A girl who just realized I love him, smiling and laughing to herself shyly.

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They don’t ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore.” – Neil Gaiman 

Falling in love can be amazing and exciting. But it can also be pretty scary if you didn’t see it coming and aren’t sure if the other person returns your feelings. Maybe you’re not feeling quite as dramatic as the quote above, but when you realize you love someone for the first time it can put you in a panic. 

If you’re in love with a guy, but aren’t sure what to do about it, there’s no need to panic. You may feel unsure about where to go from here, but consider the following:

How about telling him how you feel? 
I know, I know, it’s hard enough realizing you’re in love with someone, let alone opening up and actually letting them know about it. But, depending on your circumstances, it may be the best path forward. If you’re with someone and he’s already expressed his love for you, realizing your in love is a great thing. Once you’ve admitted it to yourself, tell him! Let him know you love him too and the two of you can decide what that means and enjoy the ride. 

If you don’t know how he feels, it may still be worth telling him. You don’t have to rent a blimp or shout it from the mountaintops, but telling him in your own way will get your feelings out there. Even if he doesn’t feel the same way about you, letting him know may be what you need to do for yourself. Letting someone know that they’re loved is a powerful, wonderful thing, regardless of what happens next. 

Be happy!
Being in love is a really great thing and you should allow yourself to feel happy about it. Naturally, it’s easier to feel happy if you can quickly let him know that you love him and he lets you know he loves you too. But even if that isn’t the case, let yourself feel happy for a minute or two—the ability to love another person is a really special and life-changing thing. Even if things don’t head into relationship territory right away (or ever) allow yourself to feel happy in your strong feelings before you have to jump into what comes next.

Ask yourself what you want.
If your situation is questionable, or you aren’t actually sure what you want from it, take some time to think about what being in love does or doesn’t mean for you. Lean on friends, family, your therapist—whoever you feel most comfortable talking to about your feelings. Make sure you’re comfortable with your own feelings before you make any decisions about how to handle them.

Be honest.
Being honest doesn’t mean you have to rush out to tell the world you’re in love. Being honest can also mean allowing yourself to be honest with yourself. Admitting you love him, asking yourself what you want and need, and facing the way you feel head on will help you navigate whatever comes next. 

Being in love isn’t something to dread, it’s something to celebrate, even quietly with yourself. Loving another person is a really big deal and you should allow yourself the space to feel good about that before making any decisions. When you’re ready, let him know—and you two will decide where to go from there. 

Jessica Tholmer

Freelance Writer

Jess Tholmer has been writing on the internet for what feels like most of her life. After studying English Literature in school, she has leaned into her degree and is a full-time content writer, social media manager, and freelance contributor to websites like HelloGiggles.com. You can find her @tholmz on Twitter and Instagram!