Is there anything more torturous than the first “I love you” in the context of a relationship? I mean, I’ve never done anal, so I can’t be entirely sure. Nevertheless, when you realize you’re in love with the person you’ve been dating, not only do you have a Jekyll and Hyde style fight to not flip the crazy switch, your life also begins to resemble a violent and strategic war game (at this point COD aficionados may rejoice), usually against no one but yourself.
Here are some questions you will find yourself asking:
- Does he / she love me too?
- Should I say “I love you” first?
- If I do, will he / she say it back?
- If I wait for him / her to say it first, will it ever happen?
- Does he / she know that I love them?
- Does he / she know that I suspect that they love me too?
- Does he / she have all the same questions as me?
- If so, will I be able to win at this stand off?
- When did this stop being about love and start being about winning?
- Am I going crazy?
You’ll find yourself analyzing every tiny nuance of their behavior. You’ll be on your guard all the time, waiting for them to drop the L bomb, and trying as you might to diffuse your own. You’ll lie awake in bed at night concocting fantasy scenarios in which you look like Anne Hathaway and you’re eating ice cream which you get on your nose, and once he (who now looks like Ryan Gosling), cleans it off he holds your face, looks deeply into your eyes and says “I love you,” at which point it starts pouring unexpectedly torrential rain like in Lost and you kiss while a rainbow forms in the distance.
You want it to be romantic—the first time one of you says it. You don’t want to broach it over dinner, or come back to it after, in fits of laughter, he / she casually throws out “OMG you’re so funny babe I love you!” in that really flippant, nothing way that will trigger all sorts of hyper-tension in you and leave your mind completely boggled. You want it to be a moment you’re going to remember and recall fondly forever, because you’re going to get married a have a billion kids or at least a puppy, and everything needs to be exactly perfect.
But here’s what I’ve come to realize from counseling many a friend through this exact situation (because obviously I’m shit and single and never going to be loved): you should just say what you feel. Loving someone isn’t about what they say back. In fact, if you really love someone, it shouldn’t matter in the slightest whether or not they love you too—you love them not as a means of asking them for something, but because you just, very simply, do.
To that end, you shouldn’t be afraid to say it. Not many people have the opportunity to love or be loved, and if you’ve allocated your affection wisely, even if your love doesn’t love you the same way, they will respect and be humbled by your proclamation. And it will probably make them feel great about themselves, which is something you should definitely want the person you love to feel.
It can be terrifying to think that someone you love doesn’t love you back, but if that fear baulks you from being demonstrative with your emotions, I think you really need to reassess those emotions to check if they’re actually real. If you think they are and you’re still mortified by the thought of saying those three little words out loud, I’ve got three little words for you: get really drunk. At least that way you can pass it off as inebriated blather or flat out pretend to not remember saying it in the morning.