~Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The L Word

I love you.

They are touted as those three little words. Three little syllables. They don't feel little right now.

Sometimes I look at Abraham and I think those three little words, and I think I would have already said them had it not be the longest sentence in the history of the world.

If it was just "I," it would have squeaked out by now. That's simple enough to say. "I." It could even escape accidentally.

I love you.

You can just feel the cavernous space and gravity between each word, dragging you into the land of no return. It doesn't escape from your lips accidentally. There's no "Just kidding" or "I'm just playing."


There are times when he stares at me and I just think that he's thinking those three little words too. He watches me in the early morning as I struggle awake. Trying to coax it out of him, I ask, "What are you thinking?"

He shakes his head that he doesn't have a thought to give. Then, almost as an afterthought, he quietly murmurs, "You look pretty when you smile" or "You look pretty with your head on the pillow like that."


You know when you're watching a movie with your parents and it cuts to a graphic sex scene, and everybody in the room freezes into an uncomfortable silence? No one even chuckles or laughs or acknowledges the scene? That's become us with scenes in which the characters declare their love for each other.


We went away to the beach this weekend. We were drinking out of the back of a friend's car. I was drinking gin. He was drinking rum. We were standing on the dock at the back of a very long line to order fresh seafood. Somewhere between refill 3 and 4 of our plastic cups, we both got hammered.

He stood behind me in line and wrapped his arms around me. "Do you like me when I'm drunk?" he asked.

"Are you kidding me? I love drunk Abe."

Despite the statement being true, I felt like I'd swallowed a fireball. Anxiety rose up in my chest, radiating a burning heat. I said "love." It wasn't "I love you," but it was still too close for comfort.

"Careful," he lightheartedly warned. "You said the L word."

I decided to play it off. I turned around and laughed at him. I twirled my dress and modeled for him. "Do you like my dress? Or do you LOVE my dress?" I giggled. Then I leaned in to him and purred, "Do you like blow jobs? Or do you LOVE blow jobs?"

He laughed at my drunken silliness. "I see what you're doing. I'm on to you."


All of a sudden I find myself afraid. The girl who claims that she would rather love messily than not at all is finally silenced. Because I have finally found it, and I have something to lose. Although the argument that if he doesn't feel the same way means I never had him is perfectly valid.

I gave him the green light for the relationship. I gave him my phone number and told him to call me. I wonder if there shouldn't be a balance of power to relationships. What if I made myself available to him and then declared my love for him? Would it make the relationship unbalanced in his favor? Would he have all the power? But the funny thing is if I said that thought out loud to him, he would laugh and tell me it never crossed his mind.


I love you.

I think I would just be so torn up if he didn't say it back.


Dawn said...

Can I give you some advice? Don't play the game. This is a very different relationship for you. Don't play the game. Don't be afraid to say what you feel. If you want to say "I love you," then say it.

I'd bet my last nickel that (a) he'll say it back and that (b) he's being careful about saying it first, a bit unsure of how you feel.

I know that "I love you TOO" may not feel as good for you to hear, but I'm guessing that he'll say "And I love YOU," without the "too."

Bottom line: You feel it? Say it.

Bottom-bottom line: That's just my opinion. If you're scared, don't listen to me. :)

Mummy Dearest said...

Part of being in a REALationship is being vulnerable. It's like standing backwards and having someone there to catch you when you fall.

(OMG, I'm totally profound today. What happened?)

MissM said...

You know I know how you feel and have been where you are. I'm only an email away!

(But I don't think you have anything to worry about.)

Red Stethoscope said...

I don't think you have to be worried about him saying it back, when he so clearly feels it. Maybe he's just waiting for you to say it first.

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I think he is waiting for you to say it first, and I love the comments from Dawn and Mummy Dearest, they are so right!

I think that with him, he is waiting for you to take the lead.

Seine said...

I feel the exact same way, and I've probably asked "what are you thinking" one too many times. When he's asleep with his back to me, I mouth 2 of the 3 words (and somtimes all 3), as if to practice saying it, as if to lower the pedestal for actually saying it. (it doesn't work that way).

No matter how many times I've told myself that maybe he's thinking the same thing, having the same hesitations, and may just be waiting for me to say it first, I can't do it. I just keep practicing in the dark.

Sarah said...


Anonymous said...

Dawn is right. I wish I had followed that advice. There were many reasons why I didn't but I wish I had - and intellectually, I knew I should have but I still couldn't do it.

I think it's definitely something that you joke about it. That's big and, to me, indicative of deeper feelings. Otherwise, I don't think he would even joke. I wouldn't even joke about it unless I felt that way about him - or was headed in that direction.

Don't let yourself get to a bad place where it's like, is he EVER going to say it? Been there; not a good place to be.

I remember all the movies we'd watch and I'd be feeling that same awkwardness! So much angst!

Can't wait to hear how this finally comes out - it will :) These are the little things you'll look back on and smile about later :)

heisschic said...

How comfortable are you with waiting? For how long? Is there a point where, in a drunken haze, "it'll mean something" if he hasn't said it yet?

If this could in any way threaten the happiness you two have, I agree with the above comments.

That being said- I have an experience to share:

With the bf now (of 3+ years), waiting for him to say it first was important to me. We had discussed a vague future by 6mo ("I can see myself ending up with someone like you), but it took a year (A YEAR!) for him to be comfortable with "I love you."

And yes- I knew how I felt 2 or 3mo in. I went through the games of "I'll say it first by his birthday" "at 6mo" or "9mo" or "Christmas" or "New Years..." but for some weird reason, it was important for me to hear it first. So I waited.

