In my experience there are three reasons that people say “I love you.”
- Familial Love – Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but more often than not, you have no choice but to love the people you’re related to or the occasional life long friend. You’ll love them until the end of time, no question, but you don’t always like them. These are perhaps the only people on the planet who can repeatedly disappoint you while still claiming permanent real estate in your heart. They’re with you until the end whether you like it or not and even if you have trouble admitting it sometimes, you’ve never been able to picture your life without them and you don’t really want to.
- Puppy Love – This is a monstrously inadequate term for one of the most powerful feelings a lot of people will ever have. This is the all-consuming thrill of a new relationship. There is a period of time when your partner can do no wrong. They are on your mind at all times and you wouldn’t have it any other way. This is when people start feeling compelled to say “I love you.” You’re experiencing feelings you’ve never felt before and in the moment, you don’t want to ever feel that way about anyone else. It feels right and good and makes you want to sing of your love from the mountain tops. You want the world to know that you are completely devoted to this person.
- Committed Love – This is a conscious, active choice that you make every day, one that is often neither easy nor pleasant. People are flawed and if you spend enough time with one person, the rose colored glasses will fall away and you will see them as they truly are. To continue to choose them for and in spite of their flaws is, in my opinion, the mark of a successful relationship. Puppy love is wonderful and exciting but ultimately, if you can’t stand your ground on the bad days, the relationship is doomed to fail. Puppy love is saying “I love you” because it feels right. Committed love is saying “I love you” because you know it is right even when it doesn’t feel good.
What do you think? Why do people say I love you? Share your thoughts in the comments.