Why You Should Say 'I Love You' Even If You Might Not Hear It Back

by Lauren F.

Whenever I scroll through my Instagram or Facebook feeds and see girls posting photos with their boyfriends with the caption, “4 months strong, love you babe,” I can’t help but gag a little and roll my eyes.

I think to myself, "How can you love someone after that short amount of time you have been together?" How can you truly get to know someone and fall in love so quickly?

I've had boyfriends in my past, but I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. Still, I’ve had relationships last longer than four months and I know I have never been in love before.

However, that all changed this summer when I met someone and became one of those girls who falls in love in a heartbeat. I couldn’t believe it. Me? Falling in love after four months? This had to be a joke, right?

It turned out to be oh-so-very real. I met a wonderful guy this summer through a mutual friend. I had no intentions of meeting anyone new this summer, but he came and swept me off my feet. I was smitten.

As the summer was coming to an end, I desperately wanted to say those three terrifying words. I told my girlfriends I was ready to do it, but they thought I was crazy. They said it was too early and I should wait until he said it first. They led me to second-guess whether I was in love.

I knew it was love, and despite what they said, I trusted myself on this matter. I’m sorry, but is there a rule book for how to express your feelings?

Is there a golden rule that states you must wait for the guy to say it first? Who gives a sh*t? I think society is filled with so much heartbreak and confusion because we can't be honest about our feelings.

The more realized I was in love with him, the more I understood love doesn’t have a time limit. We can’t help with whom we fall in love, and we certainly can't control the rate at which we fall in love.

Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to say those words, we decided to go our separate ways. Nothing was wrong, but we were at different places in our lives and the timing wasn't right.

As months went by, I realized I still was not over him, and I desperately needed to be because I knew we weren't going to get back together anytime soon. I knew I was going to run into him eventually, and I felt saying "I love you" was the only way I would free myself.

I knew he didn't love me and I wish I could explain how I knew, but I just did, deep down, he didn't feel the same way. I know he cared about me, but it wasn't love on his end. That surprisingly didn't bother me, however.

What bothered me was that I was keeping all my feelings inside and not letting him know how I felt.

When I finally ran into him, I mustered the courage to let him know I never had the chance to tell him how I fell in love with him. Despite us having not been together for a long period of time, I told him I never felt more comfortable and happy around anyone else.

I told him I needed to say this so I could finally move on from him.

Although it must feel 10 times more amazing when that special person says the words back, I learned I still have time to fall in love again with someone who will reciprocate my feelings.

He may not have loved me, but now, I'm finally free of bottling up those feelings inside of me. I'm free of missing him. When the moment presents itself and you know it's love, never relinquish the courage to say how you feel.

It didn’t work out for me, but that little voice inside my head kept saying, “What if?” And, it's what kept me going.

As the saying goes, “It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”