When we think of four letter words that dramatically change our relationships, the one that ranks at the top is the word “love.” When we use this word, we are saying a great deal about a relationship. Tons of questions throb in our minds about this one word: when can I tell someone I love them? How will it change the relationship? What if they don’t feel the same way? Emotions like excitement, fear, and nervousness rush through our systems. Fortunately, there are ways to use this powerful word delicately and wisely.
Many individuals do not understand that when they say, “I love you,” they are telling that person much more than what they feel. Hollywood makes us believe that love is nothing more than a triumphant explosion of emotions. But that’s not what you completely mean when you say “I love you.” A true “I love you” implies commitment. What you are really saying is “I care about you so much that I am committing my thoughts, feelings, and actions to you.” That’s why love is so powerful! It’s is more than a feeling: it’s a decision to commit.
Knowing that love is so important contributes to the loads of nervousness we feel before telling someone those three magic words. Making such a commitment is nerve-wracking. But another layer added to the emotional mix is the possibility that the other person may not feel “love” yet, and therefore may not be able at that moment to make the same passionate commitment to you. Now that’s a lopsided relationship we fear!
With these two reasons to fear saying “I love you” in our pockets, we are frequently prone to put off saying it. But many relationship experts recommend one important thing: be honest with your feelings. Forget fears, but remember commitment. Disregard nervousness, but pay attention to your emotions. Once you understand what “I love you” really means, and once you know that it’s exactly how you feel, why hold back? If your relationship is truly meant to last, then the other person will feel the same way and understand why you told them. You should also prepare to be patient, though, in case the other person isn’t just ready to make the “I love you” leap yet.
Once you decide that what you feel really is love and you decide to tell the other person, you might consider finding some creative ways to tell them! After all, this is an exciting moment when your relationship becomes commitment. You can wait for a holiday (like Valentine’s Day), you can write a poem or a letter, you can take them on a romantic date, or you can add a unique twist that is truly “us” for you two. Gifts, cards, flowers, and pictures thrown into the mix are always special.
Make sure that you don’t confuse your feelings with an inflated Hollywood notion. And make sure you don’t downplay your feelings as things too complicated to bring into a relationship. Love is the most passionate, invigorating, exciting emotion we experience, but the only thing that makes it this way is having someone to share it with!