Dear 100 Hour Board,
So I've heard that saying the words "I love you" for the first time can advance a relationship or bring it to a screeching halt. If you feel that way about your significant other, but not sure if they feel the same way should you just say it, hint at it, or what?
How long have the two of you been dating? How do you love her? Do you feel like she loves you? I mean, ultimately if you say it, there's going to be a chance that she won't feel the same way back. But you know, most of the time if the guy is ready to say it, the girl is ready to hear it. And even if she's not ready to say it back, hearing it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you know that if she doesn't say it back right away, that doesn't mean she never will. In my opinion it's worse for her to say it back and not mean it than to not say it at all.
One way to test the waters is to say something like, "I really, really like you." It's less confrontational and allows her to say something like, "Well, I really really like you too!" or, "Thanks, I kinda like you." If she gives you a big smile or something, you can probably go for the "love" word. Keep in mind that different people have different ideas about what saying "I love you" means. Some people might have a hard time saying it back because they don't feel sure about their feelings.
Just remember, as soon one party in a relationship establishes an equal or greater attachment, the other party has all the power.
I really like what Lavish said: "And even if she's not ready to say it back, hearing it isn't necessarily a bad thing." Is it a bad thing to love? Can you love too much? I don't think so (I don't think you can love too much, I think there's a lot of distortions on what love actually is). If anything, it will get her thinking. She'll either be able to reciprocate (at that point or, again as Lavish said, at some point in the future) or she'll realize that she never would be able to (in a romantic unabridged love sorta way). If she can't say it back and mean it at some point then it's good that the relationship ends. Being in a relationship with someone that could never love you (unabridged) is very not-sexy.
-Castle in the Sky