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“I love you” on a first date - is it really a red flag?


RedCrayon360
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Just something I’ve thought about a lot, but is it always a sign of trouble when someone claims to love you on a first date/meet?

 

Most times, I feel it could be considered a red flag when someone says that without getting to know you properly. Especially if the person comes across super sweet or strong. It could be someone you’ve met online, through friends/family or via events/activities/the bar. Can be easy to worry whether the person you’re hanging out with is a player, sociopath, gaslighter or some sort of emotional manipulator. And wondering whether it’s worth taking that risk having a second date (or hook-up/sleepover) with them.

 

And then yet, some claim it really is love at first sight with some of the people they meet and end up in genuine successful relationships. I know there are times I swear I had developed feelings for someone on a first meet and believed I was falling in love with them. Definitely not just sexual feelings, and no intentions of playing games with the people I was convinced I was falling hard for. But maybe it could have just been (mostly) lust.

 

Therefore, while I think it could be possible, can you really trust anyone at all that says “I love you” on a first date? And have any of you ever pursued those sort of people, or felt like you were in love with someone on a first meet/date? (Guess it does also depend on circumstances and whether the person might exhibit any other possible ‘red flags’).

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Just something I’ve thought about a lot, but is it always a sign of trouble when someone claims to love you on a first date/meet?

.

How many times has it happened to you?

 

Are you looking for advice on a specific situation? or you are just putting it out there?

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Well I separate "I love you" from "I'm in love with you"

 

 

I think you can love a person you just met. You can appreciate and love their existence and who they are as a person. If someone said I Iove you on a first date, I'd take it as them saying that they love who I am or what I've represented myself to be during the date. I don't think it would scare me off necessarily but I'd obviously understand that we're not getting married tomorrow morning. It doesn't mean the person is "IN LOVE" with me.

 

I see "I love you" as: I love YOU. The things that makes YOU, you. I love your existence. I love who you are...etc

 

I see "I'm in love with you" as: I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU. You're the only one for me. Soulmates. Marry me. Blah blah blah. Stuff like that

 

 

Some people are more expressive and they feel the need to express various forms of love and appreciation for others. I was raised by a pastor and so I have different levels of love that I give others. "I love you. God loves you" was kind of something that was tossed around so I'm able to separate I love you from I'm in love with you. It wouldn't scare me off

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I don't believe in love at first sight but I do believe that it's possible to know that when you meet someone, you are meant to get to know that person and have some type of relationship with them... whether it's a friendship or romantic relationship, I personally tend to operate on intuition and gut feelings (and sometimes nudges from my spirit guides) about these sorts of things. I think some people are comfortable expressing and feeling love sooner than others it's true, however I would find it very suspect if a complete stranger were to declare their love for me without even knowing who I am.

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Wait—this happens? Like, after middle school?

 

I don’t mean that to sound flip. I literally mean: are adults out there professing love on a first date?

 

Or is this something that recently happened to you and you’re trying to unpack it?

I don't think anyone is professing love but we're in a very mushy generation where people are expressing love and appreciation early on but not necessarily attaching it to "being in love"
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Well...I mean this can depend a bit on context and personality. There is the big "L", as in "I Love you." and it's serious and meaningful and then there is the little "l", as in this person just loooves everything and everyone. It's kind of meaningless and is used more like a casual "I like" that just gets thrown around. Hard to tell from your post if you might be taking something casual way too seriously.

 

That said, if someone says "I love you" in an implied serious way on a first date, I'd run like the wind. Yes, they aren't emotionally healthy, but more than that, I'm not interested in dating someone who is in love with a fantasy of who I am. Yup, there is no love at first sight, although there is definitely lust at first sight and sometimes that lust turns to more so you have those stories. Unfortunately most of the time it doesn't turn to anything but a burn hot and fast and burn out equally fast mess. The whole, but I've felt it as more than just lust.....you don't know the person at all, so anything you feel more than is just fantasy of who you think/want them to be. Nothing to do with the real person in front of you.

 

True love is a more quiet emotion, stronger, more patient. It takes time to develop and takes true getting to know the person - their bad days, arguments, their best and their worst, and so on.

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When you meet someone, you can develop various levels of love (or not)........a high level of love could feel like love at first sight - but you won't be totally "in love" for 7 to 8 weeks.... and that's only if things continue to go just right with dating him or her.

