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I Said “I Love You” And He Said “Thanks”: How One Man’s Rejection Of Those 3 Words Almost Stifled Me In Future Relationships
So there I was, feeling a certain sensation in my stomach and in my heart that was telling me that my boyfriend at the time was someone I was in love with. It was the first time I had ever said those three words to a man of the opposite sex who wasn’t my daddy or brothers, and actually meant it. While spending quality time together, I decided that I couldn’t hold it in any longer, and after around eight months of being together, I finally expressed my full feelings to him. However, the look on his face, a mix of surprise and worry, let me know that he didn’t feel the same, but that was okay. While it definitely would have been nice to have our exchange of “I Love Yous” be like something out of a movie where we say it one after the other and live happily ever after, at the time, I was also mentally prepared for the fact that he might not be ready to say it. It was his first “serious” relationship, so I could understand if he felt like he wasn’t there yet, or was unsure of his feelings. Therefore, I smiled and told him, “No pressure, I just wanted to let you know how I feel, but you don’t have to say anything if you’re not ready.” I could tell a weight was lifted off of his shoulders, and after a few seconds, he replied to my declaration of love with a “Thanks.” A hug and kiss probably would have been more fitting, but it was fine. Well, it was fine at that moment at least.
But as an eight-month relationship turned into more than a year and a half, I became annoyed by the “Thank You.” Conversations would come to a close and I would feel so inclined to say “I Love You,” but there was that “Thank You” once again. While it was all right for a little while, we were at a stage in our relationship where I felt that if he wasn’t saying it by now, he probably wasn’t going to say it in the future. And hey, a sistah can’t put two years in a relationship where someone can only say they care for you A LOT as consolation. The more I said it as the relationship went on and the more time that passed without me hearing it back began to hurt my feelings a great deal, and before I knew it, the relationship went downhill and finally off the cliff.
At the time, it was almost like payback for my past false use of those three words. I had a boyfriend before the one who wouldn’t say “I Love You,” who told me that he was in love with me after only a few months of dating. Though I didn’t feel the same way, always one trying not to hurt other people’s feelings if I can avoid it, I said it back, not even knowing what the words really and truly meant. After my conscious ate at me for weeks and weeks, I sat this ex-boyfriend down and told him that I really wasn’t in love with him at all, and the feelings I was hoping to avoid hurting were very visible on his face. So after my boyfriend at the time gave me a “thanks” for every “I love you” my heart spewed out, I felt as though I was getting my just dues, and that I had played myself by saying how I felt first. I quietly told myself that I wouldn’t do such a thing again.
In the relationship I’m in now though, while definitely not perfect, I have found a happiness that I haven’t had in a very long time. Once again I felt the same feelings I had with the previous boyfriend, yet stronger. But because of all the drama and the sense of rejection that came from that situation for me, I decided to keep my mouth closed. I didn’t want to be that girl who cared more about a boyfriend than he did for me, so I tried my best to play it cool, even when he was going all out for me with his romantic gestures. But there’s something about being in love that causes a physical reaction. As I said before, it’s almost like you can feel something in your stomach, like the pressure of holding in valuable, if not earth-shattering information is causing you to want to blurt out how you feel. And if that’s not enough, aside from cheesing at the mere mention of the person you love or bringing them up in conversations they have nothing to do with, it’s often an epiphany that comes after something big. Like them coming to your home in the early hours of the morning on a Wednesday to rescue you by helping you look for a mouse in your apartment and calm your tears and panic (the last boyfriend couldn’t even help a sistah out at 9 p.m. when I saw my first roach in my apartment crawling by my bed, SMH). I had all these thoughts and emotions and feelings in my brain and body and was doing my damnedest to hold them all in. After feeling like a sucker the first time, I did my best to keep my feelings to myself the second time around.
And then one day, while sitting and talking with my boyfriend, he smiled at me and then randomly said out of the blue that he loved me. “I haven’t said those words to anyone in a really long time.” The declaration was a total surprise to me, as I had wondered how he was feeling about “us” for a while. And when he said it, I happily said “I love you too!” with such emotion, it was as if the fools at Publishers Clearing House came to my door. It was reciprocated love, something that in all my relationships beforehand, I had not experienced. The weight I took off my own shoulders by finally speaking with my heart was one of the best feelings in the world.
As with most relationships, I learned from such a situation that you can’t let past pain and mishaps from relationships keep you from enjoying life and love to the fullest. Having my “I Love You” continuously smiled at and avoided like I was asking when my ring was coming made me feel like a fool, and it definitely held me back from fully opening up and expressing myself to the new man in my life. However, I won’t let it hold me back any further.
