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Love Letters

I barely know him and he just said those three words

Is this a red flag? Should I talk to him about my reaction?

I’ve been talking to a guy I met on Hinge for about a month and a half. I genuinely like him and feel like I’ve known him for much longer. We hung out before COVID-19 quarantining happened, and FaceTimed several times after. Since we’ve both had minimal contact with other people, we decided to hang out again in person. I went to his place, and we immediately had a lot of contact, if you know what I mean. I felt comfortable enough to have sex, and asked how far he wanted to go. He wanted to wait, which is completely OK.

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As things slowed down, he had this look on his face like he wanted to say something. So I asked him and he finally started this speech about how he cares about me and thinks I’m smart and funny — all very sweet things — and ends this list with “I love you.” It’s been a little over a month! I didn’t really know what to say, and I’m not sure what to think. Can he really mean that after so little time? Is it a red flag? How do I discuss this with him? It feels pretty crazy.

– Confounded in Boston

A. A few weeks ago, a letter writer asked when he should say those three words to his girlfriend of a year. My advice was “Whenever!” I said he should be casual and just let it out.

Reading your letter, I found myself yelling “not now!”—kind of like I was watching a horror movie. Six weeks is a blip.

Still, my advice for you is similar to what I told that other person. “I love you” can mean many things, so it’s best to find out what message this man intended. Ask him to be as specific as possible. As the great Lois Lowry would say, “precision of language.” (Everyone, go read The Giver.)

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If he meant “I see so much potential here,” that’s great—because it sounds like you see potential, too. If he believes he’s found his soul mate, yeah, you can throw a yellow flag, at the least. You want to be with someone who’s mature enough to understand he’s still getting to know you.

You can help by being honest. Tell him you like him a lot but want to give the relationship room to grow.

Also, I have to wonder how the pandemic is affecting people’s communication right now. I’m feeling extra love for just about everybody these days. Friends, family, the person who delivered four bottles of Riesling to my house. Maybe the state of the world has something to do with his big feelings, and why he decided to share them now.

– Meredith

READERS RESPOND

The pandemic can have this effect on anyone, so take with a grain of salt and enjoy your time together. JNEWCOMER27

I personally would not say a thing. I would just keep going as you are and things will work themselves out or not. LEFTYLUCY

I knew I loved my husband after six weeks. And no, we weren’t seeing each other, or even talking to each other, every day. That was 28 years ago. It’s possible. ASH

Yeah, but did you announce those three words six weeks in? HARRISBSTONE

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Yes, Harris. ASH

Catch Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.