(Me) 35F 4 months in with 30M. Actively talking about different kinds of wants/needs/expectations in a relationship. We have talked about us both wanting marriage and have expressed how we see our relationship possibly growing but it's a baby relationship in my eyes. I've had 3, 3-year relationships where I spent time with the parents on holidays. His longest was 8-months, pretty sure it never got to the shared holidays stage, and he's had 1.5 real girlfriends (lots of situationships, .5 for the one who was cheated). I think his feelings are deeper than it looks like, but I could be full of myself, too. During his last break up, the girl (cheater) complained he never said 'I love you' but he said he loved her. She married someone else less than a year later. He says he just doesn't say it much. Doesn't say it to his country, mans man divorced dad. Mom remarried, moved away and dad raised him. Mom is the #1 source of that phrase and she hasn't been close since he was 12. It's very easy for me to say ILY. I say it when I see my close friends almost every time. I can say ILY to a customer service rep and truly mean it. I can find little pockets of left over love for even people I don't love anymore. My last ex said the same thing as 30M (β€˜I don't say it much’) and he eventually caught up to my pace of saying ILY. It took time for me to be this vulnerable but expressing myself is my strength. I can* understand that it's hard to open up like that so often while knowing it's not hard for me.

I already want to say it. I've already been wanting to say it. I could be ok with saying it and him not for a while but, we are in early bf/gf emulsifying stage. The bf/gf label isn't as significant to me as other milestones I know he's never reached with a boo. I'm over thinking on the timing. I'm nervous it will be heavy for him, or I might get a negative reaction. I've never had a negative reaction, but I've never said ILY first. I know 30M. I know I will be the one to say it first.

β€”- I've imagined saying it at the end of our nightly calls before we hang up, but I almost want to give a caveat like 'you don't have to say it back' when I know dam well he's going to have to say it back eventually or we break up.

β€”β€” Imagined texting it in some other statement when I'm talking sweet to him but then I imagine adding the caveat 'it's easy for me to say so no pressure' when I know dam well that I'm going to pressure him to say it eventually if he doesn't do it on his own.

Help my Virgo mind 😭

Edit: using my ghost account since he knows my Reddit handle