Monday, 26 November 2012

Those Three Terrible Words

It's rather an irony that your dear auntie is still writing about Single Life after being married for over three years. How dare I, I'd like to know. However, I suppose there is something to be said for looking at Single Life from the other side of the fence. I can see what in Single Life still looks pretty good (e.g. the freedom to go wherever you want when you want) and what looks worse than ever.

One of the things that looks worse than ever is the total drama and potential heartache around "I love you." You can say "I love you" to your family, if you have that kind of family, and your best pals, if you have that kind of best pals, but you can't just say "I love you" to a single man you think is pretty darn lovable (or just really, really attractive) without the risk of massive social upheaval.

And yet it seems so normal and so tempting just to say "I love you" because you feel like saying it, and you gotta be you, and let's just get this on the table, and---Whoa.

First of all, "I love you" can be a lie, like when a guy says "I love you" and you feel terrible that you don't love him, and you think (for whatever reason) that you should love him, and that just saying it might make it come true.

Second, it could actually be a mistake about how it is that you feel. You may think you love some guy, but in actual fact you just think he is attractive and that it would feel soooo good if he said "I love you" back to you.

Third, there are few better ways to derail what may be a promising relationship by dropping the "I love you" bomb on a man who doesn't yet know how he feels about you. Men are not women, so ever if you authentically and unreservedly know that you are crazy about this man and want to have his babies, he might not yet know that he feels the same way about you. It might take him an extra week or an extra month or an extra eleven months, and until he naturally makes the brain-heart connection, you have to keep your mouth shut.

Long-term readers of this blog may vaguely remember that I knew I loved my future husband before he knew that he loved me (absolutely true because I checked later) and I count it as a personal victory that I managed to keep my mouth shut. Possibly it was because the stakes were so high. Possibly because it was because I had been blogging this stuff for years. Possibly because it was only a lapse of three or four days. But whatever it was, I now have my reward because I can say "I love you" every single day to a nice man, and hear him sincerely say "I love you, too", which is basically the source and summit of Post-Searching-Single Life. (I probably could say it twice or thrice a day, too, although four times might be pushing it, especially when he is watching "Master Chef".)

Fourth, as I have blogged before (or just emoted over the phone), it is more important than ever for men to travel uninterrupted through the great adventure called Winning the Girl. One of the Great Seven Plots involves a hero going out into the world to make his fortune and win the beautiful princess through feats of derring-do. There are few stories in which the princess just hands herself over without any effort whatsoever on the hero's part. That would not be as much fun, or psychologically truthful, and frankly I think I would have enjoyed being a fairy tale princess watching all the poor woodcutters' sons, minor princes, et alia, trying to rescue me. At very least, it would have been flattering.

Seraphic (on tower phone): Okay, I know it's really mean and stuff, but I am like so relieved that the ugly bad-tempered looking one fell and was impaled on the thorns.

Seraphic's pal (over phone): Oh, I know. You're like, It's not personal. I don't want you to die, but you're not the handsome prince I'm hoping for.

Seraphic: The writhing in agony thing really sucks.

Seraphic's pal: So don't watch.

Seraphic: I feel bad if I don't watch. If I didn't watch, he'd just die alone in the thorns with nobody there but his horse.

Seraphic's pal: Well, it's not like you asked him to rescue you.

Seraphic: Hmm. That's true.

Anyway, I think it very important for a boy, especially one who generally acts like he owns the universe, to have to take the big huge risk of laying his heart before a woman, not being quite sure if she will pick it up, or just give it back, or even stomp on it. This kind of action makes a boy into a man, no matter what happens. Of course it is sad for a man to have his heart handed back and horrible to have it stomped on, so it is a good idea for a boy to have some indication that his ladylove might actually accept this heart before he gives it.

However, having a good idea is not the same thing as being 100% sure. And it is awful for a man to be 100% sure a woman thinks she loves him when he isn't sure if he loves her. His natural reaction is very likely to be running away and pondering things in his cave, like Grendel. There he thinks thinks like "How badly do I want to get married?" and "Do I really want to get married?" and "Do I perhaps have a vocation to the priesthood instead?" and "Does love feel like this?" and "Why am I sweating like a pig?" How tragic if all he needed was just some time.

Anyway, to roll up this whole post into one sentence, promise yourself not to tell a guy you love that you love him until he says it first. Say he is marvellous or amazing or wonderful or a gift. Say any nice thing you like, but don't say "I love you" first.

Above all, don't tell a guy you love him just to make him say "I love you." Tempting, very tempting, but a bad idea in the long run.


Mary E said...

Great advice. I absolutely wanted to wait until my now fiance told me when we were still dating. I knew I was definitely in love and wanted to marry him, but I wanted to be sure he thought the same. When he did tell me, it was at the perfect moment and I was able to totally trust him. I can't imagine the hurt/awkwardness of telling a man I loved him and him not being able to say it back or saying it without meaning it.

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind, may I ask how you knew (after three to four days!) that it was love you were experiencing, and not a crush?

Thank you!

-- Posted before as Crushed in NYC, and I was too down in the mouth then to thank you properly for addressing my question publicly. I appreciated it, and double thanks now.

Seraphic said...

No, I mean it was three or four days after I knew that I was in love with B.A. that he realized that he was in love with me. And I knew it wasn't just a crush because it was based in real knowledge of a person within a real, friendly relationship. And also "I just knew." Yeah, I know everyone hates the "I just knew" answer, so I will ponder this further.

Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but did I miss the 'Now available for pre-order' post?? Is it this one 'Ceremony of Innocence' on Amazon? CHRISTMAS IS COMING! I need to tell everyone to buy me a copy. :P :) I would love it if you had a general blog again, I feel a bit guilty being not single & constantly trolling through this blog for updates....


Seraphic said...

R, the book is scheduled to come out early in 2013. (NOT in time for Christmas, alas.) As soon as it is available, I will let you know. I will let everyone know. I will shout it from the rooftops. I will verbally flog you all to the pre-order page, if there is one.

Seraphic said...

BTW, that's not MY "Ceremony of Innocence." That's probably the video game based on the Griffin and Sabine book. Sadly, other people thought of the title first; I don't know why I didn't notice that.

Anonymous said...

I Love this post! It is so good and wise, I plan to reference it in my blog on Friday (since you sweetly already gave me permission to). :) Thank you, Cindy

Alisha said...

I don't know...there is good reason to be prudent but I just don't want anyone I love not to know it clearly. I have male friends that I tell that I love them, and I do. I have never had the sense that it makes them uncomfortable. I don't think I usually do that in friendships that aren't with fellow Christians - at least, it's rare. I understand how it could "destabilize" someone but context still matters. If you are not one to be candid with your emotions and you say that, it will weigh much more heavily than if you are candid. If the person sees you as and refers to you as a sister, I don't think saying I love you will freak them out.

Anonymous said...

Ok, just to make absolutely sure,

This one is not yours? I don't think this is the videogame, b/c it's your publisher, right? & also is there somewhere you want us to buy it apart from Amazon? It says Feb, but doesn't mean I can't get a pre-order for Christmas. ;)



Seraphic said...

Yikes! That shouldn't be there yet! How did that get there? Why does no-one tell me these things? How come my readers always know stuff before I do? AAAAAAA!

Listen, don't pre-order yet. Wait until I know for sure when it is coming out, okay?

Anonymous said...

Oki, no problem! Just be sure to let us know, I don't want to be the last person to buy a copy. :P :)4