Growing up as a second generation Korean America, you don’t hear the words “I love you” very often. Yung Stina found herself very jealous of her white friends who got love from their parents just because they threw something away in the trash can; meanwhile, my sister and I washed dishes, took out the trash, got straight A’s, and cured cancer, receiving words along the lines of, “Do better.”
With that, saying “I love you” was not really in my vernacular, until I moved to white suburbia and you could love literally everything like I seriously can not even.
In high school, I didn’t get the whole traditional first love, first kiss, first base type of thing, for reasons unknown but probably related to the fact that I was/am too good for anyone tbh *shrug* #superhumblebrag.
No, no, in all realness, I never had guys like me, or maybe I did and they were just too shy (I like to think that instead of thinking I was just weird and ugly af). With the absence of that first boyfriend came the fulfillment of my friends. I was blessed with such amazing friends throughout my life, and I found myself loving and caring for all of them on another level.
This mindset grew with me in college, complicating things for me in ways I had no idea were even possible.
I am very comfortable speaking to people, asking questions on the first meet that might be inappropriately tapping into their vulnerabilities, and I truly value friends regardless of their gender, but our society claims to shun this type of behavior of getting to know a stranger and classifies it as flirtatious, which got me in trouble many times.
I’m not trying to flirt with your ass; I’m just trying to get to know you as a person.
News flash: chemistry exists not just sexually, ok?
We can be attracted to minds, bodies, and soles/souls/Seouls without wanting to jump each others’ bones.
The norm for me was to meet someone and talk to them, establishing a relationship where I found myself ultimately loving them as a human being. I couldn’t understand when two strangers would meet and begin to like each other, then date, then break up and never speak again. I had so many questions for those people:
- How did you like them before you knew them?!?!??! Like how do you like and get to know someone at the same time?!!??! YOU ARE FUCKING TALENTED TEACH ME CAUSE I CAN ONLY DO ONE THING AT A TIME.
- When you break up, how did you not speak to them ever again?!?!?! Like didn’t you guys literally speak every day. OK WELL I MEAN I GET IT IF HE/SHE BROKE YOUR HEART LIKE THAT BASTARD NEEDS TO GET OUT OF YOUR LIFE but if it’s like one of those, “We drifted apart” type of things, like WHAT? HOW?! IT’S BASICALLY LIKE LOSING YOUR BEST FRIEND IS IT NOT!??!?! HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!
To be clear, I’m not criticizing anyone who meets someone and then begins to date them, getting to know them on their dates and then falling in love. That’s that romcom type of love, that special type of love that you can blog about, yaknow?
However, because the void in the romance department had been filled with friendship, my priorities and skills had changed.
I emphasize my relationships with people; I invest in getting to know you on deep (down low) levels; I discover pieces of you that inspire me and I aspire to be.
With that, getting into a relationship is difficult. Why?
When you’re in a relationship, you’re on this unofficial timeline:
- First swipe/meet
- First date
- First hand hold
- First kiss
- First kiss WITH TONGUE OOOOO
- First … night together
6a. First cuddle
6b. First other stuff
- First “I love you”
- First fight
- First anniversary
- First vacation
- First marriage
- First BABY
- OMG I NEED TO STOP OK NEVERMIND
Granted, these can be switched around (holler if your order is like 1, 4, 6, 2, etc. like I don’t judge), but nevertheless, there’s that timeline and that strange taboo on when to say, “I love you.”
Because of the weight I have always put on friendships and relations, I don’t know when to say it, or when it would be too early to say it without letting someone know that I’m a psycho.
What’s the difference, if at all, between saying “I love you as my bae” versus “I love you as a human being”?
And sure, sure, you can tell me that they should be synonymous, that you should love your significant other as a human being, but I can fall in love with someone’s personality in a week; are you telling me that saying “I love you” that quickly will not raise any red flags?
I decided to ask the people of Facebook back in October how long it took them to say “ILY” to their significant others, and who said it first, mainly to see if there was a coinciding time frame among all the answers, and this is what I got:
“Five months in, he did it first, THROUGH A TEXT.”
– C. Chiang
“He said it first three months in.”
– K. Ueda
“It took us like three weeks? LOL but we’d been friends for like a year and a half before, and there’s a long story about our ‘talking’ phase hahah. But we were on FaceTime when he made a mean joke and went “i’m sorry i love you” and we both paused bc he realized he’d said it first, and then he hung up on me lol and then he called me back and said sorry, you don’t have to say it back but i said it the next day bc it was fitting in whatever that situation was.”
