Four letter words have a bad rap, and although love is supposed to be all warm and fuzzy, it sometimes can be the scariest four letter word of them all.
So, when I started to worry that I was falling for my boyfriend a little bit faster than he seemed to be falling for me (ridiculous, I know), it’s pretty safe to say I panicked. After all, the leap from “like” to “love” is the biggest relationship milestone since “talking” to “boyfriend and girlfriend.”
I started wondering when he’d finally drop the “L” world, and setting up perfect scenarios in my head. Every time he did something sweet for me, like buy my favorite bag of chips for a movie night, or insist on walking me to class, I’d wonder: “is this it? Is this the moment?” Instead of enjoying the time we spent together, I was tense and constantly on edge.
I turned into a crazy, Googling freak of a girl. I read ridiculous articles like “How to make any guy fall for you!” and searched “who should say I love you first?” much more than once. I thought very seriously about making him try that thing where you stare into a person’s eyes for four minutes (scientifically proven to get anyone to fall in love with anyone, or something like that), without telling him why. My best friend was away on an internship, and thank God no one pays for phone conversations by the minute any more, because we racked up some serious time discussing the pros and cons of being the one to say it first.
- I was scared. No one is jumping up and down to put their heart out their in the open—ready and waiting to be potentially crushed. This way it was all on him.
- I wanted to know what moment he’d pick: what would it be that finally put him over the edge—because while I know I give great head I was pretty sure that wouldn’t be it.
- I didn’t want it to seem like I was pushing him. Even in my state of insanity, I realized that just because I wanted to say it, didn’t mean he would feel the same, and I didn’t want him to feel tricked into saying something he wasn’t ready for.
- Kind of like with proposing, there’s a little bit of a stigma about girls saying it first (just being honest). I mean, Phoebe got things thrown at her for trying to propose to Mike at the Knicks game. I wanted no metaphorical popcorn thrown.
- Feminism, right? Girls can say anything boys can say better, or something like that.
- I was just plain tired of holding it in. I wanted to know what he’d say back (please, oh please, don’t let it be “thank you”) and just get it off my chest.
In the end, after all the talking and Googling and decisions made and unmade (if I sound like I way overanalyzed this, believe me, I did) I just turned to him one night and just said it: “I love you.”
He gazed deep into my eyes, gave me a big squeeze, and… didn’t say it back. And you know what? That was okay. He was glad I had told him, and explained why he wasn’t quite ready to declare himself all in. We were actually able to have an open and honest discussion about our feelings, normally something I would shun completely. Turns out, telling the guy I loved how I felt made a lot more sense than telling the internet, or even my best friend.
But seriously, if he decides to return the sentiment for the first time right after a roll in the hay, he’s going to be hearing some very different four letter words..