He told me he loved me after six weeks of dating

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Hi Meredith,

I've been talking to a guy for about a month and a half who I met on on Hinge (after being inspired by the Love Letters podcast to give a dating app another whirl). I genuinely like him and feel like I've known him for much longer. He's easy to talk to and we get on so well. We hung out before all of the COVID-19 quarantining happened, and had FaceTimed several times after, as well as lots of texting. 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 with each other if you know what I mean, and at a certain point, I asked how far he was comfortable going, because at that point, I felt comfortable enough to have sex. He basically said he wanted to wait, which is completely OK.

But then, 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 on 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." We've known each other for probably six weeks; I'm very hesitant to get into things too quickly due to a difficult past relationship. Also, it’s only been a little over a month! I didn't really know what to say, and I'm not sure what to think now. How can he really mean that after such little time? Is it a red flag? How do I even go about discussing this with him, and how do I decide if I want to continue seeing him? If I do, how do I get past that? It feels like a pretty crazy situation and I need your expert advise.

– Confounded in Boston


Last week we had a letter writer ask when he should say those three words to his girlfriend, and we were all like "whenever!" We told him to say it when he felt the need to share. We told him to be casual and just let it out. That letter writer met his girlfriend last year.

As I was reading your letter, I found myself yelling "not now!" – kind of like I was watching a horror movie. I wanted to scream, "Don’t go in there!"

Six weeks is not much time. Also, your person was not very casual about this.

Still, my advice for you is similar to what I told that other letter writer. "I love you" can mean many things, so find out what message this particular man intended to share. Ask him to be as specific as possible. As the great Lois Lowry would say (everyone, go read "The Giver"), "precision of language."

If he meant "I see so much potential here," that’s great. It sounds like you see potential too. If it's,
"I've decided you're my soul mate," yeah, you can throw a yellow flag at the very least. You want to be with someone who's mature enough to understand that he's still getting to know you, and that the excitement in the early weeks of a relationship might not be sustainable long-term.

You ask how you should discuss it with him, and my advice is to bring it up whenever. Be honest. Tell him you like him a lot but want to give the relationship room to grow.

Also, just a thought, I have to wonder how the pandemic is affecting people's feelings right now. I say that as someone who's feeling a lot of 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 response to meeting someone who's keeping him company.

– Meredith

Readers? Red flag?