What to Do When You Say “I Love You” Too Soon

Hi Em & Lo,

I just started dating this guy and recently we were making out, it was going well, he started to go down on me. I wanted to tell him “I love it when you go down on me” but it came out as ” I love you..when you do that.” He paused for a second and just continued. I felt like such a dork!  The thing is, I know I don’t love this guy. We’re a new thing and I like him, but not that way. What do you when you get yourself tangled up in situations like this?

— Mortified

Dear Morty,

You dig a hole in the sand and bury your head in it for a few weeks until the humiliation wears off. At least, that’s what you wish you could do when you get yourself tangled up in a situation like this. Here are four real-world options for people in these circumstances (though, sadly, since the moment has no passed, they won’t all apply to you):

  1. In the moment: You could laugh it off right then and there. Joke that you swear that wasn’t a Freudian slip, just an innocent slip of the tongue. “Oh my god, total slip of the tongue! Nothing to worry about, carry on, carry on.” Pros: You allay any of his fears right then and there, so they don’t snowball into bad sex or a premature breakup. Cons: You interrupt the sexual moment, which might throw some people (or their penises) for a loop, and risk protesting too much, turning an already awkward situation into a painful one (painful like the answering machine scene in Swingers).
  2. Immediately after the sex: As you’re both lying there, catching your breath, or putting your clothes back on, you lightheartedly say, “Remember what I said when you were going down on me? Yeah, that was just a genuine slip of the tongue — I meant to say ‘I love it when you go down on me’ — so you don’t have to worry about me wanting you to meet my parents or move in anytime soon.” Pros: It doesn’t interrupt the sex, and you nip any concerns in the bud pretty quickly. Cons: Again, you run the risk of sounding defensive, as well as insincere, like you got caught up in the moment and spoke your heart’s true feelings but now that the emotion and hormones of sex aren’t as intense, your brain is trying to rewrite history.
  3. Several dates later: You randomly bring it up when you’re in a non-sexual situation, laughing about how funny and awkward that slip of the tongue was: “Oh man, do you remember on one of our first dates, when I was trying to say ‘I love it when you do that’ and it came out ‘I love you when you do that’? Yeah, that was pretty funny. So glad you didn’t take that to heart.” Pros: Getting some distance from the event allows you to reminisce about it as if you both realized in the moment that it was an awkward slip of the tongue. In this case, you almost can rewrite history. Cons: He may have forgotten it by now, so reminding him just makes things awkward all over again. Or maybe what you said really warmed him up to you and now you’re almost insulting him by telling him you don’t love him and suggesting you never will.
  4. Now to eternity: Just don’t bring it up ever. Let him think that he misheard you and let sleeping dogs lie. And from now on, choose your words more wisely. Pros: You don’t really have to do anything. Cons: He may continue to think that you’re in love with him.

Any of these options could work, so long as they’re employed with a good sense of humor and an air of lightheartedness. Act like it’s not that big of a deal, and it won’t be.

We’re the best…Uh, we mean, we wish you the best,
Em & Lo