When to say I love you?


So my bf and I have been dating for a little over six months. About a month ago my bf asked me if I said I love you to him but I said no you must’ve been dreaming. ( take in to account I’ve been dying to say it ) he paused for a minute then said I almost said it to you a few times then I paused and said the same. I feel like that was kinda of our way of saying “I love you” since we are both not good at the lovey dovey stuff. But I’m dying to say it. This is my first serious relationship, should I just come out and say it first?