When is the right time to tell someone you love them?
I am prone to telling people I love them more than they probably need to hear it. It’s how I end phone conversations, sign cards and give advice. It’s not that I love everyone, but its important to me that the people I love know about it.
In terms of my family, I genuinely love them to bits. I am lucky in that I am surrounded by extremely loving family. We are there for each other when it counts, no matter what our differences. My two grandmothers are completely different in the way they love. One is emotional and will talk about her great love for you every two minutes. My other grandmother is a little more reserved and will never end a phone conversation with ‘love you’, but shows it in more subtle ways. Actions rather than words. They are both great examples of the best and most enduring kind of love, in terms of how they treat our family, but also in the great love stories of their lives.
When it comes to romantic love, I think we get really used to that film scene that has become a cliché now: two people are in a relationship, one says I love you and the other replies ‘…thank you?’. How does this picture compare to reality?
Well I have limited experience with this, but I can relate in a couple of ways.
The first time I told a guy I loved him it went horribly. He didn’t answer and I just kept repeating it again and again – we were under the influence of something but the memory is still so clear and completely humiliating. He turned out to be not worth it – I was heartbroken for a while but now I’m pretty philosophical about it. Our world views were so different that it wouldn’t have worked in the long-term.
The first time a guy told me he loved me we were on our first date – which made things remarkably awkward. It’s romantic and sweet but also puts this enormous pressure on everything. It made me feel a bit like I had tricked him, I’m not really a girl you can love on first meeting. It takes time.
Moving along through my somewhat rocky relationship history. I then dated an absoloutely wonderful man who said he loved me and though I didn’t mean it really, I responded in turn. I know it’s a horrible thing to say if you don’t mean but he wanted us to work so badly that I would think ‘maybe if I say it, it will all work out’. It didn’t.
My parents met, fell in love and got engaged four days after meeting. Now that’s romantic. Growing up with that story as a reason for my existence I have always believed that ‘the one’ will be like that. Two people will meet and just know that this is the person they have to take the biggest risk by trusting. Of course the ‘person’ I meet may have had a completely different upbringing that changes where he’s at in terms of sharing the same view on how ‘love’ happens. I guess I need to stay pretty flexible and not just think about my own speed.
Amusingly perhaps, I am pretty much all set for an engagement ring. I’m not a terribly girly example of a girl — but we have a few rings that have been passed down through the family and I love the idea of a preserved connection. The awkward thing is when to let someone know, do you wait until you have dated for a long time, and then sound like you’re trying to nudge them into marriage, or do you tell them awkwardly early and then risk them thinking you want marriage now. Perhaps best to say nothing at all and let fate play out, I guess with the right guy you can talk about the future without it being this terrifying thing.
Unfortunately to meet your frog you have to kiss a lot of princes (I prefer the saying that way around!) – I think my general guide for the love declaration (in my case anyway) goes a bit like this,
You can tell someone you love them if:
- You have been completely faithful during the relationship
- You’re not saying it to get something
- You imagine a long-term future with them
- They are aware of the biggest skeletons in your closet
- You have been dating longer than a month
- You are not saying it post-sex
- It’s not loudly declared in a public place
- They have seen you at your ugliest and most unpreened
- You actually love them.
- You are not saying it by text.
Possibly an incomplete list but I think that covers all my bases for me, what would your list be?
I was dating someone earlier this year and one day he brought up the subject of marriage. I was terrified. I thought ‘if the concept of marrying him gives me no other feeling than sheer terror, this is not the guy for me’. So since my birthday I have been on a no-men pledge until my next one. It’s going well and only four months to go until I can try a bit of dating, should the opportunity arise. I figure I have a few things to sort out in my own head and it’s not fair to expect someone else to love you when you don’t really love yourself.
I don’t want it immediately, right now, or in any specific packaging but I do want the man, the wedding, the husband and the little run down dream house with a little family in at some point. It doesn’t scare me…and when I do meet ‘Mr Right’ I guess it won’t scare him either.