Am I the only person who thinks saying “I love you” to your significant other for the first time isn’t that big of a deal? People ask silly questions like, “BUT WHEN DO YOU KKNOW IT’S REALLY LOVE?” and I wanna just scream and shake them while screaming, “When you’re climaxing together on an Indian summer night? When they buy you a pack of gum at the bodega? WHENEVER. Geez!”
I’m not downplaying the significance of falling in love. On the contrary, it’s a major, important thing. But I feel like when it comes to who says “I love you” first, people tend to become delicate little flowers who make arbitrary rules and overanalyze everything. In my experience, there’s never been an “a-ha!” moment for love. It’s subtle and growing. It doesn’t just show up on your doorstep one day. I think people really give this moment too much power.
Think about all the things you love. I, for instance, love iced tea, magazines, my parents, Los Angeles, and Sour Patch Kids. Now did I freak out about any of these things? Did I approach Sour Patch Kids all timidly and be like, “Sour Patch Kids, I have something to tell you. I…I…oh I simply can’t say it!” No, I understood it immediately. I loved Sour Patch Kids and that was that. The end.
Of course comparing your love for a human being to a delicious sour candy is sort of ridiculous. But why can’t love be a little more simple like that? Why do we have to second guess ourselves and shame spiral if we accidentally say “I love you” first? Furthermore, why do we always question whether or not we actually do love someone? Why can’t we just accept it as is? If you think you love someone, chances are you probably do. That’s it. Why do we build it up so much?
People are so scared to say it because they’re afraid of rejection. They’re afraid that the feelings won’t be reciprocated and they’ll be totally embarrassed. “Oh shoot! I fell in love with you before you fell in love with me. I won the race—the one race you never want to win!” But WHATEVER. You were being honest. You felt love for this person and wanted to show it. What’s the crime there? Why should we feel insecure about it?
I think we forget how easy it for us to actually love someone. It’s just a natural progression for us when we care about someone. When it has to do with friends, we often don’t even think about it. “Oh yeah, I love my best friend. Duh.” So why do the rules change with our boyfriends and girlfriends? We love people for a living. That’s what we’re wired to do. It’s why we sign up for OKCupid and buy nice jeans and get expensive haircuts. It’s so we can increase our chances of being loved by someone and loving them in return. We all have so much love to give. We were born with it. And when we have no one to give it to, that’s when things can get #dark. Not loving anyone is something to be afraid. Not the converse.
So my advice is this: If you feel like you love someone, you probably do so you should just say it. Life is too short to not let the people we know that we love them, even if we’re not entirely sure they love us back. Like the theme song to the Josie & The Pussycats says, “I love you” is just three small words that we’ve managed to blow up to a size 40 font.