Q: I’ve been with my boyfriend for three months. Things are going really well, and I feel myself falling for him. I want to tell him, but I’m afraid it’s too soon. When is the right time to say I love you?

A: Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule for this one. The safe option would be to wait until he says it first. Then you can be sure you’re not rushing things and won’t scare him when you say it back. The problem with this is you could be waiting a while. It’s not necessarily that he doesn’t feel the same way; sometimes guys just need more time to vocalize.

Actions can speak louder than words. Do you see love in the way he treats you? Is he openly affectionate in public as well as private? Has he introduced you to his friends and family? If you look closely enough, he may be telling you he loves you every day—just not out loud. Recognizing the love in his gestures can give you the patience you need to wait for the words.

If you’re absolutely bursting at the seams and have to tell him, take the plunge. If you feel that strongly, he’s probably been giving you all the nonverbal cues to get you to this point and will receive it well. At least this way, all the cards will be on the table, and you will know where you stand in your relationship. Even if he’s not ready to say it back yet, it’ll open up communication and give you the chance to get on the same page.

And okay, if you want a straight answer, I would advise waiting until the sixth month mark. At that point, you’ll have been together a long time and will know this isn’t a passing thing for him. Six months in, you deserve to know how he feels in specific terms. Good luck!

~ Katie Kenyhercz, author of On the Fly