By Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher for Project Soulmate

One of the biggest and perhaps scariest questions that arise when you begin to date someone new is determining when to say those three big words, “I love you.” But how do you know when it’s the right time to say it? Here are the key pieces of dating advice to keep in mind before putting your heart on the line.

Dating advice on the right time to say I love you.

Make sure its love. This may seem like an obvious point, but when you first start dating someone, you mistake lust for love. Before you say it, realize there are no take backs. You can’t say it one day and change your mind the next. If you are going to say it, make sure you really feel like you love the person and have the feeling that they love you too. Are you excited to spend time with the person and get to know them on a deeper level? Do you feel completely yourself around this person? These are questions that you should ask yourself before taking the plunge.

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Can you let your guard down? Often times when you start out dating someone, it is easy because you haven’t fully opened up to one another. Make sure that you are prepared to let your guard down and open up to this person. Also make sure you are willing to listen and not judge when your partner opens up to you.

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How long have you been dating? There is no set number of weeks or months that you need to abide by before saying I love you, but it should be long enough where you have spent enough time together to really get to know each other and fall in love. Also make sure enough time has passed that you aren’t going to freak your partner out or cause relationship problems.

For more advice on love and relationships from relationship experts, check out our website.