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When Did the Words 'I Love You' Become Meaningless?

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When did the words "I Love You" become as common an expression and as insignificant as "See you," or "Talk to you later?" Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but to me the word LOVE means just that.

I guess I spent too many of my developmental years going to the movies. Its affect on me was to make me a hopeless romantic. I wanted to be the girl in the movie who meets the young man. He looks at me, I look at him, and sparks fly. We are in love. We will marry, have 2.1 children and have the house with the white picket fence. I will always keep a perfect home, cook perfect meals, raise perfect children, look at him with all the love I feel and he will return my love. We are one. Whenever he says, "I love you," to me, he will mean it from the bottom of his heart. Whenever I reply, "I love you," I will mean it from the bottom of my heart.

I know that that's not what life is all about, but I always longed for this life, or at least part of it. One day I met a young man. He looked at me, I looked at him and we recognized something so very special. It fulfilled me in a way that is beyond description. I had a love that gave me so many of what the early movies had promised. Well not the white picket fence, and not the children. I'd had that already. He gave me hope, excitement, lust and a love that filled my heart with joy. Eventually, we each went on to have our separate lives, yet because our moments had brought us each a wonderful sense of worth and love, we would look back at them with enduring fondness.

What I remember so vividly was the very first time he said, "I love you," to me. He looked at me in a way that every woman would want a man to look at her; a sense of astonishment crossed his face. He uttered the magic words to me, and to him it was a revelation, a revelation that he could love someone other than himself, love someone more than himself. I could sense how hard it was for the words to flow from his lips. I looked into his radiant face. His look of shock and happiness was reflected there, and he grinned then, and added, "I really do." He was enthralled with what he had told me. He had never before told any woman that he loved her. I carried his look in my heart for years and years.

That look will always belong to me, but those words are now given so freely to so many for so little, that when I hear them they are meaningless. Those were once special words, and now they are the same as saying "hello" or "goodbye" or worse yet typing xoxoxo. Gone is the real meaning of love, replaced by just two letters to type on a computer to just about anyone you know.

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