 

Saying "I love you" on a first date is weird. Even if you have a huge crush on them, most people are more reserved, and don't let it out until much later - until they fall in love totally, and open up to their partner completely.

 

And some guys hardly ever say it. Whatsamatter, you no lika Squint Eastwood?!

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I'd take it as tongue in cheek and flirting. You're a bit uptight, RedCrayon. Laugh it off and just tell them you love ....their hair. They'll get the message. If it's serious, I probably wouldn't reply so as not to make the other person feel awkward or hurt. If they text or call I'd ignore it. I don't feel like this warrants a conversation.

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I'd take it as tongue in cheek and flirting. You're a bit uptight, RedCrayon. You overthink a bit too much. Laugh it off and just tell them you love ....their hair. They'll get the message.
I don't think she should completely disregard someones feelings and laugh them off. I think she can accept what someone is saying and realize that it doesn't mean he's IN LOVE with her. Instead of saying you love their hair she can say "so far, I love who you are as a person too" etc. It almost weighs the same as her saying I love you back, brings in appreciation for the other person but doesn't give off any solid commitments
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I don't think she should completely disregard someones feelings and laugh them off. I think she can accept what someone is saying and realize that it doesn't mean he's IN LOVE with her. Instead of saying you love their hair she can say "so far, I love who you are as a person too" etc.

 

It is still strange, as they do not know the individual.

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People that claim it was “love at first sight” only say that in hindsight. They have NEVER expressed it at the time ever.

 

So does it actually exist? Highly unlikely.

 

Try to find any existing couple that actually uttered those words on first meet!

You will struggle to.

 

But you will find many people who did utter those words on first meet, dated for a significant time but didn’t last.

 

So yes it is a red flag.

 

And one to heed!

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I don't think she should completely disregard someones feelings and laugh them off. I think she can accept what someone is saying and realize that it doesn't mean he's IN LOVE with her. Instead of saying you love their hair she can say "so far, I love who you are as a person too" etc. It almost weighs the same as her saying I love you back, brings in appreciation for the other person but doesn't give off any solid commitments

 

I understand.... just not how I roll. Yes, I'd laugh it off and yes, I wouldn't respond to any other texts or calls. Inherently, to answer your question, I think it's socially inept and awkward to begin with someone who starts off with that will get mostly silence from me. They'd have to learn on their own time. I'm not that person's mama.

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I don't think she should completely disregard someones feelings and laugh them off. I think she can accept what someone is saying and realize that it doesn't mean he's IN LOVE with her. Instead of saying you love their hair she can say "so far, I love who you are as a person too" etc. It almost weighs the same as her saying I love you back, brings in appreciation for the other person but doesn't give off any solid commitments

 

It’s not about whether she or he is to disregard someone’s feelings. Do we even know the OP’s gender?

There are no feelings. It’s about disregarding words only.

 

The OP didn’t ask for advice on how to respond to those words .

In fact the person uttering those words are disregarding the other and being very superficial.

And that IS something to be concerned about.

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I guess it depends on the context.

 

Is it a situation where you said something funny or your date discovered you like something obscure in common with them and they proclaim jokingly “omg! I love you!” As you would with a stranger in a fun lighthearted situation

 

Or was it a serious I love you situation.

 

Given your history you truly need to start guarding your heart better. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice... if you ignore red flags and just go for it in dating you then have to take ownership for the failures which if red flags are ignored will be aplenty.

 

Would I think it was ok? No

 

Do I think you personally should think it’s ok? No

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With all due respect, rchubn, there is nothing generational about this. Is there maybe something generational in your myopic assumption that the poster is of your generation? Yeah, sure, but that's for a different discussion.

 

Anyhow, if on a first date someone is making a grand profession of love—"I know it's crazy that we just met and all, but I love you!"—then to me that's just a sign of emotional immaturity, emotional instability, and/or a very limited grasp of language. Probably a little shake from all those spices in the red flag cabinet.

 

I'm going to stick with that case study, for these purposes, since I suspect it's something like that that's behind this post.

 

Now, before I get pegged as the man with a heart of ice—or the old man, from rchubn, with an ice cube where the kids have mushy hearts—I believe it's totally possible to share a profound connection with someone you just met. Combine a great conversation with feral attraction and sexual chemistry—and, well, that there is pretty special. I know those feelings well. I—gulp—love those feelings. The blood warms, the butterflies start flapping, the whimsical framer who resides in all our brains starts watering fantasies, and suddenly some wild thoughts and feelings are budding.

