allow them a moment to sit with their feelings before you respond.

  • You might even offer to let them have some privacy if they seem very sad or embarrassed. Try saying something like, “I’m sorry if that came as a shock. If you need a minute to yourself, I can leave and we can talk again later.”

Tip: Avoid apologizing for your feelings or backpedaling even if the person is very sad and starts to cry. This will only make matters worse. Instead, let them know you’re there and reiterate what you like about them. Try saying something like, “I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere unless you want me to leave. I meant what I said about enjoying spending time with you.”

How to React After Saying

Watch for extreme reactions like anger. It’s normal for someone to feel sad or disappointed, and even embarrassed if you don’t reciprocate their feelings, but it’s not normal for them to respond with anger or rage. If the person starts yelling, storms out, throws or breaks something, or becomes physically aggressive towards you, leave immediately and stay away from them. These kinds of reactions are all red flags that the person may become abusive towards you.

  • Call emergency services if the person becomes violent or aggressive towards you and you are alone with them.

How to React After Saying

Accept that everyone moves at their own pace within a relationship. Even if your significant other is declaring their love for you already, this does not mean that you have to do the same for the relationship to continue. You might need more time and that is perfectly fine! It’s normal for people to move at different paces in a relationship. Take your time and don’t say “I love you” until or unless you are actually ready.

  • For example, your significant other might be ready to say “I love you” after only 3 months of dating, while you might need 4 months or longer to develop those feelings.
  • Be aware that there is a possibility that you will never feel the same way about them as they feel about you. Honor your true feelings and do not continue the relationship if this is the case.

How to React After Saying

Do something fun to commemorate the moment. If you responded positively after the person says “I love you,” it might be a good idea to do something enjoyable to commemorate the moment. Go for a walk together, watch a romantic movie, or do something else that you both enjoy. However, if you did not reciprocate and you don’t expect to continue the relationship, you might want to do just the opposite and spend some time on your own.

  • If you want to commemorate the moment, try saying something like, “Let’s go do something fun! Are you up for a movie?”
  • Or, if you need some time to yourself, try saying something like, “Sorry, but I have to go. Let’s talk again tomorrow, okay?”

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