Hello, I Love You, Won’t You Tell Me Your Name?

Photo thanks to Ajaytheonly.blogspot.com

The French expression for falling in love translates to “falling into apples,” which I correlate to sweet, but painful. Dropping the “L” bomb is a bit of a sticky situation. There are the blurters, the stagers, the first daters, the long termers, the constant reminders, the special occasioners, the whisperers, the shout it from the roof topers, whatever you’re style, the tricky part is figuring out whether your beau shares your sentiments or not. If one of you feels it first, it’s not the end of the world, nor is it necessarily the end of the relationship, but if you have to get it out there here are some pointers for not overwhelming (or underwhelming) your significant other.

You’re Ready, They’re Not: You’re most likely in a terrified state, with a candy coat of bubbling excitement. Hold onto that, don’t let it fester and rot the roots of your courtship. If you’re certain that your beau isn’t in the same place, feel them out a bit. If you’ve been dating for more than four months, and they’re still a bit frigid toward the idea of professing statements of affection, it’s okay to say it as long as you preface the statement with something along the lines of, “You don’t have to say it back, I just need to tell you how I feel.” This will give them the out, relieving a little pressure. A wedge can be stuffed between you if you push the idea too much. I know, it’s taxing, but if you care about the person (well, you say you love them) you should be considerate of where they are in the relationship. Not everyone moves at the same pace. Maybe they need more time to get there, they mean serious business when they say it, or maybe they’ve been badly burned in the past. Sometimes the people who are reluctant to love are so because of a painful past.  Give them time. Don’t use breaking up as an ultimatum, because then you’re pushing them to leave you when they want to stay, or they’re saying something they don’t mean because they’re afraid to lose you. Granted, losing you may snap them into realizing something, but that’s not fair, that’s making the relationship a game.

Signs They’re Not Ready: You gaze at them lovingly, they look away. You make plans for the future; they make plans for dinner instead. Holding hands, even when you’re alone is a no-no. If you’re not in bed, there’s no affection. Take these as subtle hits, and to use the oh-so-popular phrase: maybe they’re just not that into you.

Signs They’re Ready: Take the situations above and reverse them.

They Said It, You Didn’t: You haven’t been together that long, this is your first date, or you’re just not feeling it, but you’re happy in the relationship so far. The first point should be that if you’re just in it to be in a relationship (you know who you are), that’s fine, but when the other person is serious about a long term commitment and you’re not, you need to let them know. It won’t get better, they won’t learn to feel less or make it more casual. Once they have the heart throb, it’s only going to end in pain, so don’t augment this by dangling a carrot in front of them. Remind them of how wonderful they are, how undeserving you are, and break it off nice and clean.

If you think that you may feel this way, just not yet, explain this to them. You can do this without being harsh. Explain your sentiments, but don’t give reasons for why you don’t love them yet. This can be used against you for the entirety of your relationship. Every fight will be about this, even if it’s masked as something else.

First Times That Don’t Count:

– After being intimate, during, or before. After you’ve already said it, go ahead and shout it at the top of your lungs (or whisper loudly if you have roommates), but don’t say it for the first time in while snuggling with your honey. 

– As a form of apology. If you’re in the middle of a fight, unless it’s due to a romantic comedy-esque misunderstanding, this kills the sentiment. If you did something to cause pain, grief, or anger, don’t pull the L-card to get yourself out of the dog house. This taints it, makes it jaded.

Saying it: Think about it this way: after the excitement, shock, what have you, of the sacred words, they’re going to tell their friends, especially the ladies. Do you really want them to have to explain that you said it to get out of trouble, or in an inappropriate moment? My personal recommendation is to say it when you feel it. It will mean that much more if you’re in the moment, not in some rehearsed set up. Sure, flowers and violins are nice, but they amp up the anxiety and create a sensation of false sentiments. This isn’t Hollywood. If you’re brushing you’re teeth together one morning, or they pick up a treat for you just because, and you feel a rushing sensation, tell them. You can tell when someone really means it when they’re in the moment.

Alternatives to Love: Neither of you is ready for the commitment that accompanies saying I love you, but you still have strong feelings for one another. Use these carefully, as they can irritate if the other person has said I Love You and you respond with a luke warm declaration.

-I adore you (see Stranger Than Fiction)

-I covet you

-You’re my happy thought

– I’m crazy about you

– I think you’re the greatest thing since the wheel (make up your own)

– I’m so glad you exist

Love is a wonderful thing, and once you get the words out you can say it almost whenever you want. There is also a sweetness to the period before you express this, a time when the tension of affection, of the unsaid words, is palpable and being together creates an electrical charge of potential energy. Savor the beginning, people, don’t push it. You’ll get to the next stage, but remember that you’ll never have a beginning with this person again, so quit chomping at the bit. If you’re going to say it, think carefully and tread cautiously.

Written by Ashley Teal, Campus Clipper Blogger

See my blog:  amteal.tumblr.com or twitter @amteal

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