I Love You
Saying “I love you” is the highest of high-stakes gambling. You’re taking a chance that the person you’re saying it to will say it back. Your winnings? Validation of your feelings and the potential for a long-lasting, love-filled relationship. Of course, there’s also the possibility that your sentiments won’t be returned. Your winnings in this case? A completely undercut sense of self worth and self confidence which spirals into the feeling that you are owed the other person’s love which eventually just makes you intolerable to be around and ends the relationship in a steaming ball of hurt feelings and bitterness.
So why do we take this gamble in the first place? The upside is great and full of promise, but surely the downside isn’t worth the risk. I’ll tell you why we do this to ourselves.
Because we have to.
Eventually you will love someone and you will either feel like you have to tell them or it will just slip out. It’s just that simple. It’s like the old saying goes: “Love is blind. And stupid. And can’t keep its mouth shut.” It makes no sense that we humans do this to ourselves, sometimes over and over again. But we do. Because we can. And because we have to.
It’s gone both ways for me. Back in my more romantic and less battle-hardened days I would often jump the gun with those three little words. And, not surprisingly, it would freak the girl out. It’s devastating when your feelings aren’t returned.
But I’ve also been on the other side. I’ve actually said “Thank you” to a person who had just told me they loved me. Cold, yes, but honest. I didn’t love this person, straight up. So would it have been better to lead her on? Probably not.
Though it might have been a good idea to come up with something better than “Thank you”.
There’s nothing we can do about it. People are going to keep telling each other that they love them and sometimes they’ll live happily ever after and sometimes they’ll just be thanked for it. But love isn’t going anywhere. We’re going to keep loving other people.
Because we have to.