If You Say "I Love You" & Your Partner Doesn't Say It Back, Here's What To Remember
Love is patient, love is kind, and most of all, love scares people. It's silly, but if you say "I love you," and your partner doesn't say "I love you" back, one reason might be that they are afraid of love. Our society has so many misconceptions about what love means that the fear and confusion is understandable.
We are taught that love means that you are supposed to be with somebody forever; we are taught that love means that you want to control something about that person. We are taught that falling in love involves losing a part of yourself to another person. None of these things are true, but all of them jeopardize the way individuals approach love in our society.
It's really sad, because by placing too much value on these flawed cultural conceptions of love, people end up depriving themselves from experiencing love authentically, and end up creating the very scenario they fear.
Because they fear losing somebody, they let love be the reason why they cling onto a relationship long after it should have ended. Because they are terrified of being controlled, they cling so tightly to their concept of singleness and freedom that they miss out on forming genuine, lasting attachments with other people.
Because they fear that they'll lose a part of themselves if they fall in love, they either maintain strict boundaries that cut themselves off from receiving care, or they get so wrapped up in the relationship that they forget their own goals and ambitions.
The thing is, love is not some coveted rarity. And, in a relationship, love shouldn't come as a surprise. If you aren't acting out of love, then what are you doing with this person in the first place?
But it is true that meaningful, lasting love needs time to develop. And just because a person fears love doesn't mean that a relationship can't work. You might just need more time to have create a stable foundation.
Maybe this person needs more time to figure out how they express love, and recognize it in their lives. Maybe they need more evidence that you are a person they can place their trust in. Many people have been hurt by people who claimed to have loved them. Even though I advocate exercising fearlessness in love, it's not a surprise that we approach love with caution.
Now, I am the kind of person for whom love isn't a secret. I tell my friends I love them every time I see them. I tell the dog I love him every time I leave the house. It's a genuine expression of feeling, but it also doesn't have any goal when I express it. I just want to initiate the energy exchange that love brings.
If you have expressed to your partner that you love them with the expectation that they'll say it back, then you might think the recognition of love is leading to, or changing, something. You may be expressing love, but only thinking about what you're getting in return. Love doesn't always work that way. The point of love is loving—nothing less and nothing more.
It might sound a bit ludicrous to claim that "I love you," doesn't need to be said back, but it's true. When you are expressing love, you are telling that person that you adore the parts of them that you understand, and you want to carry those parts with you. Whether or not they say it back doesn't change how you feel.
If someone gets scared away because they hear that they are lovable, it isn't your fault and you lose nothing. When you feel love for someone else, you don't always need them to say it back in order for you to feel it yourself. Love exists within you and without you at all times; all you did was recognize that essential fact.
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