Most Helpful Guy
Well I was in a similar situation to you. My girlfriend was 29, I was 20 and she was the WAY more experienced partner, as in, I had no experience, plus her last relationship lasted a couple years and ended badly. I said I love you on the first date, promptly realized what I did, backtracked like a motherfucker and uncharacteristically saved it like a pro. And then said it again no-backtrack two weeks later, which was, quote, "sweet, weird but sweet", which I took as a good sign. And it was. She said it finally five months later.
It doesn't really matter who says it first, just know that the response could vary and it may not be said back for quite a while. Being new to adult relationships and a hopelessly hopeless romantic, I didn't consider this at first and it sort of hurt but I realize now she had to get to a place where she felt safe around me and she wouldn't be hurt again. She likely felt it before, just didn't want to go through all that again.
And also as stated, I'm the hopeless romantics of hopeless romantics. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. Even if you do say it and things fall apart, is it not better that it happen now rather than anymore of your time be wasted? Take the plunge.
Most Helpful Girl
For me, it doesn't matter who said it first. Just say it if that's what you feel. If it scares him away, it only means he doesn't deserve the love you have for him and he's a coward. As what the saying goes, "The truth will set you free." It's better to let him know how you feel. But I hope everything goes well though 😊