For most of us, the dreaded words, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you,” are devastating. They chill us to the bone and we begin to fear for our relationship. Those six words bring back past memories when we loved someone deeply, but they just wanted to be friends.
If someone says it you, it may trigger the pain of a previous relationship. So, what do you do? Here are some tips I’ve found are effective:
1. Move beyond your fear to hear what he needs. When we’re afraid, all we can think about are the disasters we’re sure lie ahead. We ruminate over increasingly dramatic and tragic occurrences: “He doesn’t think I’m attractive. He’s probably going to leave me. I’m going to be all alone the rest of my life.” Does any of this sound familiar?
Get a hold of yourself. Don’t go down that path. Instead, ask yourself “what does he need?” He may be telling you he needs to recapture his passion for life.
Read the rest at YourTango
In a relationship (cue Carrie Bradshaw's voice), does it matter who says "I love you" first? You can imagine different people have different perspectives on the matter. Some believe it's all about how you feel and expressing the sentiment immediately. Others see those three words as determinants of the balance of power in a relationship; hence, they should be articulated strategically. As usual, Madame Noire took to the streets of New York to find out how people approached those three words...
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“Couples Therapy” has become my new addiction. I can honestly say I had absolutely no intention of watching it until I saw the interview we conducted with Tashera Simmons. Listening to her speak, you could tell that she was sincere. She wasn’t going on the show to get chose, to launch her singing career or to throw drinks on her cast mates. She was going on the show to work on her relationship with her husband and friend, Earl, aka DMX.
So I watched, just to see how they would interact with one another. Eventually I grew to like the other housemates too; but for me, it was all about DMX and Tashera. And like many of you all, I was saddened and even disgusted by the way he spoke to her in the first episode. Disgusted because it was completely disrespectful and dismissive but also saddened because I just got the sense that he wasn’t a horrible person. That he just had some major issues he needed to address. As more and more episodes air, you can see that DMX really loves Tashera. It’s just that the way he knows how to love her is not nearly enough. Surely, a few of us have come across a man who loved us but was dealing with issues that blocked him from showing or expressing it in a way that was consistent or acceptable.
Well, we’re finally seeing what DMX’ block is. It’s his mother.
I know that sounds like Freud 101, but in this instance, she is a huge reason why DMX wants to “fawk as many women as he can until his d*%k falls off.” It’s no coincidence that he seeks inappropriate affection from women when his own mother denied the healthy kind she should have given him as a child.
I haven’t seen the entire episode yet but a 3:00 minute clip turned out to be very revealing.
It’s almost too hard to watch. Not only because those are real emotions for DMX but also because those emotions are real for people in our lives too. In my own extended family, the words “I love you,” get caught up in people’s throats. My mother told me that when she was growing up, her parents, my grandparents, never told she or her siblings that they loved them. Now, she could feel that they did; but as human beings that’s not enough, we need to hear those words. So when she grew up, she started telling my grandmother and grandfather that she loved them when they got off the phone with one another. Initially, she said both my grandparents had a hard time with the words. Sometimes you can feel something so strongly that it physically pains you to express it. But thankfully, they got over it and started saying “I love you too.” And it got easier and easier. Eventually they were able to say it first, to all their children. By the time I came along, my grandparents were always telling my sister and I they loved us. I didn’t know until I got older that it took them years, decades to get to that place. I just reaped the benefits of my mother’s initiative.
So I included this video and I’m writing this piece as a gentle reminder to all of us that our actions, while important, aren’t always enough. We need the words too. Because being able to say you love someone is an action in and of itself. If you have people in your family who’ve never told you they love you, it might not be a bad idea for you to say it first. Chances are, they’ll say it back. And if they don’t, you’ve been honest about your feelings. If you have children and the words burn in your throat, I pray to God you find a way to let them out because DMX has told us and shown us that no matter how old we are and how tough we think we are, we all need to be somebody’s baby and we all need to hear these three words.
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How soon into a relationship should you and your man be throwing around the words, “I love you?”
During college, I was in a relationship with a guy for over a year and a half. We had been through hell and high water together–a vindictive ex of mine on campus, his constant acquisitions of female friends that unintentionally started drama–and like most men do in the beginning, he pursued me to no end to be his girlfriend. But once the relationship got going fast, things seemed to be moving a little too slow. Well, maybe just for me. That vindictive ex? He said “I love you” faster than those talking dolls from back in the day, and when he said it, we were just talking again after a break up, and had been doing so for maybe a month? It came out so fast that I didn’t feel it in return and wound up lying and saying it back, only to retract it like a jerk. With that experience in the bag, I think I just assumed as a young woman still learning about love, that it wouldn’t take too long or too much the next time around. Call me spoiled.