I love you. Three magic words. A million possibilities. The stuff that Hollywood rom-coms and Whitney Houston songs are made of.
A few weeks back I found myself sat in cafe one rainy Tuesday evening in the heart of London’s Soho. One of my girlfriends had called me in tears – it was a CODE RED.
As we clutched our mugs of tea as she told me her story:
‘I don’t understand Yaz, he told me he loved me, and three weeks later the bastard broke up with me!!!’
The break-up had hit her hard, but what had me frustrated was the fact the guy had told her he loved her only weeks earlier. Why?!?!
It got me pondering:
In today’s dating scene what does I love you really mean?
Now I love a lot of things – street art, Nutella, singing in the shower, fresh ginger tea. Delicious.
Love is a word so succinct with everyday language, but when it comes to dating, how do you know someone’s the real-deal and not just telling you what you want to hear?
The ‘I Love You’ Translator
Gen-Y is living in the age of the hyperbole. Everything is ‘fabulous’, ‘amazing’, ‘totally awesome mannn’ with three exclamation marks. But love? ‘LOVE’? Maybe the word ‘love’ is becoming just as disposable.
The words I love you can be about as cryptic as the damn Da Vinci Code. While we can do our best to understand someone’s feelings from what they say, the reality is I love you means different things to different people. Not only does it depend on the person saying it, but on the person hearing it.
I love you might mean I love you right now or I could possibly love you forever or maybe just I would just looooooove to get into your knickers.
Some people say I love you because, at that very instant, they do. Genuinely.
Meanwhile, others use I love you like a coupon at the supermarket of vulnerable people. They say it because that’s how they get what they want.
So when does ‘I love you’ really mean ‘I love you’?
Most of us like words of affection and romantic gestures, but when embarking on a new relationship it’s important to understand that these words do not necessarily mean long-term commitment. How can it? You’ve just met Miss Hasty!
Love is something you DO. Seriously, it’s science.
The feeling of love comes from the limbic system which controls your emotions and behaviour, and, often, decision-making. But the most interesting thing about the limbic brain, is that it does not have ‘the capacity for language’, as Simon Sinek points out in his book Start with Why.
Why is this important?
Because this is further biological evidence that behavior is probably a more accurate indication of love than words. I.e. when it comes to I love you actions speak louder than words.
The true meaning of love is defined by long-term ACTION. This isn’t to say I love you means nothing, but that it is never really validated unless it is backed up with long term action.
Real love is expressed through a person’s on-going behavior and attitude.
Struggling to decode your new beau’s behaviour? Ask yourself:
Is your partner respectful of you, your body and your wishes? Are they a person who shows up? Keeps their word? Do they take you forward in life?
And if the answer is yes, you might just be on to a winner. If not, you know what they say… talk is cheap, baby!
Have a great week peeps!
This post was originally published on June 14, 2014.
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out ‘Three Principles of Love‘?