Dear Lisa

She is saying “I love you” but it feels too soon… what should I do?

Lisa McKay Advice, Communication & Conflict 4 Comments

Dear LisaDear Lisa,

I’m writing to you in hopes for a little advice. I have been together with my LDR partner, Louise, for about seven months now. We frequently use Skype calls and chats to communicate.

My fear is that she has started saying, “I love you,” a whole lot. I’ve said it back, but since then it started I feel like it was too soon. I’ve been in two VERY toxic relationships that started about the same way (just in person and not online), so just letting her in was a huge step for me.

Anyway, I want to tell her that we might be moving too fast but I don’t know how to do that gently. I don’t want to hurt her, but I don’t want to get burnt either. We haven’t even met in person. The closest we’ve gotten to being face to face is through Skype’s video call option.

I do have very strong feelings for her, and I would in fact say that I do love her, but it all feels so sudden! I have no idea what to do. Do you think that half a year and over 200 miles of distance is grounds for getting that involved? Would it even be fair of me to ask to slow down at this point?

These questions are starting to ruin me, and I’m afraid to ask anyone else. I’ll take any advice you’re willing to give.

Thanks for your time,



Dear Stressed,

First, I’m sorry that you’re feeling stressed. I know from personal experience just how uncomfortable this situation is. It sounds to me like you care for Louise a great deal, but you also feel you’re not ready to say those very important words, “I love you.” You don’t want to hurt her feelings by asking her to slow down, but you don’t want to get hurt because you rushed into something too fast, either.

Stressed, you asked me some questions. The first of those was whether I thought that half a year and over 200 miles of distance is grounds for getting “that involved.”

I’m undoubtedly biased on this point. Six months after I met the man who is now my husband online—and after spending only 20 days total in the same country—we got engaged. So, yes, I think it’s entirely possible to get that involved after only seven months and over a far greater distance than 200 miles.

The second question you asked me was this: “Would it even be fair of me to ask her to slow down at this point?”

Stressed, what is “fair” is only part of the issue here. The deeper thing you need to consider is what you “need” and why you’re feeling this internal pressure to slow things down.

Your desire to slow down suggests one of two things to me—either you really do need some more time and space to sort out what you’re feeling, or you need to work harder to push past your own fear of, as you put it, “getting burnt.”

Given that you say that you actually do think that you love this woman, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that it’s mostly the latter.

I don’t think that the best way to push past your fear is to continue saying “I love you” when you’re not feeling quite ready for that. But if you care for Louise as much as it sounds like you do, you do need to move forward in some way. For starters, you need to ask yourself what saying “I love you” means to you. Why is that phrase making you nervous? What commitment do you feel that you’re making, exactly? What do you think those words will lead Louise to expect from you? And if you’re not ready to say “I love you” what are some other ways you could take a step forward in your relationship?

Now I have a question for you, Stressed: Why haven’t you met face to face yet?

Seven months is a long time to invest in forming a meaningful connection with someone without ever meeting them face to face. And two hundred miles is actually not that far apart. Unless you’re both fifteen or incredibly broke, you could easily have made a face-to-face meeting happen before this. Why haven’t you?

I’m guessing that the tension you’re feeling now is less related to the phrase “I love you” and more related to the fact that you know you’re at a cross-roads with this woman. You either have to commit to moving forward in some way—no matter how scared or scarred you feel—or you need to stop wasting her time, and yours.

I don’t know what moving forward might look like to you, but I suggest that meeting face to face would be a good place to start.

Oh, and talk this over with Louise. Sure, she will probably feel stung if you tell her that you’re not quite sure you’re ready for the words “I love you.” But I suspect her hurt will be short-lived if you can also tell her that you care deeply for her, that you want to keep moving forward in your relationship, and what you’d like that to look like. But after you’ve gathered up your courage to have this conversation, don’t forget to also ask her about her thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the topic. And listen well.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you won’t let your choices be guided by your fears–fear is rarely a trustworthy navigator. And I don’t know what the future holds for you, but I hope you and Louise end up closer and stronger down the road.

May this crossroad be the first one you face together, but not the last.


Comments 4

  1. I’ve been Kik in it with someone from an online dating site we’ve been chatting for about 2 months and he has asked me to send him iTunes card. And now he says he needs to send me some stuff. He’s a captain of a sailing ship and he’s on his way to Australia. He told me that he loved me within the first 2 weeks. And insists that he loves me.we are supposed to meet in September when he gets back from Australia. I have not sent him any money or cards. I do love him. I just want to know what you think.

    1. Post

      Oooohhhhh…. I think be very, very careful. Why would he need you to send him iTunes cards? If he’s got online access he can buy them for himself. And don’t give him your address. It’s POSSIBLE he is what he says he is, but there really aren’t that many “captains of sailing ships” out there, so something seems off. Just be careful, OK?

  2. Hi Lisa,
    Your advices and opnions to Stressed situation are very good to me.
    Stressed you may can help me what to do!
    I’m from Brazil but I’m living in Ireland over 9 years and I’ve just met online a guy from Sourh Africa and I wish it was only a few hours by plane, like going to France, UK, Spain, Portugal but it’s 12.000 miles.
    Have I heard and said “I’m in love with you? and/or I love you?” Yes I did.
    Lisa, what advice would you give me as I do have strong feelings for him. We both have adult and married children and we both are happy with ourselves but we both were on a dating website looking for someone from anywhere in the work to may spend the rest of our lives together!
    He’s saying that we’ll meet soon :))
    I’m very interested in investing in our relationship but I really need him to come over !
    Should I invite him?
    What if he asks me to go over to SA?


    1. Post

      Sure, invite him. That’s what I say. It sound like you’ve got strong chemistry (although you may have rushed some things because of that chemistry) and you’ll probably always wonder if you don’t meet. So you could invite him and see where that goes. If he is hesitant to even visit to meet up, that’s a pretty strong indication that he’s not at all open to moving if things get serious, so you’ll need to take that into account… What’s happened in the last couple of weeks.

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