When someone says, “love you,” it sounds like they are declaring the proverbial relationship milestone of “crossing over.” It can be an exciting time, but there is also a lot that comes with those three little words. Saying them may be the beginning of the end for some relationships, especially if one person does not return those feelings or want the same kind of commitment that the other does.
A common belief is that women say “I love you” first, but in fact it could be a matter of generation or even personality. Some people are naturally more casual and relaxed in their communication, and they do not always need to make a grand gesture with every interaction. These people are more likely to use the casual “love you” rather than the more formal, structured “love, my darling.”
In some cases, a person who uses the phrase casually does not mean it as a romantic declaration. Instead, they may be using it as a trial balloon. They are trying it out to gauge how others react, and if the response is not positive they can still fall back on the ol’ tried-and-true excuse of plausible deniability — they will just say they didn’t mean it that way.
Many people equate “love you” with a desire for increased commitment, so they are nervous about saying it until they are sure that their partner feels the same way. They are afraid to lose that spark of infatuation that drove them to begin with. This is a normal reaction, but it can be confusing for those who do not have the same level of emotional maturity as the other person.
Those who do feel that same connection and desire for stability are more likely to say those three magic words when they are ready, according to the research. Psychotherapist and host of VH1’s Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn, Jenn Mann, agrees that it is important to evaluate a relationship’s temperature before you move forward with the proverbial bridge-burning moment of “I love you.”
In addition to gauging whether your partner wants a commitment or not, it is also important to assess their behavior. If they are consistently selfless, thoughtful, and considerate of your needs, it is likely that they are in a healthy place to declare their emotions.
The most enduring happiness comes from giving of yourself. This can be in the form of time, money, or creative energy. Those who are the most satisfied in their lives know that they have gone beyond their own egos and now live to serve others, whether it be family, friends, or complete strangers. They have a sense of responsibility to their fellow humans and a drive to improve the world around them. Those are the people who really know how to love you. They are the ones who care for and about you, even when the going gets tough. They are the ones who will help you up when you fall down, and will never let you go alone.