Saying "I love you" or "Ich liebe dich" - how soon is too soon?

38 posts in this topic

3 minutes ago, jeba said:

There is a 4th option: let him read this thread.

hahahah BRAVE :D

 

after reading this myself, I will probably wait a while because I don't feel an immediate urge to make this topic a big deal between him and I (I know he cares through his actions, and that's what matters most), and after some time whenever it is a natural feeling moment, I will probably ask him directly what the words mean for him individually, and what he needs to feel to know he's in love... and kind of take it from there. I think after reading this I've learned there's no one size fits all German when it comes to saying these words, so I should just ask him specifically when the time is right

 

I did ask before if he's ever been in love and both times he made this big face and said "ooof" like clearly its a rare and big deal to him, so I feel like I only know that when he says it he will really mean it, and I would rather not put him on the spot or pressure him to say it until he is truly ready 

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It may seem a tough call, but if you really feel you love him- say it, talk about it, and see how he feels. 

Nothing wrong in being upfront, and seeing how your future plans may gel with his.

 Not just Germans who do not demonstrate their feelings as much as Americans.  Many Europeans do not feel the need to

constantly  say these out loud!

Good luck!

 

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as I read through this thread I thought to myself... boy, I must have never really analyzed my relationships enough to get a total understanding of what I was about to throw myself into...

 

Or could it be that OP here is just overthinking things a little?

 

I was born and raised in Germany, but spent a total of 17 years (3 of them childhood years) in the USA. I (seriously) dated about a dozen men - guys from Germany, the US, Spain, France, the UK, and Italy. My first marriage ended in a (peaceful and expensive) divorce after 14 years. I met my current husband 23 years ago, and we've been married for over 16 years. I'm telling you this so you can judge my level of expertise as far as saying "I love you", "ich liebe Dich", "te quiero", "ti amo", or "je t'aime".

 

It's true that different cultures, languages, or people give those words a different color, taste, weight, or place in life. It matters, when you say it, where you say it, how you say it, to whom you say it, and why you say it. But - no matter when, how, why, or whatever else - the more you think about it, try to plan it, want it to be perfect in every possible way, the more you'll ruin it for yourself and the other person. 

 

My advice here would be: relax! There is no "too soon" (but there may be a "too late"). If you feel it, just say it. 

 

On a lighter note - here's a little funny detail that my husband and I still laugh about occasionally: we met online (at a time when that wasn't really a thing yet). He lived in the US, I lived in Germany. He didn't speak a word of German. My English was a little rusty from lack of use. We mostly just typed/chatted - video and sound was a bit too much for my 56k modem. One night he wanted to know how to say "I love you" in German, so that he could say it in German. So I spoke slowly into my microphone "ich liebe Dich". Then there was this pause on his end... and then he typed: "what was that? ...itch leaves ditch??" 

 

Ever since then we would sometimes ask each other "how's my itch in the ditch today?"

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My husband said ich liebe dich is reserved for partners while ich hab dich lieb is for everyone else 🤷🏿‍♀️🤷🏿‍♀️
 

In the 6 years before meeting my husband and dabbing dated a few Germans, I’ve found that when German men are into you, they let.you.know. My husband told his family about me a week after we meet. 
 

We were engaged a year after meeting and married 8 months after getting engaged and had a baby two years later. But we also met in our mid-30s, so there wasn’t much pussyfooting around, no pun intended 😂

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4 minutes ago, Santitas said:

I’ve found that when German men are into you, they let.you.know. My husband told his family about me a week after we meet. 

They question is how he intoduced you. As his current "Lebensabschnittsgefährtin" (as I once heard a guy calling his girlfriend)?

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cultural concerns travel both ways.  expressing your feelings is not the same as country-specific table manners.  if you both lived in the US right now would you have the same reservations or do 'home rules' apply?  there's no downside being honest.

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I can’t help remembering a coffee break conversation at a school I was working in in London... the teacher was English, maybe 25 years old , and three Italian students - maybe also around 25-ish.

The topic was their girlfriends... the Italian guys all described their girlfriends as “ wonderful “, “ fantastic “, “ incredible.”

They asked the English teacher.. his reply? “ She’s ok.”

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2 hours ago, jeba said:

"Lebensabschnittsgefährtin"

This does sound very short-term (I know it can go on for yonks...)

 

In our case (me British, then 32; she German then just sort of 26, also a computer person) we were saying "Tschuess" in the car park before the entrance to her flat (I can't recall the occasion - maybe we had a days outing to Wyk auf Föhr - by air (me flying)) when she suddenly leapt into my arms & planted a kiss & then ran off.  Things went rapidly downhill from there but it still took 4 years to get her to the Standesamt. Really helped that my parents liked her.

 

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5 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

 Nonetheless, he is a "keep the peace" and "don't rock the boat" type person, while I tend to be a bit more verbally expressive

 

Well, I think we all want to know if the boat he doesn't like rocking turns out in fact to be the love boat! Good luck :)

 

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4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

Ever since then we would sometimes ask each other "how's my itch in the ditch today?"

