The Risky Prospect of Offering Your Love
The Risqué Divorcée considers why saying "I love you" is such a big deal, from July 2013
Okay. I’m a lover. No, really. I’m not just talking about sex, dating & intimacy. I’m extremely demonstrative with my friends and…well…everyone. I’m the kind of person that says “thanks, hun, you have a great afternoon” to the cashier at the grocery store. I’m gregarious. I’m outgoing. I say “I love you” to lots of people.
It’s something that is frequently said & texted among my (platonic) girlfriends & I. It’s how we end a phone call. Most of my friends hug & kiss me hello/goodbye. Both of the men that I’ve lived with in romantic relationships (including my ex-husband,) still exchange “I love yous” with me. The bartender at my regular watering hole/karaoke joint greets me coming & going with a hug. Recently, he’s started saying “love you, gal” when I leave and I naturally respond “love you too, baby.” It just feels right to share my love with these people. Even my curmudgeonly uncle says it to me & ends emails with “love” from him.
Yes, I like to share my love & affection with people that I care about. It’s just how I am and most of my friends seem to be equally expressive & demonstrative.
And yet…you can be sexually involved with someone in the most intimate way possible, have the most fantastic, intense, emotional, physical connection. Exchange fluids, conversation, trust…rim-jobs…and somehow the romantic aspect of that relationship makes those three words dangerous, weighted, terrifying & forbidden.
Oh, you can say “I love fucking you!” “I love your cock!” “I love it when you do that!” and the like, but Lord knows, saying “I love you” to someone who is actually a lover is risky business. Especially if you like how things are going & don’t want them to freak out, get all weird & run away – or to start picking out china patterns. You never know how it’s going to be taken! Or worse, if you will be offered the “I love you return” (as Seinfeld called it.)
Certainly, “I love you” means different things to different people. I think my writing so far gives you a sense of what it means to me. It’s something to be shared. Being someone who identifies as polyamorous may lend to my comfort at dispensing my love among many. To me, it lets them know that I value them as a person and a friend/family member, that I care about them – their health, well-being, activities – and that they are part of my chosen tribe of people.
In the movies & on TV there’s often a big, dramatic, climax when Harry & Sally finally figure out that they LOVE each other and that means lots of kissing followed by MARRIAGE and HAPPILY EVER AFTER. There’s a “love binary” that happens in fiction that often transfers to real-life – particularly with the typical monogamous construct. You “fall in love” and then are expected to be with that one person forevermore – loving them exclusively with a passion so bright & fresh that you would never consider being involved with another person ever again.
It’s not that way for me. If we are romantic partners and I say that I love you – it means that the words have probably been teasing my lips for weeks. It means that you are more than just a fuck. You are likely someone that I have felt an intense connection with. We’ve probably had some intense and insightful conversions. You are probably sensitive, thoughtful, kind, funny, weird, focused, goofy. You’ve made me laugh. You’ve probably made me cum. It doesn’t mean I want to marry you or be exclusive, but it means that I want us to have a relationship. One that lasts awhile. One that we enjoy. It means that even if we breakup sometime when it’s no longer good for us, that I will probably have a degree of love and affection for you. I care about you and I want you to stick around.
Is that really so scary?
(But I did it anyway.)
Post Script…I came to a realization that I don’t really write about men that I have feelings for. I write about the ones that spurn me, hurt me, make me laugh, send me stupid messages that we can mock…the ones that I like a lot? They barely get a mention. I’m going to work on that.
Meanwhile, there’s this new guy. Poly. Two other girlfriends. Really great. Been seeing him steadily for about five weeks now and enjoying a lot of delightfully heady new relationship energy. Emboldened by a fantastic day celebrating equality & gay pride yesterday, and during a time that we were neither under the influence or having sex, I told him that I love him. I said “don’t freak out – it’s just a day for sharing it.” He said “oh, I’m not. I know. I love you too.”
The I love you return!
Yay! (<—-my actual response to him saying it to me.)
It’s not so scary, right?