Updated: Feb 12, 2019
It's been well over 10 years since I jovially uttered the words "I love you" to someone I was dating. Even then it was laughably premature. This was long before you swiped right to connect with a potential bae on Tinder or scrolled through Match.com in search of a worthy suitor. I met this person on...wait for it...BlackPlanet. We swapped "I love yous" with ease and in a matter of weeks, this person went completely ghost. If only we could return “I love yous” like we would an impulse purchase from Target.
For me, the pressure to say “I love you” in a relationship just seems so incredibly inorganic. I've since wondered if swapping "I love yous" is even necessary in a relationship. Why do those three words hold so much weight? Why do people rethink entire relationships due to the absence (or even the presence) of those words? Is "I love you" essential to a healthy relationship? And on the contrary, could it be that "I love you" has simply become watered down in the age of social media, dating apps, endless texting, and the millennial mindset?
A growing discussion among the 20 to 30-something crowd is should you marry for love or should you marry for comfortability and financial stability. And it seems that the answer to that question is increasingly shifting to the latter. Love has become sidetracked for long-term security, and I personally can’t hate on that at all. When love doesn’t pull the weight to pay the bills, things can go downhill with the swiftness.
But if we’re not even marrying for love, why is there still such emphasis placed on “I love you?” A quick Google search of “when should I say I love you in a relationship” or “he hasn’t said I love you yet” brings up a plethora of results. So, we’re still stressing over those three words even though our thoughts on love and marriage are steadily evolving from what it was generations before us.
In defense of “I love you,” it will always hold a certain level of romantic nostalgia. Despite our increasingly changing thoughts on love, marriage, and relationships in the age of social media bombardment, few things will ever compare to being on the receiving end of those three words.