We’ve all been in this situation; you discover you have strong feelings for someone, you get swept up in the emotions it gives you inside and it becomes a compulsion to say those 3 words. You know you want to say them like nothing else you’ve ever felt, but just because you want to say them, doesn’t mean you should.
Before you blurt out something too early in a relationship and for the wrong reasons, or with the wrong motives, read on and see if you’re on the right path.
So you met someone new, you click with them and it’s exciting when you’re both together. You find yourself thinking about them when you’re apart too, all the time. But is it Love, or just feelings of infatuation/lust that you are feeling?
Well, for starters; the in love feeling you are probably experiencing isn’t actually real Love. M. Scott Peck, in his book The Road Less Travelled, defines Love as: “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”.
The feeling of “Falling in Love” however, is in fact just a sex linked erotic experience – a false perception of reality, or an illusion and this ‘Romantic Love” or “Honeymoon period” will eventually end in any relationship, even if the relationship blossoms into real Love and continues. The in love feeling will dissolve and give way to the realisation of an imperfect person and an imperfect relationship that requires work – this work is the real Love.
We can’t force ourselves to fall in Love with someone, so when we get the in Love feeling for someone, we generally assume it to be the real thing, even if we were not seeking the feeling, or have anything in common with the object of our affection.
It’s one thing to Like the same food, hobby, or interior decor, but another thing entirely to find someone who shares your values, beliefs and morals (but who you might immediately rule out as a possible life partner because they don’t have the same taste in music).
Having said all this though, the in Love feeling is often a precursor to real Love and can’t always be ignored or dismissed. Many people also wrongly assume when they fall out of Love with someone (i.e. The intense feelings subside) that they no longer Love the person and it’s time to look elsewhere. This is a false perception.
So let’s question most people’s motives for saying I Love You and why this can cause ill feeling, regret and heartache. Most people say the three magic words for one reason: Because they are hopeful the other person will say it too.
We all need to feel validated, especially in a romantic relationship where we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and exposed and we all want someone else to feel the same way we do. The fact is; there are no guarantees in life. Saying I Love You is being willing to put yourself in a hugely vulnerable place, as you may be left hanging.
Therefore, we should only ever tell someone how we feel if we are sure it comes from the heart and is not dependent upon their response. They may respond in a loving way, they may smile, they might say “Thanks” (eek) or they may even respond in a negative manner, or be scared off, so you have to be in a position where you are aware of the possible reaction your words may get and be prepared to own and deal with the consequences.
One thing we should all practice when we feel these emotions, it to give it time. The first time you feel like saying it is never the right time. We’ve all been in relationships, or known friends in relationships who drop the L-bomb inside the first week. Some of you reading this will be having a WTF?! moment right now and I hear you, but the fact is; I’ve been guilty of it myself, back in the days before I knew the difference between Love and Lust.
Now I currently find myself in the ‘Feeling like I want to say I Love You’ situation, several months into getting to know someone, but only a couple of weeks into being officially “In a relationship” (and no, I’m not talking about a Facebook classification) but I am rightfully holding myself back from saying it: It’s just too soon.
This doesn’t mean I can’t say other things that actually have more meaning and communicate to her in a clear way how I am feeling though. You can say things to her (or him) that let them read between the lines and show them that they are very important to you, without putting yourself completely on the line, or risking scaring them away, or making them feel there is immense pressure to say ‘I Love you too’.
There are lots of things you can say if you take the time to think about them, or write them down. You can tell them you are happy you shared an experience with them, are glad they are in your life, how incredible they make you feel and you can tell them what you value about them in detail – from the way they communicate with you, to the way that they turn you on. There is an infinite amount of heartfelt things you can say that will make them feel important and pretty amazing, if you just use your imagination.
Perhaps more important than saying things to someone though, is doing things. Anyone can say I Love you without meaning it and, many people who have been on the receiving end of this kind of “Love” in the past will be wary of hearing words from you that don’t match up to your actions.
Sending flowers and buying gifts can be one way of showing someone how you feel, but too much will come across as coming on too strong, or even act as a red flag to some. Small, thoughtful gifts are good, as are letters/cards/postcards when you are apart. Remembering what your significant other said and acting on it too is a very powerful way to show you care. Each and every time you say or do something like this, you will give out signals and get feedback.
Watch the way they act and make that a more important indicator than what they actually say – it’s easier to disguise the way you feel with your words than your actions. When it comes to finally delivering the three big words, you may not want to be dependent upon their response, but you also don’t want them to actually run a mile.
Taking an adequate amount of time to build up a trusting bond with someone and to spend time investing yourself into the relationship, whilst keeping a check on how much they too are investing and also finding out about deeper facets of their character is the only way to know deep in your heart that you Love someone. Give it time.