The Problem With Texting ‘I Love You’ Before Saying ‘I Love You’

Life with your soulmate is easy, isn’t it?

It certainly looks easy on television. Take Roseanne and Dan Conner: my favorite soulmates. Even their fights were filled with classic one-liners and heartfelt makeups (complete with a laugh track). I want my love life to have a laugh track! Ricky and Lucy, Archie and Edith, Martin and Gina—hell, even Rose, Dorothy, Sophia and Blanche. Soulmate relationships are a cakewalk.

That’s why I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to say “the L word.” I jokingly told him I loved him because I knew he wouldn’t take me seriously anyway. When I say “told,” of course I mean “text messaged.” (That’s how we did things in 2012). Maybe it was the whole expressing your feelings through an iPhone thing, but I didn’t think he got the message. He literally couldn’t have gotten the message because he never responded.

Oh, wait… What is this? A response three hours later!

“Love you too,” he sent. Umm, ok. I’ll take it. I guess.

Anyone who’s anyone knows that “I love you” and “love you” are two totally different things. I went into panic mode as I read that unromantic, crap-why-did-she-send-that-quick-let-me-think-of-something-to-say-back response.

“What the hell does this mean?” I asked myself.

“Does he love me or not?”

My panic quickly turned to thoughts of how ridiculous I was before I eventually calmed down. I had just told this 23-year-old man whom I’ve had a ten-month on again off again relationship with that I loved him—in a text message. There were so many things wrong with what I did that I couldn’t possibly lash out at him. Cleary I was the crazy one.

Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure if I loved him or not. Whether I did or didn’t love him, I definitely felt like I should.

We had been together (a term I use loosely) for almost a year. Despite us getting along great, we broke up about three times before we finally decided to give it all or nothing. While getting along great was, well great, it was also the source of our ultimate conflict. We got along too well, which made me feel like we were best friends, not the romantic lovers I saw holding hands as they walked or the ones who sent sweet letters when they were apart for a week. We weren’t the excessively mushy couple who somehow managed to perfectly cut their steak as they gazed into each other’s eyes over a candlelit dinner.

But whatever, I still loved him, or at least I felt like I should. This feeling of feeling like I should love him led to the feeling of me feeling like I should tell him. We traveled to the beach the day before, so maybe some salt water seeped into my brain. Maybe I wanted to tell him thinking that it would dramatically change our platonic-romantic relationship. Whatever it was, I just had to tell him—even if I didn’t mean it.

So I told him. And I waited for him to respond. I wish I could say the wait was excruciating. That I went through a gallon of ice cream hoping my phone would surprise me with a notification each time a cold, metal spoon touched my lips. In reality I waited so long that I forgot I even sent the message.

And I wished that I hadn’t sent it as soon as I read his three-hour-late reply. Although he regurgitated the same words that I fed him, his words wore a cold and annoyed tone that I couldn’t appreciate. I hated him.

I responded by telling him about some computer troubles I was having. Our exchange of love that neither one of us meant was over. It was in that moment that I resolved to never utterer those words to him again, spoken or written. If by some chance our off-and-on-again relationship were to survive and I did actually fall in love, then I’d keep it to myself.

And if by some chance this plan doesn’t work and I decide to blurt out those three little words, then I’d just act like it never happened. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Yeah, I liked that plan—seemed easy. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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