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Why saying I LOVE YOU can sometimes be overrated in a relationship

Let me start this article by first asking you how much importance you place upon saying I LOVE YOU in your relationship. While you ponder on that, I will like to tell you that it is almost as frequent as saying ‘Thank You’ in my relationship. Bae and I can’t have a conversation, no matter how short or official, without exchanging the three-worded sentence. It is a good thing, depending on how you are looking at it, but does saying I LOVE YOU to your better half guarantee anything? Let’s find out in this article. 

There are a number of highlights in every relationship, most common among them is your first date or anniversary. Maybe also the first time you had sex or when you met the parents. All are important, but there are few events we give as much significance as saying I LOVE YOU for the first time. I remember the first time bae told me those words, it was on my birthday, and I would never forget how special I felt that day. She said it around 7:59pm, but it didn’t matter how late it was in the day, that moment was when my birthday truly began! That was how important and memorable it was (and still is) to me.

Saying I LOVE YOU holds a lot of weight. It seems like such a big deal that I start to get butterflies in my stomach thinking about it. It is considered a relationship, a celebration we share with our friends as soon as someone has said it to us. On the flipside, it also has a gut-wrenching, suffocating embarrassment when it’s said but not returned, or when it is never said when one expects it. Why?

We are getting somewhere.

Quite mysteriously, saying I LOVE YOU can come with relative nonchalance when talking about trivial things or animals. For example, we find it easy to say things like, ‘I love coffee’, ‘I love that dog’ or ‘I love watching Suits’, and it really means nothing to us. In the same breath, we can use those same words with heightened, consuming emotions when saying them to our partner, or even saying it to them with a nonchalant attitude. This shows that, the words I LOVE YOU are just nothing but words sometimes, it is really about the attitude and emotions you put in.

Words are malleable; they are flexible and can fit into anything you really want them to, without necessarily having anything to do with your intent. A lot of people tend to get carried away by those words, and I decided to pen this article down based on discussions I have had with certain people who expect the words to be said more often, or those who think their partners are just not saying it at all.

Here are some reasons why I think saying I LOVE YOU can sometimes be overrated.


1. It Can Be Overused! 

As a young chap, I used to think saying I LOVE YOU required a big build-up, but it looks like I may have been wrong. I read a study somewhere that, when it comes to saying I LOVE YOU, men on average took 88 days, while women took 134. Even more surprising is that 39% of men dropped the Love bomb in the first month of dating, as did 23 percent of women. Really? That just seems … it just seems like a lot.

Maybe I’m a cynic or just emotionally constipated, but I feel like if someone was dropping it in that early, it would be a little disingenuous, or less special somehow. Pardon me for feeling that way, it took me almost 6 months to get it from bae, while it took me about 4 months to say it to her after we first met.

The only person who has said it very fast to me was my first (teenage) girlfriend, and even though we were two hormone-crazed teenagers, I still laughed, assuming she was kidding. I mean, how can you know me at all in a month to decide that you love me? If you want to give it more meaning, sometimes not saying it to everyone you date for a bit makes it more significant.

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2. Some People Have Trouble Saying It

Forget that I say it to my boo as often as time permits me, but I think it’s completely OK to not say “I love you” all the time, for the simple reason that some people aren’t great at saying it, and we shouldn’t be forced to do what makes us feel uncomfortable. Remember that I said it took bae over 6 months to start saying those words. Within the two months in which I was saying it to her and not getting response, I panicked. But I later had to understand that it would come in time, and when it came, it meant a lot to me. Now, we don’t have a problem saying it 20 times in 10 minutes, lol.

Regardless of how you feel about saying I LOVE YOU, if it’s vital to your partner to hear it regularly, there’s going to have to be some level of compromise, as both people’s emotional security is important. But don’t forgot that for some it’s less fireworks and flowers.

Why is it so difficult for some people really?

It may be because saying “I love you” all the time isn’t as much of a standard as you might think, and it’s actually a fairly recent phenomenon. A 2005 study from Baruch College and CUNY “found that saying ‘I love you’ hasn’t actually been a longtime standard; in fact, use of the phrase was found to have increased since the beginning of the 20th century,” according to Mic. I don’t find this surprising, in part because I’ve found that Americans say it a lot more than some other cultures. So maybe Bae and I are just meant to be Americans, lol.

3. Words Are Ambiguous, Actions Less So

Saying I LOVE YOU can mean a lot of different things. I say I LOVE YOU really easily in everything, but there are so many different ways to “love” someone which makes things complicated; because sometimes you want to say it to someone you are seeing in an “important to me and I care about you way,” but avoid it because the larger-than-life status it has in romantic relationships leaves you tongue tied.

Bottom line: Saying I LOVE YOU can be a great and integral part of your relationship if it’s important to you and your partner, but this is a real “actions speak louder than words” situation. Saying I LOVE YOU on a regular basis is not always indicative of relationship status. A better indicator is how the partners actually treat and care for each other. Without loving behaviors backing it up, saying I LOVE YOU is just an empty expression.

More than that, those words can be used as a Band-Aid to cover bad behavior or relationship problems. So focus less on who says it more or how quickly they say it, and focus more on how you show it.

It’s just three little words, after all.


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