Last week, my boyfriend told me he loved me for the first time, after two and a half years of being together.
Most women would be shocked. Most women would have either questioned him a long time ago for not saying those words, or they would’ve taken control and been the ones to say them first, and probably gotten an “I love you too,” in return.
But not me.
Because I was waiting for him to open his heart and say them. I didn’t want to force those words out of him and hear them when he just wasn’t ready. But at some point along the way, I gave up waiting.
I wondered why he never said them, yes. Of course I did, I’m only human. But I never doubted he felt it.
And I empathize with him.
I understand that some of us find it difficult to say the words we mean. We’ve grown up with Dads who never said “I love you” to our Mums; or parents who never told us we were loved, as they tucked us into bed each night.
It didn’t mean they didn’t feel it.
It didn’t mean we felt unloved.
It didn’t mean much at all.
It was just the way things were.
So over the past two years, I just grew to accept that this was the way things were.
For whatever reason, he couldn’t say I love you, and even though my ego planted a seed of doubt inside my mind; deep down, my soul knew that this man loved the bones of me.
Finally last week, he told me.
He apologized for having not said it sooner.
And he has been saying it ever since.
So have I.
And if I’m being honest, I still struggle to say it. I’ve only said it to my parents a couple of times in my lifetime. I’ve never said it to a man – because I’ve never been in love, until now.
Sometimes my heart will swell and my veins will flood with love for this man, yet I find my mouth glued shut and my voice dies inside of me.
Sometimes, I’ll be sat meditating peacefully in a yoga class, and I’ll be overwhelmed with feelings of love for him.
Sometimes, I’ll be making us grilled cheese sandwiches in the kitchen, and something reminds me of how beautiful what we share is.
Sometimes, he’ll unlock our front door and move aside to let me walk through first, and I melt at his sweetness.
You see, there are so many times I feel tidal waves of love for this man, but something inside of me stops me from expressing it.
How could I possibly be frustrated at someone for not saying the words that I have been terrified to say my whole life?
And there’s the other part me that’s glad he waited.
So many people blurt those three words out with no understanding of what they mean. They say it because it feels good to make someone else happy. They say it because they want to believe they’re in love when they aren’t. They say it because they’re too afraid to be honest – with themselves, and with others.
Millions upon millions of people will say, “I love you,” today, but how many will mean it?
How many of those people will stand by their words, and match them with their actions?
I feel content knowing that I have never thrown those sacred words around without conviction, and neither has he.
What I wish to tell you is this:
You don’t need to rush to say those words. And you needn’t be afraid to say them when they stir within.
We waited more than two years to say I love you, and I’m okay with that.
It was worth waiting for.