Love is a big word – and perhaps it is sometimes used too lightly. At what point is it appropriate to tell your partner the 3 magic words "I love you"? Where are the boundaries between infatuation and love??
Do you know this perhaps? You are head over heels in love and just a few weeks into a committed relationship with your sweetheart. Your feelings are overflowing, there are butterflies everywhere, you don’t know where to put all your loving emotions. And you want to tell her that. Everything in you cries out to tell her what she does to you, how many fireworks happen in you just because she exists – but how? How should you tell her? What words are able to express this at all?
"I love you" – maybe? But… you have not been together very long. You are still getting to know each other. Can one already speak of love? Or isn’t it more of an "I’m in love with you" that’s bothering you? Maybe also an "I am sooooo in love with you" – but doesn’t "being in love" sound almost too weak for the extent of your happiness? Where does the Love actually?
"I love you" committed
I remember a Benjamin Blumchen audio cassette – I think it was "Benjamin Blumchen is in love" – in which Benjamin talks to Otto about his parents. Otto says to Benjamin: "They are not in love – the love himself!" At that time, in a tender kindergarten age, I did not understand what Otto meant. Where was the difference? In the meantime, however, I think I understand it perhaps too well. There is a world of difference between infatuation and love. At what point do you say "I love you" to someone?? Over the years I have observed that these words come more and more slowly over my lips. It is an inhibition born from the experience of passing love relationships. An "I love you" commitment. It is a confession of absolute affection, fidelity, reliability. I don’t want to say these words just like that, I want to be humble with them. So where does love start?
Infatuation passes. And what remains?
There is this legendary love at first sight. I personally don’t believe in it. I believe there is attraction at first sight – but love? No. There are butterflies in the stomach directly at first sight. You can slip from visual attractiveness and a first impression of sympathy. But is that love? No! This is infatuation. This feeling comes fast and it can go fast again. During this time, hormones control our feelings and perceptions (see also this text: Am I in love?). We have the rose-colored glasses on and see our crush through their positive tinted glasses. Characteristics of our partner that would normally drive us up the wall with any other person, we simply don’t notice. Infatuation lasts a maximum of 2 years – after that the hormones return to normal. The body simply cannot stand to stay in this state of stress, which is what being in love really is, for any length of time. He goes through this phase so that a first bond is formed. And then comes an often big sticking point for relationships: Either the couple breaks up out of sheer disappointment at suddenly noticing each other’s quirks all too clearly – or they both learn to see those quirks in each other love .
…so when am I allowed to speak of love??
…when it feels right! I don’t want to stop anyone from confessing their love in any case. Feelings are feelings – and if someone feels to want to say "I love you" to another person, then that someone may and should simply do it. I am absolutely. Just imagine what it would be like if something unexpected happened to the beloved person and you never told them that you loved them. That’s terrible. So better get it out!
But a little caution is in order: Love embraces another person in its entirety. Love is something much deeper than infatuation. That’s why, I think, you should not rush the confession of love. You should take the time to get to know each other. Moreover, a quick declaration of love at the beginning of a relationship can both catch your partner off guard and make you very vulnerable – because what if there is no adequate response to the confession??
There is always a certain risk involved when you give your heart away. Love is the reward for this risk. The most important thing is that the feeling is right. Then the moment for the first "I love you" comes all by itself.