When Do You Say, "I Love You"?

11/29/2017 08:50 pm ET

When Do You Say, “I Love You”?

Some people are reticent about these special words. Others say them as easy as “Hi.” How do you know when it’s really important to say, “I love you”? Here are some thoughts and tips.

When and How to say, “I Love You.”

1. “Love ‘ya” is not the same as “I love you.”

2. “I love you” after three or more glasses of wine is not the same as a sober “I love you.”

3. It takes time to know what you intend when you say those three important words. So, take your time, so you mean what you say.

4. Two of the words are “I” and “You.” This means here is a duo, a partnership, a couple, a pair. Is that what you intend?

5. Love is as meaningful as the person who believes it. It takes thought, emotion, caring, wondrous feelings, and most of all, timing to get it just the way you want it to sound.

Some people share their emotions easily. They also take them in easily. Others are the opposite. It takes climbing a mountain to move their lips into those words. But when they say it, they feel it’s momentous and delicious. So, pay attention to whom you are speaking and who is saying these fascinating words.

Many people regret that they don’t say these words more often because something holds them back. What exactly is that? Well, it’s different for different people. But it scares some people because it is offering a commitment to care and devote yourself to someone, child or adult. It excites others because of the power it involves to offer and to share something so emotive from within. For many who have not received love, it’s a mystery that only is unraveled by a unique relationship; one that you may have never had before. For those who have had the luxury of feeling loved, it is more natural and they recognize this feeling of completing a part of themselves with another person.

There are multiple songs about love testifying to its need by most everyone. People search and yearn for it. But the ability to say it and know the consequences of these words is as variable as people are unique. Spouses, partners, parent and child need to understand their version of that word, LOVE.

There are certainly different kinds of love. Mothers often say they never knew what the love could be for their child until it happened. No books or people could tell them what to expect because it’s so individual. Individual yet universal!

Adult partners who ‘fall in love’ recognize that sense of ‘falling’ only when it’s happening. Falling is a feeling of being out of control, yet when we say it, we want to feel in control. Such a conundrum.

So, when do you say, “I love you”? Only when you know you mean it intellectually and in your heart. It needn’t be said often, just when you know it matters to you and to the person you are saying it to. If you are the person who is hearing it and you know this is very hard for the person offering it, it means a great deal. Then you can’t expect it too often, but when you do, your world opens up. Thus, knowing the source of the words, that individual who has taken it upon himself or herself to open themselves to you, then you know the gravity and immensity of the words.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for more insight: http://lauriehollmanphd.com.

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