Waiting for him to say it first wasn't part of some game. It wasn't about control. I can't describe why it was important to me, to us, that I wait.... but it was.

So if you feel that way too, I get it. It's not easy, but (for me) it was worth it.

Dawn said...

Heisschic, I get what you're saying.

What I -- as an old, married chick -- am saying is: "Say what you mean, and mean what you say." It's so simple, really. It has nothing to do with control but has everything to do with expressing yourself.

Lilly said...

There isn't much to add to these great comments but I think you should say it when the moment comes that you're no longer scared to say it, when you say it with confidence simply because you want to declare it, simply because you want him to know how much he means to you. I think that magical moment will come naturally and in that moment, you won't even be thinking about your fears.

I also think he's being cautious with you, for you. And if that's true, your fears about reciprocation are for nothing. ;)

Englandia... said...

Damn, he shouldn't be exclusive for you for this long and call you from the middle of the ocean if he's not feeling the L word.

Sarah said...

I pretty much made my guy say it first... he had never said it to anyone before so I knew it would be a huge thing for him when he did. He first said it in a drunk text so I told him to say it to me in person and when he was sober... so he did the next week! I felt it for him sooo early on that I didnt want to be blurting it out in the second week and cause any tension there! But I think Abe love you :)

Breeza said...

Say it. Be brave. :)

Anonymous said...

Well if you don't want to risk saying it first then you might be waiting awhile. I mean that kindly for Abraham seems like a lovely (and perfect for you) but cautious man. I am sure he will say it eventually.
It is making for interesting entries.

Emma said...

Sure, it's all great fun and games to be the relationship advice giver in this situation. To be brave and say, "Oh, just say it!"

It's completely different to be IN the situation. To know what's at stake.

I won't give advice. All I will say is I've been the girl who said it first twice now, and both times, looking back, boy oh boy do I wish I had waited for him to say it.

Dawn said...

Emma, I'm sorry that happened to you. I said it once first. He said it back. We're married now.

I don't mean to imply that we're married BECAUSE I said it. I just mean that it was the first relationship in which I didn't play the game. I said what I felt, and I felt what I said.

Anonymous said...

Having written this same blog two days before you (although I have to admit yours is written ever so more eloquently than mine was) I am now in a position where the words have been uttered, in to the darkness in the moments before sleep. But not since. How the hell do you say it a second time?

Great blog by the way, I shall enjoy following you :)

Moi said...

Too many times I've been in the position where I've told "I love you", but didn't feel that I could say the words back honestly.

So many relationships have ended with me only afterward figuring out the feeling that was there underneath all along. Sometimes I loved her, sometimes I didn't.

All you can do is throw it out there, share how you feel.

Even if the words aren't returned, you've been honest. Even if the words aren't returned, he might very much love you. Even if the words aren't returned, you've loved.

Let the truth escape.

Anonymous said...

Florida said I love you first after 4 weeks of dating. She was hammered and claimed not to remember the next day. No big deal until I started really feeling it. So I admitted I was falling in love with her about 4 weeks after that and said it multiple times after that. But since her first drunken one didn't really count. I technically said it first and it changed our relationship.

My bottom line..I want to hear it out of her lips first.

Hope said...

This was such a lovely post. And I'm so proud of you.

The fact that you're scared to say it, and haven't just blurted it out already, shows me that you're also being cautious and protecting yourself.

This is good thing.

But then again, I think that when we love someone we don't say it because we want them to say it back. We say it because we just want them to know how we feel.

Peach said...

aghagahg, I'm so totally like you on this! I will HAPPILY say things like " I love that about you " and actually flirt with the word, often and deliberately. But I LOVE YOU is way too much for me to say first without 100% knowing they feel 100% the same. SO I have only said it first when I knew they felt the same, OR when I was in a (crazy and odd) situation where I thought I would never get the guy anyhow and it was very casually said and oddly it came back to me (Harry's dad). My Nan always said to wait til boys said it first. Aghghg, I know I would probably blurt it out drunk in reality and then hate myself ! Can't advise, but your relationship sounds sound. I don't think you have anything to lose, you wouldn't lose A for saying that... xxx

Bathwater said...

I have never held back or deliberately watched what the other person said. I can not tell you who said the words first in any of my relationships. Maybe I said it first in all, I don't know.

Not saying it doesn't make keep it from being true. It just hides your feelings from the other person.

Does it get complicated? Of course it does. That is what love is all about.

Miss Devylish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Devylish said...

Sorry - I had a typo..

I've vowed not to be that vulnerable in recent years - as in saying it first. Doesn't mean it's the right way to go, but it keeps me a teensy bit more protected.. as in my most recent break up. I used to be really bad at protecting myself so it's necessary for me. There were 'I heart you's' this time tho - from both of us and when I thought he was going there because he told me, I thought he'll say it in his own time and I'll already be there so it'll be easy. He knew that's how I felt tho. I'd implied as much. But I loved just sitting in the feeling like a sweet secret and waiting for it to overwhelm me where I couldn't hold back any longer. Alas that's not going to happen w/ him at least not soon and possibly not ever, but I appreciate your caution. I've learned it's wise when I used to think damn the consequences, this is how I feel. Be honest! But there's nothing wrong w/ living in those lovely good feelings for a while til you're both good and ready to say it. And I'm sure you will. Happiness to you sugar.. xo

The Mad Inscriber said...

FWIW, I said it first, somewhere about 6 months to a year in. I waited a few months to hear it back. Having said that, such a situation would probably drive you stark raving mad. I do agree with Dawn, so I don't think you'll have any worries, or any wait.


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