Thursday, December 10, 2009

"When You Say You Love Me"

When you say “I love you” everything changes. When you actually say it out loud to someone where they can hear it and understand what you’re saying then things are never the same. I’ve said, “I love you” (and meant it) to 3 guys that weren’t my friends or family members. The guys have always said it first; I’ve always been too scared. That first time it’s spoken in a relationship, though, that’s the best. That first time you hear someone say “I love you” the world kinda stops for a minute and if it’s welcomed then sheer joy follows. Then time picks back up and you say “I love you” or “I love you too” or “love ya” all the time. The words then get said a dozen times a day to that person and they become almost a required part of the relationship. If they aren’t said once then the worrying begins. But at the same time since they are being thrown around so frequently they become a habit and almost just a secondary response. Only sporadically do you stop to think about the words you’re saying to make sure that their real meaning is still there and being understood. But that first time, the first time you say “I love you” is the scariest, the best, the worst and all feelings in between.

In high school I told all my friends I loved them. My musical theatre class was really close, there were only 17 of us, and we were constantly throwing “I love you”s around. This slowly leaked over to my life with all my friends. Phone conversations (this was definitely before Texting) always ended with “I love you” or “love ya”. I didn’t really date in high school to the point where “I love you” was ever even proposed so I didn’t have to deal with telling someone I loved them and having those feelings not reciprocated and the drama that I’m sure would have followed.

My first college boyfriend and I had been dating a little over two months when he first told me. He said he had wanted to tell me after the first month but refused cause he “knew” it was too early. I think I kinda worked the actual “I love you” out of him cause we were standing outside somewhere and I was complaining about not knowing how he felt about me and he said something along the lines of “you know I love you”. I didn’t say it back right away, I waited probably another two weeks or so. Again this was before Texting too so we said it on the phone a lot, also we lived in separate cities the phone was a large part of our relationship. We dated for about a year and over the summer I went away to camp as a counselor and we had tons of phone calls and actual letters that ended with “I love you”, the letters probably were just singed “love” but I can’t really remember. All I know is that with him I did not overuse “I love you” I really tried to only say it at the end of calls or when I was actually with him. It didn’t need to be said a hundred times a day or constantly when I was with him- it was fine we knew we were in love so lets move on. And then one day I moved on. One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t in love. I didn’t know this person I’d been with for a year and was worried that the love wasn’t there.

But where does the love go when you break up with someone? How do you just fall out of love with someone you’ve been with for a while or that you thought you could love forever? When you’re broken up with I understand the falling out of love thing. A**hole broke your heart so yah you’re not gonna love the jerk anymore. Dumba** cheats on you again totally understandable to fall out of love. But are there other ways to fall out of love? I guess sometimes you later find out things about a person that you didn’t originally know and that can make you fall out of love but that’s more sudden. It’s the slow fading out of love that troubles me. When over a period of months you just become indifferent towards the person and you try to convince yourself that it’s still love but one day it’s gone. It makes you wonder if it was really love to begin with.

The next time I said I love you was with my ex-fiancĂ©. We started dating in the spring of my sophomore year of college and it took us about 5 months to become actual “boyfriend/girlfriend”. But before he even asked me be his girlfriend he told me he was falling in love with me. The day he told me he actually loved me was the day he asked me to be his girlfriend, almost 5 months to the day since we met and started seeing each other. He just said it the once and I started to cry and told him I’d be his girlfriend but didn’t say I love you. I finally told him I loved him about 2 months later. Again it wasn’t a frequent occurrence of the words and eventually I said it more than him. I always told him I loved him when I saw him, when I left him, on the phone, for lots of reasons. We were together another year and a half after that. But the last 5 months of our relationship were like the first 5 only reversed. We slowly learned that we weren’t right for each other and the love was there we both admitted to still loving each other, but we fought all the time and started avoiding each other till one day we decided to take a break.

Why isn’t love enough? This goes for friendships and relationships. Cause both can end even when there’s still love there. I go back and forth between believing that relationships can survive even if it seems like the love between you is all you have. But sometimes I just don’t believe that love is all you need to stay with someone. There are so many other things. Respect, honesty, trust, laughter, affection. These things are also needed to make a relationship work. I know some people would probably argue that without these things then you don’t have love either, but again where did the love go? It was there and then as these things go does it just disintegrate? I think that love can still be there even when these things aren’t. But at the same time I think respect, honest, trust, laughter and affection are needed to make a relationship work. If you still love someone but these other things aren’t present then obviously something in the relationship isn’t working. Is that the time you give up and say you don’t want to be together? Or is that the time that you count on your love to bring you through and hope that one day those things will come back?

This brings me to my current boyfriend. Things are still good and great and wonderful so I don’t want to do too much reflection, just kinda look at the facts then look at the similarities and differences of my “I love you” moments. We hadn’t been together very long before the first time I wanted to say “I love you” to him and if he hadn’t of said it when he did I’m sure eventually I would have just busted out and screamed it at him. About a month ago we attended my sister’s wedding and it was all just so romantic, pretty and happy. We danced a hundred slow dances together and I would just look up at him (he’s very much taller than me) and think wow what an amazing guy this is that was brave enough to come to a huge family event like this after only being together a month and a half. That night he told me that he didn’t want to tell me he loved me but that he was definitely falling for me. I was happy with that reaction. Another month went by and everything just kept getting better and we were still very luckily just as happy with each other. About a week ago we went out karaoke-ing (how we met) and he was introducing me to the last of his friends that I hadn’t met. I make horrible, horrible first impressions and was incredibly nervous about the whole situation. Afterwards I had a mini-girlie-emotion attack in the car while we were leaving and while trying to calm me down he said “you’re gonna make me say it now aren’t you? I love you Tyler” and that just of course made me cry even more and he said it again and then I told him that I loved him too. Now considering it’s been barely a week I sure as hell hope we both still feel the same way but it’s just so nice. I just look at him now and am so happy just knowing that there’s this great guy who loves me and that I love too.

Comparing this to the others- I’ve always been told “I love you” at night and in the later nighttime hours. Like I said earlier I’ve never said “I love you” first. The biggest difference with my current boyfriend and the others is that this is the first time I’ve said “I love you” right back, all the others it took me a while to finally get to that same place. No judgment or reflections on this love compared to the others since it is so new. Right now it is just love.