Tuesday, May 01, 2012

MEMO TO MEN: Saying I love you

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: The weight of I love you
DATE: May 1, 2012
I'm a words girl, boys. I guess it comes with the territory of being a writer; it's just something I can't escape. I don't mind it usually -- being so hyper-attuned to words and how they interact with each other -- and have even been known to have a favorite word or two over the years.

But there's one phrase composed of three words that has always left me conflicted, as if my stomach was being tied in knots over and over again.

I love you.
Frankly, I love you is the most emotionally charged phrase in the English language, and seeing as how you say it first in relationships, I figured we needed to have a little talk.

It should never be said lightly. It means something. It carries weight. It can't be taken back without someone's heart breaking -- or at least someone's car getting keyed, thanks to a little inspiration from Miss Carrie Underwood. Me? I don't bandy the phrase about haphazardly as if it's the newest trend. I say it...when I mean it. And only when I mean it.

You can love things with relative ease. You can love shopping. You can love watching a basketball game. You can love taking spontaneous road trips on a long weekend. But the minute you look someone in the eye and uttered the phrase I love you, there's, well, no going back from that. There's no delete button, and you can never take those words back, no matter how much you want to or no matter how much of a mistake you think it was.

Bottom line: You can't change what you said. The words have already leaped from your lips and into the ears of the other person, whether you meant to say them or not. Maybe you were caught up in the moment. Maybe you were seduced by the romantic ambiance of the restaurant. None of this really matters because at the end of the day, your reason for saying the "L" word isn't nearly as important as the simple fact that you said it. And chances are, the fact that you said it is going to linger for quite some time.
So, please, boys, proceed with caution when you find yourself in I love you territory. It can be one treacherous path. When said at the right time, I love you can be the most magical three words in the whole world, falling softly on your ears as if you've just heard them for the first time. But said in the heat of the moment creates a fire that will ultimately leave you burned and scarred. Be careful... xoxo


  1. Oh yes, this seems to be a HUGE deal these days. Though I can imagine feeling very uncomfortable if someone said it very soon, I still feel as if it's being made into too big of a problem. Like its the worst thing someone could possibly say. You can't watch a movie these days without this issue being brought up. The media is really teaching us that this is not cool.

    Anyway, nice post!

  2. It's so funny because my husband and I both knew we were in love with each other for awhile before we actually said it to each other. We both knew there was no going back after that, and we both were so tentative about saying something so important. When we were just friends, we would say "love ya!" all the time, but this was so much heavier, and meant so much more.

  3. Well said! So glad to have discovered your lovely blog!

  4. So true! I never say it unless I really mean it either. I mean, I don't even write "Love, [my name]" on birthday cards if I don't love the person. I'll use another phrase. Love is saved for my family, boyfriend, and best friends.

    The first time my boyfriend told me he loved me I didn't say it back, I just sort of smiled and gave him a thank you kiss. Sounds awful, right?! But it got me thinking on the topic and I couldn't WAIT to tell him I loved him and blurted it out on our next date.

  5. its quite irritating to hear or see people use these three words with the weight of the word okay. People nowadays, especially kids (no offense intended) seem to use it so loosely, so unattached from the meaning of the words. whew. <3 this post, one of my favorites. ^_^

  6. I'm misquoting Chris Rock but he had this bit about how during the first three months of a relationship you're not you, you are the ambassador of you. I know this doesn't apply to everyone but it definitely applied to me when I was younger. I could dates guys for weeks without actually feeling like myself. It's completely unconscious, and an awful trait, but I'd behave like I was on a job interview. I gave the right answers, asked the right questions, smiled and laughed when appropriate, feigned interest and overlooked issues whenever necessary. The sad thing is, this worked a lot and guys would be totally interested in me because I basically just became the female version of them. So they'd leave a date thinking we were perfect for each other and I'd leave the date wondering what was so fundamentally wrong with me that I couldn't just behave like myself. So obviously hearing "I love you" terrified me because they didn't love me, they loved this person I presented to them when they were around. Thank God I grew up, calmed down, and met a man so perfect for me it never occurred to me to be something different. And we had fights and disagreements and I constantly failed to be the "perfect girlfriend." And then I married him, cause I knew he loved the real me with all of my flaws and all of my passions. Sorry that was so long!

  7. Blue Eyed, that's an interesting point about it being made into more of a problem than it is. They're are a lot of shows and movies where saying I love you is a big part of the plot and it usually complicates things.

  8. stephanie, funny you should mention saying "love ya." do you watch Frasier? There was an episode about saying i love you vs. i love ya...awesome stuff!


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