– DD BDo
“Him 4 months in
Me a year.
– J. Perez
– B. Lac
“We did everything slowly. We dated for six months before making it official. We said “I love you” about six months after that – so almost a year!”
– K. Ricks
“My college BF (3.5 years total) had never had a relationship and was super weary of ILY so after over a year of dating I told him at midnight on NYE (original) and he didn’t say it back but I was so drunk and fireworks that I assumed he didn’t hear me or that I never actually said it so I said it again and he just blinked at me so I went inside and he came in after me and continued to blink so I said “I think I just said something outside but you didn’t respond so I don’t know if I actually said it because usually it generates a specific response and nothing is happening please stop blinking” and he finally said it back a second later. Then 3 days later he made a big deal out of saying it again because he had no idea how to react and was terrified but really meant it and wanted to say it right.”
– J. Workman
“Three months, and I said it first, after which she said she was waiting for me to do so and was about to do so herself if I didn’t 🙂 ”
– N. James
“I would say for me, it took like 2 months.”
– H. Truong
“We had first been unofficially dating for 3 months but he said it first after almost 5 months actually. Basically we went from not knowing each other to seeing each other every day and we had a rocky summer since it was the first summer everyone moved into apartments and we realized we didn’t communicate our incompatibilities very well so we were fighting. I had wanted to say it probably 3 months after official status but I was a wuss cus we were fighting haha. But then I went home for a week so I missed his surprise birthday party and he was incredibly wasted and blurted it out on the phone in between throwing up and drunk talk.”
– L. Chen
“6 months, I said Iove you the day I was leaving for Washington DC. You know, just in case I died in a horrible plane crash.”
– M. A. Camacho
“We were dating for 4 months before we made it official, after we made it official within a month we said I love you. He was going in for surgery and I said it first because I wanted him to know it before he went in to get operated on.”
– B. Givens
“We had been dating for like 5/6 months, and he had been an idiot like usual, and locked us out of his apartment, I had two shows the next day, but I just sat down outside and waited and he was so enthralled that I didn’t get mad or yell at him that he discovered he loved me.”
– E. Degerstedt
“Dated for 9 months and even before making it official i drunkenly said i love you and realized that it was true the next day.”
– R. Raymundo
“I think after about a month Kyle said I love you. I think he was nervous and worried that it was too soon because we were sitting at Islands, waiting for our food, when I get a text that says “i love u”. I looked up and he was bright red. It was super cute 🙂 we knew from the get-go that we were made for each other, though <3″
– K. Meyer
“1st: I said it first after 6 months with a letter I hid at the top of his tree in the backyard since we liked sitting up there and I was leaving for CA
2nd: I said it first after 4 months
3rd: I grabbed his face and said “I think I love you!” after a month. Then after a total of 4 months (3 months of telling ourselves that lust hormones could just be making us stupid), he said it forrealz and I said it back.”
– C. Kim
“2 months in i said it. told her no need to say anything back but she returned the gesture right away. got teary eyed like a little bitch.”
– P. Le
“He said it about a month and a half after making it official. I said it right back 🙂 “
– J. Bondoc
“3 months after our first date. We were lying in bed in Vegas after a show. I told him before we fell asleep 🙂 ”
– M. Panopio
“he said it first in my parents kitchen after spending a week with my family. i was so shocked because he used to be such a little fuckboy that broke hearts and i couldnt believe that he fell for me so i initially thought i misheard so then i asked him to repeat it and he did.”
– Y. Al-Mazeedi
“He said, “I think I love you.”
I said…. “YOU THINK?!?”
He is now more careful with his choice of words.”
– R. L. Scott
“I accidentally said it half asleep.”
“His friends and I were drunk at 143 about 3 months in, when his friend told me what they did for my Christmas present. I was enthralled and told them they were too kind and too cool, and he said of course he’d do it for me, he’d do anything for me because he loved me. Then I became 200% sober and bugged him to repeat it, to which he did not and tried to play it off as if he had said nothing. He drove me home in the morning, not having repeated it since the accidental blurt out, and as I got out of his car, he said it again. I dramatically turned my head and smiled, clad in the previous nights’ outfit with no make up and hair pulled into a “messy” aka unwashed bun, saying it back.”
Can you fall in love with someone as a human being before being “in love” with them as your significant other? Or does it all happen at once? Or is it the same thing and I’m just an idiot? Well actually if it’s the same thing, then I guess I have a lot of significant others of both genders #lovewins AM I RIGHT?!
Share your ILY stories in a comment below!