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"I love you" can be very hard to say, because for some people it seems to "change things". Your partner might feel that once you say those words, you both will now only see each other, and be on the road to engagement and marriage. Even though he/she might FEEL the words, he/she may therefore be really afraid of SAYING those words, because of the permanent commitment they imply. Some people feel, once the words are spoken, that the relationship is different, and that you both might start acting much differently.
Look at your own feelings first - do *you* think things should be different if you admit your love to each other? Does this mean you should start thinking about moving in, or getting married? If you do feel that way, your partner probably senses it. Figure out first how you honestly feel about the relationship. Then find a time to sit down quietly with your partner, and talk about the words, and what they mean. You'll find things are much smoother once you both realize what is going on.