Lessons Learned - Saying "I love you" is tricky

When I started writing books, I swore that I would never have the characters figure out that they love each other and then wrap up the book. Like saying "I love you" was all that was needed to make everything okay. No. Acknowledging your emotions is just the beginning, not the end. Nothing is wrapped up in a nice, neat bow just because the words are spoken.

As a matter of fact, a lot of times those three words complicate the entire issue. There was one long term relationship that I should have bailed on a gajillion times but I didn't because "he loved me." You know that and $5.00 would get me a cup of coffee at Starbuck's.

I thought it was such a powerfully wonderful thing to have someone (who wasn't required by blood) love me that it never occurred to me to wonder - did he really? Or was that just something he said because it got him what he wanted? Which was me, still in it for another 3 - 6 months. That sounds incredibly cynical. I'm about 98% sure he loved me but I'll never be convinced that this particular s/o loved me more than he did himself. Or maybe his idea of "I love you" was different from mine.

One of my good friends shares her worst memory from her last relationship. The guy told her, "I love you." And she told him, "Um, thank you?" Beginning of the end. 

I had another s/o who told me he loved me after two weeks. This floored and disturbed me. "But you don't know me!" I argued. He said he loved my spirit, he knew me from the moment he met me. Now why I didn't flee at that moment? Ummph. So only he was surprised six months later when he stared at me accusingly, "You're not who I thought you were." No really? But my snarky butt replied, "Still loving my spirit?" That took care of that "love" connection.

And my all-time fave. Dude slams down his beer on the table. "Well, we gonna do the love thing or what?" Oh. The romance. 
Me: "Beg pardon?"
Him: "Are we in it or what?"
Me: "I reckon." 
Him: "Good. Now what?" 
Me: Shrugs. 
Him: "I guess we should figure that out." 
Me: "I guess so." 
Him: "Chinese for dinner? I know you had a long day and you don't want to cook."
Me: "Sounds perfect."
See now, that's a step in the right direction..

My lesson learned - the words don't mean da-da without something substantive to back it up. Saying it solves nothing  Meaning it helps everything. I don't need to hear it as much as I need to see it.

BougieLand, what say you? Do people say "I love you" too easily? Does it get to a point where it loses its meaning? And how awkward is it when one person says it and the other person doesn't? Or worse when someone says it and clearly doesn't mean it? How soon is too soon to say it? Let's hear your thoughts.