I’m Always The First To Use The “L” Word In My Relationships & I’m Getting Sick Of It

The first time the L-word is said in a relationship is a big deal. Someone has to say it first, but in my serious relationships, it’s always me. This pattern has really started getting to me, and I’m not sure if it’s simply a coincidence or if I’m doing something wrong.

  1. I’m super open with my feelings. It’s how I’ve always been and probably always will be. I’m not the kind of person to keep quiet when I feel something as strong as love, but I’m starting to think that maybe I should be. I always thought that both people should openly communicate about these things in a relationship, but since I’m constantly the one who’s first to say those three words, I have to wonder if I need to be more closed off.
  2. It’s not like I say it right away. I could understand if I was whipping out the L-word after just a couple weeks of dating, but I normally wait a long time before saying it. There’s always PLENTY of time for the guy in the equation to say it to me first, but it never happens. It’s discouraging when you wait as long as I do and still have to be the one to put yourself out there first.
  3. I feel like lots of guys are scared to say itI don’t blame them — I’m not exactly at ease when I first use that infamous phrase. But that’s hardly a reason to just keep your mouth shut. I wouldn’t even be that upset if the guys I’ve dated just didn’t feel the same way I did at the same time, but almost every time I’ve said it first, I later get told that the guy “would’ve said it first if he hadn’t been so nervous.” Maybe it’s time for them to woman up like I did, huh?
  4. I don’t like keeping that stuff in forever. Maybe it would be better for me to just keep my mouth shut until (and if) the guy tells me he loves me first, but I really feel like that would drive me insane. Some people are really good at keeping those feelings cooped up, but if I do that, I’ll feel like I’m going to explode. Staying quiet sounds like a good idea on the surface, but it might do even more damage to me than just taking the risk and saying how I feel. I just can’t win.
  5. It makes me question everything. If I’d been the first person to say “I love you” once or twice, it wouldn’t be a bit deal. The problem is that I’m ALWAYS the first one to say it, so it’s no wonder that this pattern has put some doubts into my head. Am I just picking the wrong guys? Do I not know what love really is? It’s amazing how one little word can wreak such havoc on a person’s mind.
  6. It’s scary being that vulnerable. I hate letting my walls down, and a word like “love” leaves me no choice but to do so. Still, I say it anyway because I feel like I owe it to myself and my partner to be honest about my feelings. I just wish that someone could do me the same courtesy for a change. I know that no one owes me anything, especially since they can’t control my past relationships any more than I can, but just once, it would be great to not have to be the brave one here.
  7. Sometimes it makes me feel stupid. I often get an “I love you” in response when I say it for the first time, but when I don’t, I feel like an idiot. I start getting down on myself for being foolish, like I’m some stupid little girl who only likes the idea of love and doesn’t actually know what it entails. I know that this isn’t the truth, but when this stuff happens time and time again, it’s bound to take a toll on my self-esteem.
  8. I feel like if I don’t say it, it’ll never get said. I don’t think this is even a question of waiting it out — I really feel like even if I were to date someone for years without ever saying that little word first, it would simply never come up. I’d never want to force something that simply wasn’t there, but I’m also not going to stay in a relationship forever if we can’t express how we really feel about each other.
  9. I want to know I’m worth it. “I love you” should never be said specifically to flatter someone, but it does feel special when someone is brave enough to say it to you first. Whenever I say it to a partner, it’s because I simply can’t hold it back any longer, and I’d love to know that just once, someone feels that same way about me. It’s a major milestone in a relationship, and I want to make someone feel so overwhelmed with emotion that he just HAS to tell me how it feels even if I haven’t said it myself yet.
  10. It makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I know that the fact that I say “I love you” first all the time isn’t a reflection of my flaws, but my anxious mind can’t help but overanalyze it all. Am I too emotional? Am I bad at picking men? Or worst of all, could it be that I’m simply unlovable? What if they’re just saying it back because they feel bad? If just one guy would tell me that he loves me first, all these fears would be put to rest.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt. She's also a TEFL/TESOL-certified ESL teacher and an equine enthusiast. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lived in Costa Rica for a while before moving to Australia. In addition to her work as a writer and editor for Bolde, she also has bylines with Little Things and regularly writes for Jiu-Jitsu Times.

You can follow Averi on Instagram @bjjaveri or on Twitter under the same handle.