 

It can even feel a lot like love, just like if you give me some LSD it can feel like the paint on my walls is the single most beautiful color on planet earth. I use the metaphor not simply to be funny. Because this form of love is the drug—and, like all drugs, it must be enjoyed responsibly. Responsible means knowing you're on drugs rather than confusing drugs with reality. Stare at the wall, enjoy the color, but don't go to the paint store, cash in your life savings, and paint every surface everywhere that color, you dig? Saying "I love you" the second you feel a little hit is basically the same thing.

 

Because real love, actual love, is something else. It's sturdier. It's essentially trusting time to let you know how illusory those fluttery feelings were. Do they continue to develop and expand as you, you know, actually get to know the person? Or do they fade?

 

Most of the time they fade, which is why it's best not to try to define them right away. Someone in a rush to label them—someone reaching for the biggest of all labels the moment a butterfly flaps one wing—well, I'm sorry, but that is someone who is very, very thirsty for feeling. It's drug-seeking behavior, using another person to get high, to escape into the clouds, and so, to answer OP's question, I would be wary. And if I had a history of meeting people trigger-happy on the "I love you" front—and maybe getting a little burned up in the process—I'd be taking a minute to think about that instead of looking for the exception to the rule.

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Anyhow, if on a first date someone is making a grand profession of love—"I know it's crazy that we just met and all, but I love you!"—then to me that's just a sign of emotional immaturity, emotional instability, and/or a very limited grasp of language. Probably a little shake from all those spices in the red flag cabinet.

 

This.

 

I have yet to meet someone who proclaims love that early on and turned out to be a well-adjusted, emotionally-mature adult.

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How many times has it happened to you?

 

Are you looking for advice on a specific situation? or you are just putting it out there?

It happened to me once when I met someone in Wales (someone I recently broke up with, as both the long distance and some of the possible controlling-like behaviour was putting me off a bit), though it sounded genuine.

 

Otherwise just putting it out their, really, although interested in other people’s experiences and opinions, too.

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I think it's one thing to feel like you love someone very quickly, but another thing to actually say it.

 

Love is such a mystery, who's to say what emotions someone is feeling/experiencing at any given time; I've felt powerful emotions very quickly, thought it was love but until I spent enough time with that person to know exactly what those feelings were, love or something else, I kept to myself.

 

I think someone who blurts out their feels on a first date is someone I need to stay away from!

 

It reflects poor impulse control, lack of good judgment and good common sense, imo.

 

Or they're fantasy-driven.

Edited by katrina1980
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It's called 'love bombing' for a reason. Speaking of love to a stranger doesn't really say anything about feeling anything for 'YOU' at all--it's speaks of falling in love with a fantasy they've created 'about' you.

 

From there it's on you to try to live up to some imaginary high bar in order to keep the fantasy alive without popping it, and without even knowing the person well enough to anticipate whatever mine fields might make it go ~poof!~. That's a pretty high stress place to live.

 

I'd skip that. I'd be turned off, because my primary foundation for loving someone is respect, and I'd have a pretty difficult time holding respect for anyone who'd display such lousy judgment from the gate.

 

If I were the one finding myself falling head over heels for a stranger, I'd at least have the common sense not to insult whatever intelligence I've projected onto him by opening my mouth and showing him that in addition to living in my head, I've also failed to learn the practical life skills of discretion and self control.

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I have had love at first sight happen to me once over a decade ago. It hit me like a freight train the second my eyes met his and it had absolutely nothing to do with lust in terms of what I was feeling. It wasn't sexual in nature (though of course there was a physical attraction), it was deeply emotional--I don't know how to explain it to someone who hasn't had it happen to them. I think you don't believe in it until it's happened, but I never expect it to occur again. I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing; on a personal spiritual level, I believe it has to do with shared past life experiences with the person. It was different from meeting some people that you feel an instant rapport or connection with that can grow into love. I never actually said "I love you" on a first date and I never would, but I know I'll always care about this particular person regardless of whether they're in my life.

 

If someone told me they loved me on a first date if I hadn't known them previously/been friends with them prior to dating, I would consider that to be a red flag in general. Most people know love takes time to cultivate and that you don't truly know someone until you've seen them weather life experiences together.

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