I Want to Say 'I Love You,' but I'm Afraid of What My Partner's Reaction Will Be | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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I Want to Say 'I Love You,' but I'm Afraid of What My Partner's Reaction Will Be

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Dear Reverend, 

I've been dating someone for about eight months (and, yes, we have been very careful about COVID-19 precautions). We have a great time together and are compatible in every way, but we haven't said we love each other yet. I want to say it, but I'm afraid of what their reaction will be. Should I just wait?

Zipper Lips (female, 29)

Dear Zipper Lips,

I love love. It makes the world go round, it's all you need and, no matter what J. Geils claims, it doesn't stink. For lots of people, though, it can be a really hard subject to talk about.

As far as I'm concerned, life is too short not to tell your favorite people you love them. All sorts of words can flop out of your mouth without a second thought, so don't get yourself all worked up about "I love you." It's pretty much the nicest thing you can tell someone, and it shouldn't be any harder than letting them know they have spinach stuck in their teeth.

Practicing can help. If you're not accustomed to telling your friends or family members you love them, get crackin'. The more you're honest and vocal about your feelings, the easier it gets.

When it comes to the person you're dating, you don't have to make a grand profession of your love. Sneak it up on them and have a little fun with it to take the pressure off. You could ask a question like, "If I told you that I love you, would you think I was crazy?" Or give it an intro like, "Do you want to hear something funny?" Do it however feels fitting for your relationship.

Just remember that if they don't say it back immediately, it doesn't mean they don't feel the same way. They may just have a harder time with it than you do. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. No amount of "I love yous" can equal the meaning of everyday actions of two people who demonstrate love for each other without having to say anything at all.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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