I Said ‘I Love You’ First

I’ve got a little dating advice, especially for you ladies out there that are often too scared to speak your mind. We live in a word that demonizes those who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for emotional reservation, but we have to remember that there are times that emotional honesty is far more important and can tell you a lot more about a person.

At the end of this month, my boyfriend and I will have been dating for six months. I can’t help but feel a sometimes overwhelming sense of HOLY CRAP I DID IT. I made it from serious break up, through several aimless (and oftentimes questionable) dating prospects, to meeting someone unexpectedly, and maintaining an even more unexpected romantic relationship. Just goes to show how very unpredictable life is. If you asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I would never trust anyone ever again, never allow someone into my heart, for fear that they would tear a chunk out and leave me all nasty and shriveled. Again. Oh, right, for those who haven’t been following my blog for a while, I have a penchant for melodrama. Fair warning.

Can’t really say I have a single serious complaint with my current relationship. However, with six months approaching, the so-called “honeymoon phase” is nearing its end. Supposedly we’ll stop thinking the other farts rainbows and actually begin to recognize all the terrible flaws that make each other disgustingly human. Joy. But the thing is, I don’t think we ever had a honeymoon period in the first place. Ours was a relationship a lot of people warned us was moving too fast, what with me practically moving in (months ago), cooking most meals together, sharing grocery bills, and adopting a pet fish (which has since gained a cat friend). I can’t count how many times my friends told me, “I’m glad you’re happy, but please be careful…” because they all knew another devastating break up was the last thing I needed, no matter which side it came from. Not that I listened or anything. (Sorry, guys)

And here’s where we come to the title of the post. “I love you.” Such a sweet, innocuous set of words that can spell disaster for even the most well-meaning of partners. And I said it first. After about a month of dating.

I bet a lot of you out there are just like…

ani_btch_you_crazy

And a bunch of insecure single dudes/dudettes are picturing me like this…

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I’ll be honest, the “I love you” was a complete word-vomit moment. Actually, come to think of it, the last time I told a boy I loved him was word-vomit as well — though that time was far more dramatic and included much screaming and crying at each other in the midnight darkness of a parking garage (maybe that should have been a hint as to how our relationship might eventually deteriorate, but let’s not go there). This time, the Significant Other and I were cuddling (gross.) and the words just spilled out of my mouth all unbidden and shit, and it took me a second to realize I’d actually said it, not just thought it (like I’d been doing for the past several days).

So naturally I panicked.

If I’ve learned anything from terribly cheesy romantic comedies, someone saying “I love you” too early is a death-knell for a relationship. I mean, come on, an ill-timed “I love you” is as bad as getting matching tattoos… Perhaps not that bad, but close. Sure, I’d been mulling my feelings over, but I hadn’t meant to say them out loud!

I have no idea what was going on in the Significant Other’s head, but at the time I figured it was a little something like this:

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Ironically, the S.O. also has blond hair, blue eyes, and can talk a little funny.

And silence. Literally nothing from him in the wake of my then crushingly embarrassing admittance. More panic from me.

“Well, are you going to say anything?”

“I mean, I’m not going to say it back unless I’m 100% sure it’s true.”

Oh. Well then. Looks like I actually do live in a cheesy romance novel, just like my Little said. I’m dating a blond, blue-eyed firefighter with a stutter that just so happens to also be a goddamn decent human being. He didn’t lie and tell me what I wanted to hear, but he didn’t reassure me that he was completely comfortable with what I’d said either. He actually reacted the way I wish every partner would react when caught off-guard by something potentially relationship-ruining.

And now the moral of the story, dear readers. We need to stop being so afraid of telling people, especially those we love, how we truly feel. In a moment of “weakness” I allowed my emotional barriers to slip and that gave way to honesty from both of us. That’s all a relationship really needs to stay healthy for all parties involved. You hear it all the time: honest, open communication is the key to a successful relationship. It’s true though!

We have to stop being afraid that honesty will ruin things. Legitimately, if I’d told my boyfriend that I loved him and he lied and told me he loved me too (at the time) then I’d bet you anything that we wouldn’t be together right now. I can’t prove it, but I can speculate that since he waited and gave himself time to not word-vomit or lie about it, he knows that the first time he said it, he meant it with sincerity.

And who cares who says those little words first? It doesn’t matter! I’ve heard stories of people (especially women) waiting and waiting to tell their partner that they love them, just because they don’t want to appear weak and say it first. Just freaking say it! If you say it and your partner lies, or gets scared and won’t talk about it to the point of ending the relationship, then screw ’em and move on. It’s not worth getting hung up on and redundantly questioning yourself over. I’ve found that people respect you far more if you tell them what you actually feel, even if it hurts them, than if you just keep everything to yourself. We must all learn to be honest without being cruel, because brutal honesty is just laziness.

Seriously, we need to all just stop being so scared of things just because movies and tv shows tell us to be. I dare you to tell someone you’ve never told before that you love them, especially if you’ve been waiting around for them to say it first. I don’t think you even realize how liberating it can be.

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