Some Thoughts on (Possible) Love

Hello, everyone. I’m sorry it’s been a while, but I have two excuses.

One, I just decided to start a big writing project that will require a strong exercise of discipline, and I am not very good at exercising discipline at all, and if I am ever going to exercise discipline successfully, I can only concentrate said discipline on one thing.

Two, for the first time since I started blogging, I am in a relationship. A real relationship. As in there is a person who I can introduce as “my boyfriend” without panicking that he will race immediately from the room/board the next available flight to Panama/think that I’m crazy.

(I was fairly sure that this was the case, but, for the record, did wait for D to initiate the gesture by introducing me as “his girlfriend” before I began to reciprocate. I hear Panama is lovely this time of year.)

Now, as I’ve told you, at the outset D made the very thoughtful gesture of offering not to keep reading my blog. (I don’t mean to classify it as heroic for someone to deny themselves the pleasure of my writing–though he does like reading it–but, well, you get my drift.)

What I have not told you is that I promptly sabotaged his generosity by informing him that there would be some posts he could read–thereby putting myself in the awkward position of having to determine whether each entry is or isn’t “D-friendly.”

(For reasons that may be no more complicated than ego, I have an oddly fierce desire for people–like my parents, and now boyfriend–for whom reading my blog is a distinctly perilous endeavor, to read it anyhow.)

But I digress. The point is that D, thanks to my ego/idiocy, may or may not be reading this. And so I hesitate to write, well, anything. But especially this.

What I lack in discipline, though, I make up for in fecklessness. So here we go.

I may, or my not, be in love with him.

I don’t state this equivocally because I have any hesitation about us: I know that I love us. I grow more impressed all the time with him as a person and with how much I enjoy being with him. We are good.

But what interests me is not so much the question of whether I love him, which is, after all, rather personal (I know) and I’m sure will become clear over time. What interests me at the moment is the fact that figuring out whether I do seems, sometimes, entirely distinct from figuring out whether to say “I love you.”

Bear with me. Because it’s all about those moments: you know what I’m talking about. Those moments, when you’re embracing, or just looking at each other longingly (or, you know, “lovingly”), and it feels like you ought to say something.

And, well, “I like you” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

I remember that before my ex said he loved me he, in those moments, would call me his “favorite thing.” D and I sometimes tell each other how “wonderful” or “amazing” the other is. There are things to say.

But still, I find myself beset with an impulse to say it–that most committed, serious of declarations–that I fear is entirely separate from the question of whether I truly feel it.

So for now, I’m resisting. I think it’s safe to say that I am falling in love with D–with all the blissfulness and wonder that implies. But there’s no need to rush things.

Starting to call me”babe” by our third date notwithstanding, D does tend to move rather slowly. (A claim that he supported, upon my casting of doubt, by informing me that he did spend two months considering whether to ask me on a date.)

Anyhow, I’m not sure what will make either of us genuinely ready to say it: it’s a big deal, but it’s also not– my informal survey of friends revealed that most people said it after something like two months–alarmingly short, to me.

But then there’s one of my best friends, who (thrillingly, inspirationally) appears to be just about as much in love with her new beau as anyone I’ve seen in years–who, after five months, still doesn’t feel like it’s something she needs to say or even hear.

And as she put it, that isn’t really what matters. What matters is the fact that the other day on the subway she saw a young woman sitting, tenderly, together with a man, her partner, in a wheelchair and felt like she could truly relate to their feelings for one another–something she wasn’t sure she would have said before.

“Love,” she wrote to me in her email. “Pretty crazy.”

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11 Comments

Filed under Love Life

11 responses to “Some Thoughts on (Possible) Love

  1. kathy

    Love-ly 🙂

  2. DG here. Greatness! I remember when JT and I started dating, he’d say “I like you”. I always thought it was adorable!

    • That is cute! Why are you logged in as him!? Where are you!? How are you feeling!? We CAN’T WAIT for you to get here!! xoxo

    • ep

      My husband and I still say “I like you” to each other every now and again. Sometimes it’s comforting that there’s “like” as well as “love” in the relationship!!!

  3. ep

    So, E, as you know, I thought this was a “brave” post – not just because D. could in fact be reading it, but also, in a sense, I think it’s brave to be so deeply contemplative about love.

    What I mean is that I think contemplating love, and especially the word “love” and the act of saying “i love you” is really offsetting fears of other issues. People are afraid of loving and being loved and so they offset that fear onto the word and the act of saying it, rather than confronting the fear of rejection or the fear that loving someone might not mean that you end up with them forever.

    I guess I’m saying that saying “I love you” is something we should be able to do, to express how we feel, without it necessarily expressing a commitment… because in truth, love and commitment are connected, but they’re radically different things.

    So, I say this: in general I believe that we should be less afraid to love, less afraid to be loved, and far, far less afraid of saying or hearing the words “I love you” when they are delivered sincerely.

    That doesn’t really solve your predicament, I realize. It’s still scary to say “I love you” when the other person might respond, “um, I like you too” but … it’s less scary when you say it as an affirmation of yourself, and not as an implied question, “how much do you really like me/want to be with me/whatever?”

    Pardon my inarticulateness. 🙂

    • Thanks, Erin. You’re so right on about conflating love and commitment. I think there’s part of all of us that wants to hear the words purely because of the security we think it connotes. Good (and articulate) points, as always!

  4. This is your typical over analysis (of course). In my opinion, if you love him you will tell him so and if you’re not sure about telling him then you don’t love him. I knew I loved my wife when I had no uncertainty about it.

  5. Suz

    Man, I’ll tell you guys what love, all the big brother love on this comment swatch. Excellent indeed! 🙂

  6. It took me and A. 10 months to say it cause we both move slowly, too, though I felt it early early early. We had a talk 5 months in about why neither of us had said it. But I totally get it, I got tired of saying, “I’m crazy about you.” And, “I adore you. ” The “I love you” slipped out on a whim and since I’ve said it, the love had grown so much deeper. But there is something beautiful about not over-using it, too. Enjoy the falling-in-love process, it’s amazing!

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