The first time you utter the words to someone, you feel as if you’ve swallowed a mixed cocktail of muddled emotions: excitement, nervousness, joy, fear. After all, those are three powerful, potentially life-changing little words. But with each subsequent confession, the words
“I love you” become a little more commonplace, a little less exciting.
In the honeymoon stage of a relationship, we’re likely to profess our feelings every two and a half minutes, plus first thing when we wake up and
right before we fall asleep. But as our
relationships age, recent research shows that we’re less likely to say “I love you” to our significant other. In fact, after 10 years together, just one-third of couples report saying the words at all.
A relationship’s age isn’t the only thing that affects how often we let lose with the words. We have our own ideas about what saying “I love you means,” and its frequency, at every stage of our relationship. For example, one of my exes often refused to say the words back whenever I told him how I felt. In the span of a year, he may have said “I love you” five times—and he may have initiated the exchange twice.
His belief, he had once explained, was that the words lost more meaning and power each time you said them. Super strange theory, if you ask me, but
that’s how he felt.
As for me, I like to say the words whenever I feel the desire to express my sincere joy and gratitude for the man in my life whom I love. If that’s once a day, cool. If that happens three
times in the span of 15 minutes, I’m also cool with that—and I need him to be too.
Some people are afraid to let the words slip too often, nervous that their partner’s will find their frequent confessions clingy or desperate. Others can’t say it or hear it often enough. Some make the words part of their routine: They say it as they leave their homes for work, as they kiss each other goodnight.
Where on the spectrum do you fall? How often do you tell your partner you love them? How often do you like to hear it? Can it be said too little or too much? Share with us.
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