A man said he loved me on a first date, and then he took it back

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.

It was awkward, and it was a lie.

I can't remember where we went or what we did on our first date. What I remember is going back to his house afterward and standing in front of his bedroom window when he kissed me and told me he loved me.

Although I felt stunned at his premature declaration of love, I said it back. I didn't know what else to do.

Hearing a man say he loved me on a first date felt strange and out of place. It wasn't flattering; it was terrifying.

Hearing myself say the words back was even worse.

Just when I thought the date couldn't get any more awkward, he said these words:

"I don't really love you. I just wanted to see what you'd say."


So, how did that first date go? Awkward, to say the least. I had expected some butterflies and excitement as we got to know each other better, but instead, I found myself grappling with his sudden declaration of love and his immediate and devastating retraction.

Not only had this man put me on the spot by saying he loved me, but he had made me look bad when I said it back. Now, I looked like the one who was jumping the gun.

Sure, I could have admitted that I lied, too, but I didn't know which was worse: saying I love you on a first date or admitting it wasn't true.

I decided not to say anything at all.

I can't imagine any scenario where saying those three words on a first date would be appropriate. Saying them on a lark because you want to put your date on the spot and force a reaction is even worse.

I'd like to say I never saw him again, but that would be as much of a lie as saying, "I love you, too" on our first date.

We actually dated for nearly a year. During that year, we successfully revisited those three words, and the next time we said, "I love you" to each other, we meant it.

After that awkward first date, I wasn't sure how to proceed. The man claimed he loved me, only to take it back when I returned the sentiment. It was a strange and unsettling experience, and one that made me question whether saying "I love you" too early was always a mistake.

Saying "I love you" on a first date can be premature and off-putting, but if you both feel the same way, it can also be incredibly magical. It's all about timing and knowing your partner. If you're not sure whether it's the right time, wait a little longer and see how things develop.

When it comes to love, saying it too soon can be just as damaging as waiting too long. The key is to find the right time for you and your partner. Either way, if you mean it, there's nothing wrong with saying those three words on a first date.

Nonetheless, proceed with caution. It isn't right for everyone.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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