By Holly A. Phillips
The day after Valentine’s, I got a text at 4:30 a.m.
It was from a guy I went to high school with; we’ve kept in touch over the years, and have hooked up a few times. Given the timing of the text, I figured it was a drunk thing and I just didn’t reply. We have never said “love” to each other — we don’t even talk on the phone. While I do like him, and care about him, I don’t think “love” is the word to describe what we have.
About a week after the text, he called me out on it, and told me I was rude for not saying “I love you” back.
Love is still a really big word for me. Sure, I’ve been in love (a few times), and I’ve said it to the men I’ve fallen for. In my past, romantic love has come during a committed relationship. And while I do enjoy talking to this guy, I like seeing him (he travels full time) when I can, and I certainly enjoy hooking up, it’s not love.
After all, he said it in a text message.
This is when I have to wonder if I’m just out of touch. Is this what we’re doing now? Saying “I love you” via text? Sure, I get it if you’re dating someone and the l-bomb has already been dropped in-person, face-to-face, but…
Of course, this guy was really, really pissed that I had “no manners” and still wouldn’t say it back — a fight happening over text, mind you.
There is a risk anytime you open up to someone, and when you don’t get the response you’re hoping for, it is really difficult. I’ve been there. But I can’t say something, especially love, that I don’t mean just to make someone feel better, or to keep them from being mad at me.
The first man I ever loved was my best friend. We were friends for years before we started dating, but it didn’t take long for me to be crazy for him. When that relationship ended, it took years before I fell in love again, and I fell hard.
After that, I fell in love with someone destructive, and it’s difficult for me to even know if it was really love. But I did say it to him, after a very short amount of time.
I am well-aware that the nature of dating and relationships are changing every day. Hell, it seems like people aren’t even dating at all anymore.
But no matter the trends, the cultural changes, the technology, love is something that’s got to be an anchor. Love is what we’re living for, right?
And it’s something that important deserves more than a text message; it deserves a moment.
I thought I’d hear from the guy at least a few days later, admitting he was a little harsh on me, and he’d apologize, but I haven’t heard from him since. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I know one thing.
That’s not love.
Read more about saying, “I love you” on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.