I Love You

A few years ago I dated a tall, dark, and handsome man with a witty sense of humor, great taste in music, and excellent benefits.  What more could a gal ask for?

One night, during one of our marathon phone sessions, I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t just some unremarkable summer fling to bide my time while Intervention was in reruns.  Nope.

I really, really liked this guy. Having recently gotten out of a bad relationship and doubtful that I’d ever give a damn about anyone ever again, I was actually a little intimidated by that epiphany.  But more than anything, I was excited.

And just as I pursed my lips to tell him so, Karim* had a revelation of his own.

“I love you,” he said, and in the distance was the unmistakable sound of a record screeching to a halt.

Uh oh.

“I love you.”  I replayed the previous two seconds just to make sure I’d heard him correctly and to determine if there was any other way to interpret those three words.  Reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that yes, I had, and no, there wasn’t.  Karim had told me he loved me and no amount of neurotic overanalyzing was going to change that.

Karim sat quiet on the other end of the phone and marinated in the dead air I created while I panicked.  Crap.  I’m supposed to say something now.  But what?

Well I could just say, I love you, too.  That would be the polite thing to do, right?  Because even though I wasn’t in love with him then, I would fall in love with him eventually.  Probably…  Possibly…Maybe…

But just then the lyrics to Jazmine Sullivan’s hit, “Bust Your Windows” resonated through my brain:

You see you can’t just play with people’s feelings.  Tell them you love them and don’t mean it.

I’d love to think that my sophisticated subconscious plucked the song out of obscurity to assist me, that’s just not the case.  I’d spent weeks that summer playing the song on repeat, lamenting about my ex-boyfriend; the man who told me he loved me, even though he probably didn’t.  What a horrible experience that was.

So I sat there, still silent, thinking of Karim’s inevitably hurt feelings and how awkward my Ford Taurus would look without its windshield.

No, I decided.  I just can’t do that to him (or my car).  Not saying “I love you” back might hurt him, but telling him I loved him when I really didn’t had the potential of being flat-out devastating in the long run.  I had gone through that myself, and just wasn’t willing to do it to anyone else.

So that settled it, I would absolutely not be telling Karim that I loved him.  At least not that day anyway.  And now that I’d finally figured out what I won’tsay, all I’d have to do is figure out what I will.  My response should be something heartfelt and comforting, without sounding patronizing or misleading.  That would be perfect.

But unfortunately, with all that unbearable tension, my brain just wasn’t capable of perfect.  Appropriate, or ideal, or suitable wasn’t achievable either.  But awkward?  Now awkward, I could handle.

So finally after what seemed like a cool eternity, I responded to Karim’s apprehensive, “I love you” with a quivering, “You do?”

Ehnt! Wrong answer.  In fact it wasn’t an answer at all.  All that sorry response did was force Karim to repeat that, yes, he did love me and then offer a bulleted list of the reasons how he knew he loved me and why he loved me.  All while I sat on the other line, anxiously anticipating the arrival of the lightning bolt that was coming to strike me dead.

But in all seriousness, “You do?” wasn’t the right answer, but what was?  In a relationship, there are few times when a person is as willingly vulnerable as when they take the bold initiative to say “I love you” for the very first time.  Anything short of, “I love you too” is bound to be hurtful, not to mention, damaging to the person’s ego.  So accepting that you won’t be able to spare the person’s feelings if you want to be honest would be an excellent first step.

The second step?  The honesty itself.  Just tell the person the truth, whatever the truth maybe.  In Karim’s case, I wish I told him how much I liked him and how much I enjoyed his company and conversation.  I also would have been clear that I wanted to continue seeing him because I enjoyed being with him and was excited to see what the future had in store for us.

That’s not exactly a Shakespearean sonnet, but it was the honest truth.

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  • 79Sista

    That’s all good, but what if the person (who doesn’t say it back) encourages you to say it? Personally, I don’t mind saying it because ultimately it’s affirmation to the person where they stand in my life and not necessarily about my feelings. Honestly I don’t think saying you love someone should be disregarded or withheld out of fear of what the other person might think or feel, cause you just never know unless you put it out there and life is too short… as long as you can respect the other party’s choice to reciprocate it or not, there shouldn’t be any issues saying those 3 BIG words regardless of the outcome :)

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  • Emma Russell

    I saw Nadezhda Vyacheslav testimony on how she got that guy to love her as she did him.Though i don’t know her, i believed her cos she said Mutton Osun a spell caster help her seen it happen. I didn’t believe her cos she used a spell i believed her cos she made mention of a mutual spell caster i know of that is mutton Osun. I have also see a lot of testimony about his work on the the internet on blog pages and so on. I literally took a lip of faith to contact him and it turn out that it paid off. In my own case i didn’t ask that him to make anyone fall in love with me or ask that my cheating wife comes back. This time i was at fault i messed up.Will really like to say it was an honest mistake or a few hours or days of weakness but then i will be insulting my wife and the love i feel for her. I was in full control of what i was doing i had the choice not to cheat but i still did. She didn’t find out by herself i told hoping if i told her how sorry i am and how much i still love and want to be with her despite my betray she will forgive completely. It was the biggest mistake of my life maybe i should not have told her, i guess she would have still found out if she didn’t catch me then i bet the other lady would have told her what was going on to destroy what me and my wife had. It was obvious my betray really hurt her i could she it in her eye and i was really sorry. That is why i wasn’t so surprise when she asked that we go our separate ways. There and then i realized that i was following the part that ruined my life and my family. I literally lead four month of my life in misery. I have never felt like i needed her like i had felt begging was not an option nothing was an option cos she was gone. It was right about that time Mutton Osun came into the picture or when i asked that he help me get my wife to love as she did before. I was able to provide the items he asked that i get for the spell and send then down to him. Like Nadezhda Vyacheslav said “the spell does become effective at once that ” she was right also cos just after i did what Mutton Osun asked me to do with what he sent me, it took 7 days before anything happened i even thought for a minute that i had met a fake spell caster but in the end i am happy with my wife again. We going to be renewing our vows on the 20th of September. I was on the edge of become a walking dead a woman with nothing to live for thank my star Mutton Osun helped. I will also leave his contact for those who thing he can help them { [email protected] }

  • ameena

    I have a client who is in this situation and I sent him your URL, Thanks for such a thoughtfully written piece. I hope this reaches you!
    [email protected]