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Responding To “I Love You” When You’re Not Quite Ready To Say It Back

Sure, 'I Love You' is just a three-word phrase that we tell at our friends or yell to our dog every morning before we leave the house, but it is actually a really heavy subject.
So what do you do when it isn't just an 'I love you' to a friend who just bought you coffee on a really bad day, or an 'I love you' signed at the bottom of a birthday card? What if you just aren't ready to say 'I love you too' not because you're shy but because you simply don't know if you seriously love the other person yet.

Honesty is the best policy.

You could say something like 'I care about you too' but people can be hurt when you respond to their confession with a less powerful word like 'like, care, etc.' Tell them straight up that you just aren't ready to say that yet - but that you feel like you are getting there.
And if you aren't feeling like your affection is growing at all, why are you in the relationship to begin with?
If your partner really does love you, they will wait for you to be ready. Sure, they might have hurt feelings but they should respect and understand where you're coming from. They should honestly and completely love you too.
This was my favorite response that I've heard so far:
"I think I'm falling for you too. It's too soon for me to say if I love you but I'm falling."
And if you need a Norwegian pop duo to explain your feels, here you go.
I actually had a guy once tell me "I really like you, too" back, and I got really mad! Mind you, this was back in high school, but thinking back on it I'm glad that he said that rather than saying he loved me. I think was wrong about loving him, but we never really hit "love" in our relationship, so it was probably better that we didn't imagine ourselves madly in love when we really weren't.
This is something I worry a lot about, which is also why I am NEVER the first one to say I love you. I wasn't expecting the M2M reference but I respect it!
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