When two people are in love, it generally doesn't matter who says "I love you" first. If you're not sure if your partner is doing the same as you are, you can still tell them how you are feeling – just think about why you are doing it. If you just want to let them know where your heart is and you don't mind whether or not your feelings are reciprocated, go for it.
"There is so much taboo about what 'I love you' means and who we say it to," says Brown-James. "I suggest taking some time to understand your feelings. Appreciating your feelings of vulnerability is risky and can be scary. However, it's a way of building intimacy."
Even so, Manly points out that these three little words can carry a lot of weight to some people. So it is worth considering how your confession could affect her and your relationship. "A person's declaration of love can bring a 'not-ready' person closer, but it can also put someone off," she says.
If making the other person love you back is important to you, Manly recommends paying attention to the body language clues, as well as the other types of language they use to describe how they feel about you. "Couples often test one another by looking for keywords like" I'm capturing feelings for you, "" I really like you, "or" I feel so close to you, "she says. "Notice if those precursors to 'I love you' are in the game. If so, it may be the right time to express how you are feeling."