Thought Catalog

Why Saying “I Love You” To Someone For The First Time Shouldn’t Be That Big Of A Deal

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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. TC mark

image – quinn.anya

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    • http://twitter.com/BionicSheep BionicSheep

      jeez i don’t want to come off as some kind of old fashioned hippy i just think that if more people said they loved each other the world might be a better place awww heck did i just get all soppy or what

      • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

        Let’s take baby steps..A “I tolerate you” will suffice for now. 

    • Elly

      I love you Ryan! >.<

    • Blue Fish

      I read the title and raged. I read the article and was assuaged. 

    • hopelesslyromantic

      Well said.

    • http://iwanttheseshoes.blogspot.com Olivia Moore

      sometimes i think we share a brain. loved this article. i agree the world would be a better place if we all were more open to love.

    • Colleen

      This is a good article, but I disagree.  I’ve seen too many overly impulsive people tell their boyfriend/girlfriends they love them and then cheat on them the next day…I still think that most people who say “I love you” in relationships have no idea what love really is.

      • Morgan

        And, lets not forget, those who say I Love You to their boyfriend/girlfriend, and then their partner considers it… then thinks about it… then is just like “What? No. I like you, but not That much. Chill.”
        What then..?

        • J.C.

          then the person that said “i love you” either stays with the person and lives in heartache, or gets a brain and moves on..

      • http://revolvingdoorcommune.wordpress.com Teresa Jusino

        The thing is, there’s no one definition of “what love really is.” Two people can say “I love you” and mean two different things. The goal, I think, is to find someone who means it the same way you do and feels it for you. :)

    • Rishtopher

      I think the reason why saying “I love you” sparks so much insecurity is because you’re expecting/hoping the other person will be love you back, but sometimes they realize that they don’t. What might’ve been the time of your life for you might’ve been a phase or a fling for them. Then they realize, “Whoa, this person was serious?…Welp, time to be hittin’ the old dusty trail…”

      Where does that leave you? Hurt, alone and feeling like you were just snapped out of the best dream of your life. It isn’t the words that are a big deal, it’s the sentiments and introspection that they evoke. 

    • http://twitter.com/Nadiaaa87 Nadia

      Not only are people scared to say “I love you” first to a significant other, they’re scared to confess their feelings about anything. If you feel something positive towards another human being, I think that should, by all means, be shared as often as possible. If you find someone attractive or think your friend did something awesome or want to thank your parents for raising you, do it! Life is too short not to create and share positive moments like this. We’re too busy expressing the negative emotions- I hate this, this person sucks, she’s ugly, he’s stupid and I just wish that we’d express the positive ones with as much ease and frequency. 

      • Anonymous

        I like you

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1690980049 Uchenna Anyiam

      Haha, I see what you did there. Counter-argument to the last article… 

    • Mish

      I fuck you.

    • MC

      Can I ask what “love” even is? Do half the people who even say it know what it means? If it means something so significant why is it so conveniently reduced to one word? Maybe I’m naive because I don’t think I’ve ever personally experienced this but I just can’t agree with trivializing what I see as a complex and rich emotion into this dull, end-all word. Can somebody help me out here??

      ……BRB transferring this rant to my diary…..

      • Anonymous

        agreed, love is an action and should not be suppressed to a word. Yet  that’s precisely why the word is so bloody revered.Because as long as anybody doesn’t misuse the word carelessly as if it’s ‘like’. Then all the connotations will just rush out in that very second, which might be too much for the significant other to handle.

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      OMG, I love you, Ryan!  Have my babies.

    • J.C.

      it is a big deal because of the implications. saying i love you implies
      that there is a deep bond being shared on an emotional and physical
      level. it is a much different type of love than friendship, and if you think romantic love and friendship love is the same then that means that you could be with anyone. better luck next time..

      • http://revolvingdoorcommune.wordpress.com Teresa Jusino

        The only difference between romantic love and friendship love, really, is sex. That’s it. One element that’s different. It certainly isn’t (to me anyway) even the most IMPORTANT element of the love. Your romantic interest is pretty much your favorite friend who’s SO you’re favorite that you want to have sex with them.

        What’s funny is that people often take things “to the next level” by having sex before saying I love you. So that “big, bad, scary difference” between friendship and romantic love has already happened. Saying the words happens after the feelings have already manifested. I think the point Ryan’s trying to make is that you shouldn’t be afraid of saying what you’re already not afraid to feel. :)

        • J.C.

          ..yeah..but sex is a pretty big fucking difference. and it brings in a lot more complexity to the relationship, whether the two people involve like it or not.

        • J.C.

          i guess i am one of the few people who doesn’t first become friends with people i like in a romantic way. i just don’t see the point, if i know that i want someone i just go for them. there’s no point in acting like a platonic friend when i want more

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

          Nope. Romantic love has A LOT more to it than just “friends + sex”, at least it should.  It involves levels of commitment, caring, compromise, compassion, empathy and teamwork that go far beyond the typical friendship love.

    • CC

      This is the best I’ve read from you tbh.

    • loo

      I think love is definitely more of a capacity than it is an emotion. It’s about maintaining something more than it is about giving or receiving. Falling in love takes an instant, but stretching that instant out over years and years is what makes it seem so elusive. 

    • amorconalguien

      I really needed to read this. It’s not so much of an “ah-ha” moment, I think. I’m pretty sure I realized two days ago that I love (or am in love…now there’s something to explore the difference between) somebody. It’s not only a fear of rejection–I think that living in NYC, going to school in NYC, working in NYC, hooking up with people…NYC style, I’ve forgotten that I’m even capable of feeling “love” or being “in love” with somebody, besides NYC.

      A strange thing to feel, but it’s so wonderful. Don’t know how to come out and say it to the person I feel it towards without sounding like a lunatic.

    • lilian

       This sounds like a Carrie Bradshaw rant

      • samantha

        oh god

    • Anonymous

      The real question should be “Is love temporary?” Now that answer will surely alleviate people’s apprehensions and doubts

      • loo

        I’d say a perhaps even more appropriate question would be: “Is ‘love’ as we know it an appropriate arbiter of romantic relationships if human beings exist in time?”

    • Dark.

       “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.”
      Finding someone to love.

    • Val

      I love you, Ryan O’Connell. There, I’ve said it.

    • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

      This is righteous.

    • liosencillo

      40 pt font really isn’t that big.  I mean, 72 pt is equal to an inch.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mcblaloc Meghan Blalock

      Ahhhhh yes, yes, yes, this times a thousand. The real Love comes later though, the actions you take toward the object of your Love – gotta show that you want to Love that person, moreso than just saying it.

    • Don

      This is a good read, and I agree (for the most part).  Love isn’t always because someone does something either.  A large part of it is chemical, and you have no control over it.  You can think someone does terrible things, but still love them.  Or be terribly annoyed by their behavior.  And even know that from a lifestyle standpoint you’re not compatible at all… Love is strange and hard to understand sometimes, but rarely complicated.

      BTW: I agree,  proof reading is for pussies.

    • D4is3y

      real talk. plus, josie and the pussycats are the shit.

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