It’s absurd to expect to truly LOVE anything within a few months of knowing it, yet somehow we are expected to declare true love to our significant other within days.
Those three words are the crux of many a relationship. If you say it too soon, you’re a weirdo. And if you wait too long, you’re a commitment-phobic, heartless puppy kicker.
And until the words are uttered, there’s this big, weird white elephant in the room. Constantly looming in the distance, ready to pounce at any moment.
It’s like— “Who’s going to say it first?” “What am I going to say back?” “Shit, it’s going to be so awkward because I barely know this person.” “I just want to get it over with.” “I’m hungry.”
So here are my go-to steps to breaking the “I LOVE YOU” spell in your favor:
- Moments of Silence: Begin to inject long intense moments of quiet. Test out that space between you and your significant other — live in it, let it happen. The more you can embrace the awkward silence, the less terrifying the leap into popping the “I love you” spell will feel.
- Love all Around: Start practicing your use of “I love you” by declaring your love for everything. Say that you love [insert current season], or [insert food you’re eating], or [insert website you’re browsing]. It’ll get you and your significant other used to the sound of the words. Less shocking when it’s directed at you.
- The Take Away: Nonchalantly mention how you’ve never really said ILY in a grown-up meaningful, self-aware sense. Like, you’ve said it to your Mom (you have to) and to your mailman (you’ve grown up with him) but not to a human of significance. Build it up. And then take it away. Don’t say it, just hint at how important actually saying it is to you, and wait a minimum of 3 weeks thereafter. It’s the best possible appetizer, just enough to make your significant other hungry as hell for the main meat-based entree.
- Flip the Script: Get the other person to say it FIRST. Don’t be a pussy. And the best way to do this is — when you find yourself in intimate moments (revealing your fears, recounting childhood memories, discussing world hunger), take an emphatic pause, heave a dramatic sigh, make deep and emotional eye-contact with your almost-loved-one and ask “what are you thinking?” If they don’t say it first, they’re just dumb. Wait another 3 weeks. They will.
- Training Wheels: If it’s really not happening, the best way to egg it on is to say things like “who loves you?” It’s not quite “I love you.” But like any good therapist, asking questions probes and prods enough to get the other person to open up and divulge.
** And don’t forget. If the person you’re with doesn’t love you, your Grandma did!