 

My wife and I always have a laugh about misunderstandings and mistranslations..a few days ago, after a silly argument, she tried to tell me that I am stubborn (dickköpfig)..unfortunately, she said 'The problem with you is you are too dick headed' lol

 

 

 

4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:
5 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

 

 

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22 minutes ago, HEM said:

This does sound very short-term (I know it can go on for yonks...)

 

In our case (me British, then 32; she German then just sort of 26, also a computer person) we were saying "Tschuess" in the car park before the entrance to her flat (I can't recall the occasion - maybe we had a days outing to Wyk auf Föhr - by air (me flying)) when she suddenly leapt into my arms & planted a kiss & then ran off.  Things went rapidly downhill from there but it still took 4 years to get her to the Standesamt. Really helped that my parents liked her.

 

You are tall! She had to leap! Bless her!🙏🏻

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4 hours ago, jeba said:

They question is how he intoduced you. As his current "Lebensabschnittsgefährtin" (as I once heard a guy calling his girlfriend)?

Lol, I would’ve have married him if that were the case. 

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9 hours ago, ExPattheDog said:

So first I would start by saying, every relationship is different so I recognise what the cultural standards are might not apply directly to my individual person. However, I'm curious about the cultural context so I can better understand the right time to express these words. 

 

I've been seeing a guy for only 6 months. We spend most nights together, have met each others friends, and have gone on holiday together twice. I have no doubt from his actions (he is consistent, caring, and honest) that he genuinely feels for me. Although we have only spoken about it lightly, I think we both believe there is potential for this to evolve into the "real deal." That being said, we've known each other for only 6 months and nobody is rushing. We both prefer to take things slow, which I appreciate, because I know every step we take we are really ready for. 

 

Some cultural context: He's German, I'm American, and we're both in our early 30s. 

 

In the States, we have a very different meaning of the words "I love you" (or at least I think we do, based on what I have heard). In most of my relationships in the US, people typically say "I love you" after only 3 months. This is because in the US "I love you" means more something like "I am passionate about you" rather than "I am confident I see myself committing to you forever."

 

I realise this does not apply here, at all, and it is quite normal for couples to wait a while because "Ich liebe dich" means something more like "you're the love of my life, and I plan to commit to you forever."

 

As an American, I keep feeling the urge to tell my boyfriend "I love you," but I have held off because I realise these words carry much more weight here in Germany, and I care about him deeply so I don't want to make him feel uncomfortable by me using words he will interpret too strongly. 

 

I did say "I am starting to fall for you, does that scare you?" and he said it does not and he is as well, so I feel very emotionally secure. I am just asking this out of respect to him because I want to understand his culture better before dropping the "L bomb"

 

My question is:

When do couples in their 30s in Germany typically begin to say "Ich liebe dich" - again, every couple is unique! I'm just curious about the culture standard. I have a feeling if I said these words now it would be shockingly too soon, so I'm asking when it becomes culturally appropriate. 

 

I'm guessing its something like

3 mo: probably crazy and/or emotionally immature

6 mo: could happen, but probably too soon unless you knew someone for a while before starting to date because how well can you really know someone by then enough to know you want to commit to them?

9 mo-12mo: probably the right time

More than 12mo: something could be missing if people don't feel the meaning of "Ich liebe dich" by then

 

What do you all think? When did you and your German SO exchange these big words?

 

Cheers :)

 

 

 on a lighter note this episode of Seinfeld had some answers to this issue 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfx7izBNHeI&feature=youtu.be 

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2 hours ago, HEM said:

In our case (me British, then 32; she German then just sort of 26, also a computer person)

 

My favourite part of this - 'just sort of' - :lol::lol:

 

After being married for about half a century I would have thought you'd seen her ID and been sure!!

 

So funny. 

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10 hours ago, kiplette said:

My favourite part of this - 'just sort of' - :lol::lol:

 

That was a typo...

 

Quote

After being married for about half a century I would have thought you'd seen her ID and been sure!!

 

Actually she was born on exactly the same day as my brother.

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On 1/26/2021, 5:03:10, Santitas said:

I’ve found that when German men are into you, they let.you.know. My husband told his family about me a week after we meet. 
 

We were engaged a year after meeting and married 8 months after getting engaged and had a baby two years later. But we also met in our mid-30s, so there wasn’t much pussyfooting around, no pun intended 😂


Same for me. My German told me about 5 days after we met, and I straight up said that is not how I feel but let’s keep talking. He left my city afterwards (had just been there on a business trip) and we commenced with a long distance relationship. By the next time I saw in person, about 4 months, I felt it and told him “I love you.” We were discussing marriage a few months later, and that was that.

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Dear OP,

This is the only sensible answer I could find to your question. I hope it helps.

 

   trolley-life-cycle.jpg

 

(Cartoon by the unspeakably brilliant Australian magician, Michael Leunig)

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