According to ancient Greek philosophy, there are eight different types of love: Eros, which is erotic love; Philia, affectionate love; Storge, familiar love; Ludus, playful love; Mania, obsessive love; Pragma, enduring love; Philatura, self love; and Agape, selfless love. While I believe everyone experiences a variety of the loves listed above, it’s not so easy to pick them out. There’s the love you have for your friends, the love you have for your family and the love you have in romantic relationships. That last kind of love is the one that really screws me up.
I like to think of my previous relationship as a whirlwind. Not a whirlwind romance, but just a whirlwind. The romance was great. Perfect, even. Like all relationships it started out perfect. I fell hard and fast, and for most of the time I felt like I was floating on a cloud. Then he said it: three little words that carry so much weight. Of course I said it back and it was romantic and beautiful and all the feelings that were building inside of me intensified and burned with passion until they became a fiery ball that burned through us. Until the words “I love you” became something that we just said at the end of the day and not because we actually meant it. Until it felt like a dreadful pattern of romance, “I love you,” whirlwind, breakup, romance, over and over again. If “I love you” leaves you in a whirlwind, then why say did I say it in the first place?
Eventually I realized it was not the “I love you” that led to disaster but the connotations I had associated with it. “I love you” meant forever. “I love you” meant marriage. It meant an apartment together and kids in our future. It meant very little freedom. At least to our 18-year-old brains, it did. “I love you” meant something serious and permanent, but what is serious and permanent when you are about to uproot your whole life and move 800 miles away for college?
I still love this person, and as I sit here writing this I wonder if I could tell them that to their face. I could, but I probably won’t.
Did saying “I love you” ruin my relationship? Probably not. But the seriousness it imposes makes my almost 19-year-old brain explode.