The L Word

Do you remember that beginning stage of every relationship where you’re having lots of fun with your partner and really really like them? In fact, you like them so much you wish that instead of curling up on your couch with the latest episode of gossip girl you were watching sport, just because that would mean he was there with you? It’s that early stage before either of you have dropped the ‘l’ word, but you’re definitely thinking about it.

During this time you’ve got to figure out how you feel, but before that you’ve also got to fine tune your everyday language and watch out for those pre ‘l’ word bombs that could go off at any minute, leaving behind a deafening silence and an awkwardness akin to asking someone how far along they are when they aren’t actually pregnant.

You know the moments I’m referring to, right? Like when he brings you a breakfast McMuffin meal after a big night out, when those little people won’t stop banging the inside of your head with their hammers (or so it feels), and your first response is, “Yessss, I love you!”.

Boom! Pre ‘l’ word bomb.

He’s now wondering if you meant what you said or if it was the heat of the moment. You’re kicking yourself for saying it even though you would have told a stranger you loved them if they brought you food from the golden arches to ease your hangover. You stare at each for what seems like an eternity (in reality about 5 seconds) before explaining, in a jumbled and fast-paced manner, that you “didn’t mean it like that” and you “would have said it to anyone”, before asking “can we just forget that ever happened?”. Which, of course, you never will.

It can be a hard thing to know though, whether or not you’re in love. You’ll often hear people say, “when you know, you know”. But that’s not very helpful advice now, is it? Those first few months of a relationship are filled with a lot of fresh new feelings and it can be hard to know which ones to trust. Are you just getting swept up in the moment of a new and shiny relationship or is it a real connection?

For me, it’s when I find myself thinking about it all the time. I tend to think about how I would respond if he said it to me, or how to word it if I said it to him. Much like a football coach, I think up a game-plan. When I catch myself thinking about this on a regular basis then I know the feeling is real. I’ve been told that for others, it’s when they miss their partner whenever they’re not around. There’s probably more to it than that, but it is a good starting point.

Most of the time, there will simply come a moment where you’re casually sitting with your partner, like any other day, and they will say or do something that makes you smile and all you want to do is tell them you love them. If you do ever find yourself in this situation, my advice is to go with Nike and just do it.

Telling someone you love them for the first time will always bring that fear of rejection if they don’t say it back – male or female, it’s the same for everyone. Of course, you don’t want to come on too strong by making a proclamation of love after only 2 weeks of dating. However, if you’ve been together a considerable amount of time (read: at the very minimum one month and very maximum 6 months – let’s face it, if you don’t feel any love after six months it’s probably never going to happen) then my advice when the words start forming on your lips is not to try and swallow them back, but spit them out. And if your partner doesn’t say it back? Plaster on a smile and remember that it’s better to speak up and know where you stand than stay quiet and be left in the dark. After all, didn’t someone once say love will light the way.

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