The L-Bomb. The four-letter word. It's a big step for almost everybody in a relationship, and it can be a daunting task to say some of the most powerful words in our language. But if you can do it and mean it, it's well worth it. Here's how to tell your girlfriend you love her.
Define love. Find out from her friends what she thinks it means, if she has said it in the past, or if she plans on saying it to you. It's such a highly-contentious word, and it's important to know what she'll think you're saying when you say it.
Find a place and a time to tell her. It should be private, dramatic or romantic, and, if possible, meaningful (like the site of your first date). But be flexible. If the moment comes before your plan is in action, say it.
Find the words. Most people prefer to use the most straightforward approach by just saying the words one right after the other. Other creative individuals will write it in candles or roses, write it in a poem or use some other such communicative device. Be yourself.
Be sincere. Don't write a poem if you're not a poet or you don't feel like you should. Choose a method that you think best suits you and your relationship.
Build up to it. Tell her how you feel, what brought you to the place you are now. Give her a context for what you're about to say so that she has some idea and won't be blindsided by something she isn't expecting.
Tell her. However you want to do it, say the words.