How soon is too soon to say I love you? It’s three little words. I. Love. You. But those words can be life changing – in both good and bad ways.
Side note: I think I might have shared some of these stories in previous blogs, but oh well. Read it or don’t. I write what I’m thinking about and things that are relevant in my life right now, so sometimes it happens.
Do you remember the very first time you loved someone? I was a junior in high school and he was my boyfriend. I remember being so giddy around him. I thought he was so cute. A month into dating and we were standing behind my car in the parking lot of his family’s apartment. We had just finished a fairly PG-rated makeout session that steamed up the car windows. We were saying goodnight and he whispered in my ear “I love you, Bri.” I was ecstatic. I said it back and it was followed by more kisses. Two months later we broke up. It was a short high-school love, but one that still makes me smile at the innocence of it.
I had had college boyfriends who I thought I loved, but when I said “I’m falling for you” would disappear because they wanted a sex object…not a love interest.
I had a boyfriend in college who was so super sweet to me and thought the world of me. I broke his heart when he confessed his love for me after our first time fooling around and I told him I couldn’t say it back right then…that relationship only lasted another week before he told me it was too hard for him and we had to split up.
I had a boyfriend who I told I was falling in love with and he told me the same, but neither one of us was IN love yet. A week later he gave me an empty picture frame for my birthday and wrote “love, W” on the card. He broke up with me the next day.
I remember the first time I said I love you to my now hubby. It was not the best experience of my life…We had been messing around for 4 years. We had been officially dating for 3 months. I had known for a long fucking time that I was in love, but I didn’t want to say anything because I was scared. He was the longest relationship I had ever been in. Technically he wasn’t fully divorced yet. I thought he loved me. I felt as though he loved me. So I took the jump. “I love you.” “Thank you” Followed by a silence that seemed to last an eternity. Even when the silence had been broken, it wasn’t with the words “I love you too” or even something like “I care about you.” It was something mundane and stupid about needing a drink. He panicked. I panicked. I had just shared the words of “I love you” with the man that I had loved secretly for four years. And he said ‘thank you’. Looking back after 16+ years, I just shake my head and laugh because it’s such a hubby thing to do…panic and not know the right words to say, stick his foot in his mouth and then just hope that it goes away. I think it was another couple of weeks before he said I love you back. But when he actually said those three little words to me, I knew that he was saying them because he felt them, not because he felt obligated to say them.
Days. Weeks. Years. When is it right to say I love you?
I say I love you with my friends. Sure, it’s a different kind of love than that that I share with my hubby, but it’s still love. How far into a friendship do I need to be to say I love you to that friend? Honestly, I’ve never paid attention before. Is it after a certain amount of time? Is it a level of comfort? Is it after sharing something personal? Is it after we go through a hard time together? What takes them from simply being my friend to loving my friend?
But when is the right time to say I love you?
Poly has made me love harder. However, I have found that I am tentative and scared with saying I love you in my poly relationships. But why? I was “in love” with John. I never told him. I never heard anything regarding his feelings for me. I had a love for Jake, but again, he didn’t express how he felt back. I had a love for Jackie (messed up, I know), but she wasn’t going to ever tell me she cared. So just like with a monogamous relationship, saying I love you takes vulnerability and courage. You don’t know what the other person is feeling. You might get an “i love you” back. You might get a “thank you”. You might find yourself without that partner. In some ways, I find it more scary. Because when you’re in a poly relationship, if something goes awry with saying I love you and it’s not the answer you were expecting, not even thinking about the friends, family, kids, etc. that might also be involved, it can affect a whole polycule web…especially if that partner is shared among multiple people in the polycule.
I have this amazing thing happening right now. My triad/throuple with hubby and Georgette. I love them both. They love each other too. No one said “thank you”. Well…at least not seriously. The words “I love you” came naturally.
How fucking amazing is it when three people care about each other and want the best for each other and are committed to each other.
And I can’t forget Ann, my platypus. I love her too…differently but still in my polycule.