L of A Year (Get It?)Posted: 01/02/2012
I hope you all had a fun, happy holiday week or so with your families! I know I did.
I know that for some of you, “family” doesn’t necessarily mean your biological family. It might mean an adopted group of humans you get along with better than the people who birthed and helped raise you. But at any rate, I hope whatever you did and whoever you did it with made for some great times and memories. Did you score any great loot? I got a pile of gift cards and my mom made my girlfriend hand-knitted wool slippers
That being said, let’s get down to business.
Not too long ago, my pal Aaron had a conversation with me about his ladyfriend. Unfortunately it was not such a good conversation. I mean the subject wasn’t good, it was kind of depressing. It was about when a good time is to drop The L Word. (insert pic of TLW cast with “no, not this L word”)
His girlfriend said she loved him. This is great, right? Well, I think it’s great, but I’m kind of a sap and I love mushy stuff (If you ever tell anyone, I’ll deny it). The tricky problematic part comes when the second person is either not ready to say the L word, doesn’t feel like they are in love, or offers some other response that isn’t “OMG I LOVE YOU TOO”. So what’s a dude to do?
If you’ve never been in this kind of situation, here are some sample responses from two of my favorite humans – my girlfriend, and the person who usually makes my delicious iced mochas, Kelly!
Girlfriend says: “I probably wouldn’t but maybe if that helped me realize that I was, in fact, in love with them too, then I would say it back. Imean, didn’t that kind of happen with us? I’m always the first to fall in love anyway, so…”
Kelly: “Eventually it’s gonna get awkward for her and she’s gonna keep saying it and being like “What the hell!” I don’t know, he needs to figure out what he does feel and if he doesn’t feel that way maybe he’s just wasting her time. How long have they been together? How old is the dude?”
First things first, don’t panic. It’s okay to not be ready to say you love someone. It’s also totally okay to not be in love with someone! That’s the great part about human emotions – we can’t really force them, we just have to learn how to deal with them in their own special way. I strongly advise against saying it unless you’re ready (and ESPECIALLY don’t say it if you don’t love that person) Seriously, that should go without saying but it unfortunately DOESN’T go without saying. Some people are just stupid about repeating things they hear back to someone, especially when it’s considered a horrible awful thing to NOT say it.
Second, give her some SPACE. Saying something big like “I love you” is a big deal and people need time to react, even when they’re the ones saying it. This is especially a million percent true if the person who said it doesn’t get the response they hoped for right away. So what is an appropriate course of action for this situation?
My girlfriend probably said it better than anyone else could (except maybe for me): “ideally someone would sit you down and be like, ‘Hey I’m in love with you how do you feel about that?’ and then you’d have the opportunity to voice concerns on the matter and maybe talk about how you do love that person or maybe you’re really really slow to fall in love with somebody because of XYZ but when somebody’s just like ‘I love you’ it’s kind of hard to build a discussion out of that or be rational about that.”
I know that love and emotions don’t qualify as rational, but right now let’s realize that you can speak rationally about irrational things. That’s a little deep so I’ll leave that alone, but really, it is A-OKAY to wait and cool down before talking about something big like being in love.
Here’s some really important advice for EVERYONE to follow: if your dudefriend (or ladyfriend, I obvs can’t judge/discriminate) doesn’t say “I love you” back to you right after you say it for the first time ever, DO NOT PANIC! This is a big deal for them, too – it’s not easy to hear someone confess love, because I honestly don’t think anyone truly considers the fact that someone other than a parental unit loves them in a big way. If you don’t get a response right away, remember to chill out about it. Being upset won’t make them say it out of anything but guilt, and that is SO unhealthy I can’t even come up with a good comparison.
Also, remember that they might just plain old not feel that way. Once again I turn to my trusty pal Kelly to bring this one home:
“I also think I’d be comfortable enough to say it, or maybe comfortable enough to tell them I’m not ready to say it”. (And then she sang Haddaway’s “What is Love?” and the conversation stopped being productive)
To summarize, don’t freak out if someone you’re dating says they love you. (Wait. Freak out if it hasn’t been a longer term thing. If you’ve been together a week, don’t be declaring undying love. There’s NO way that’s a real thing.) Don’t smother those people bugging them about why they think they love you or whatever, unless you are really trying to change their minds. And try to keep it comfortable and intelligent, don’t insult anyone and don’t break anyone’s heart. Most DEFINITELY do not mess with someone in a vulnerable love-declaring state. It’s rude and I guarantee you’ll lose all your friends forever.