Expounding on "I love you"

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    Oct 25, 2010 8:31 PM GMT
    I started this thread in response to the thread titled "When is the right time?

    I've moved my response to this thread to assure that my response does not inadvertantly get deleted if the OP of the original thread ever decides to delete his thread.

    In the original thread, WestAussieGuy (WAG) asks, "When is the right time to say "I love you" in a new relationship?

    Several great answers, and follow up questions from WAG follwed the OP.

    Here is my response...

    Good question. In short, this is a response about "trust" and "communication".

    From my life experience over the last 30 years of being sexually active, and 26 years of living with HIV, I've learned to say "I love you" early, and often...except in the context of a romantic relationship that has evolved from a friendship. I generally tell people "I love you" sooner rather than later, because we just don't know how long we will have people in our life, and we just don't know how long we have. Once they or we are gone, it's too late.

    I tell my family, my friends, and even my colleagues that "I love them". For colleagues, it's usually an "I love you, my brother", or "I love you, my sister", so as not to blur and confuse the message.

    In a romantic relationship, it is a delicate balance of what NickFit, the MeninLove, StudlyScrewRight, mnboy have stated in the original thread.

    I've found that saying too soon (in a romantic context) can cause "flight". Saying it too late, well, may be too late.

    Trust through communication and actions can help any relationship (of any kind) be healthy and mutually fulfilling.

    First and foremost, I tend to say "I love you" through my actions, and many times inaction. What I do can show caring/loving. Also, what I don't do can show caring/loving (i.e. patience through my own feelings with certain things that only slightly annoy me; allowing the benefit of the doubt in the inevitable miscommunication)

    Like, NickFit, I will usually start with acknowledging certain moments with "You're amazing", or if they do something "over and above" I might say something like, "You really make me feel special". In both cases, I'm recognizing the caring/loving behavior of the other person. And, by doing so, I'm showing my own form or caring/loving behavior. Always using simple courtesies like "Please", "Thank you", and words of acknowledgement show appreciation, caring, and love. I buld a basis of trust and a habit of communicating my feelings (such as appreciation).

    As you get to know each other more deeply, as you build greater trust between each other, the words you both use will become more endearing.

    And, if you both are blessed, there will come a moment, and you will know it. It's not something planned. I will be during or after something amazing that you both of you have just shared. You will be looking into each other's eyes. And, one of you will voice it first. "I love you". Although spoken, it will also be words said from your heart and through your eyes. In that moment, you will see in the other persons eyes a response. It will most likely be either a look of joy, or a look of fear. If you've both taken the time to build trust, the probability of it being a look of joy will be high.

    If they feel the same way, you just might get an "I love you" back. Maybe even a hug, a kiss, and tears of joy. Beginning of story. (As opposed to "end of story")

    However, If it is a look of suprise or fear...
    Now, your love is put to the test.

    Be prepared to say something like, "I know those words may have surprised you, they may even sound scary. I also know that you may not be able to say that back to me now or ever, but you are the most special man in my life, and I needed to say 'I love you' to you out of gratitude. I hope you care about me enough to not push me out of your life for saying, 'I love you' to you. Because you have made me feel so amazingly special."

    Yes, you have to be prepared to help your partner to work through the fear and discomfort, know that you're acknowledging any uncomfortable or confused feelings, and frame your message around what you are feeling.

    Then, be prepared to change the topic and/or go back to doing something where you both can go back to "close friends having fun mode". Sense when it is best to make an exit, if one feels necessary.

    In either case of a "positive" or "surprised" outcome, be sure to set a date and time to follow back up with the person face-to-face, not over the phone, not email, not text. The follow up is necessary to first and foremost, just be friends. Do something fun. Keep it light and simple. You'll know by body language, eye contact, and your established norm of the kind of caring/loving behavior that you observe from your friend whether they are comfortable and closer, or if there is lingering discomfort and distance. If you can't get a commitment for a follow up, or if the follow up gets "missed" for some reason, follow back up over the phone. Avoidance would surly be sign of fear and discomfort.

    You're now going to have to be prepared to address this situation, if at the very least you want to salvage a friendship. You may need to say something to acknowledge the discomfort. "First and foremost, I care about you as my friend. I'm sensing that the last time we were together, I voiced my feelings, and those feelings have left you feeling uncomfortable with me. Can you tell me if I'm reading your feelings right, or if I've hurt you in some way?" Then, shut up. Let the other person talk. Listen. Truly listen (not just "hear"), and don't interrupt. Make mental note of any concerns you hear. Try to look beyond any surface concerns to the root concern, which is usually some form of fear. Listening without judgment

    Don't argue with what your friend is saying, just try to use "Active listening" to confirm that you understand what you heard. Get confirmation that you accuratly understand what your friend is saying and feeling. Try to ask your friend to say what feelings they are feeling. Acknowledge any feelings that your friend shares. Make it "ok" and "safe" to share feelings with you...no matter what those feelings are. This builds trust, and promotes communication.

    Show your love through open actions which respect your friend's "head space" and possible need to process their own feelings. In other words, don't be "closed" by being silent. Don't be "clingy" or try to force love to happen. You just may have to let him/her go, so that they can choose to come back to you.

    There is a balance between trying to hard, and not trying hard enough. Understand that things may get a little bit crazy, illogical, or emotional. We're talking about "fear" and "love" here. And, there is nothing in my life that I have yet encountered that is any more crazy, illogical, or emotional than "fear" and "love".

    If you two truly love each other, you will find a way to make it work despite the craziness, despite the illogic, and despite whipsawing emotions. The reward is priceless.

    This is a picture of my parents. They have been with each other for 56 years so far. They are the most personal and living example of "love" that I have to reference.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 26, 2010 2:01 AM GMT
    you're amazing
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    Oct 26, 2010 4:05 AM GMT
    Excellent forum GAMRican!! your train of thought reminds me of a project I am currently working on for a Philosophy class I am taking for fun in my local college. It is called "Negative Capability" written by the American Poet John Keats. It is quite a very interesting read! here is the link:


    Leandro ♥
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    Oct 26, 2010 2:02 PM GMT
    Very nicely stated and quite beautiful GAMRican!

    (And I just love that pic of your folks!)

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    Oct 26, 2010 2:05 PM GMT
    Awwww...that pic of your parents reminded me of my grandparents. They were married 68 years and both died at age 94. They were solid as a rock right up until the end. Holding hands whenever they were together. So inspiring, but very rare.