Your First “I Love you???”

So I’m reading yet another book on online dating, this time “Confessions of an Online Dating Addict: a True Account of Dating and Relating in the Internet Age” by Jane Coloccia, when I come across the following passage:

Overall the relationship was good.  We spent every weekend together and had a fabulous time whether we were shopping in Wal-mart or going to a winery for a romantic weekend.  One night we were in his house and he was showing me old family movies and his sister called.  At the end of the conversation he said, “I love you too.”

“So you do have that word in your vocabulary?”

He smiled and said, “You know I love you Jane.”

“I love you too,” I said and then we hugged.  It was the first time a man had ever told me he loved me.

I am floored.  The first time?  The very first time?  The author is in her forties at this point and her adventures in “dating and relating” span 8 years and over 200 men, with a fair amount of casual sex on the side.

Granted Coloccia is very, very unlucky in love and reading “Confessions…” is not unlike watching a soccer match: you get all excited that your team’s finally about to score (no pun intended), you’re up out of your seat yelling at the television in your native tongue, sloshing your drink all over the place when suddenly, out of nowhere, the goalie intercedes and moment is gone.

(This is why my dad prefers American football; he can’t stand the constant letdowns.  And yet he continues to root for the Mets year after year… I’m not sure what that’s all about.)

But getting back to the matter at hand—the fact that this poor woman is in her forties, dating a garbage man from Long Island (and none too happy that she’s “stooped” to a man of his profession, I can assure you) and she has to practically beg him for the “L” word.

I was 18 the first time a boyfriend told me he loved me.  Granted, I was actually the one to say it first, and we were in the midst of yet another tearful “Should we break up?” conversation so it wasn’t terribly romantic (save the snow, the hot chocolate and the fact that I was in a foreign country at the time) but at least he had the good sense to say it back right away.

The second time a man told me he loved me was my senior year of college.  We’d been dating all of three or four weeks and seeing as he was living in Florida at the time (don’t ask…) we’d seen each other maybe four or five times.  He actually drove all the way up from Florida to take me to dinner one night and after the meal, instructed me to follow him in my car so he could show me the way back to the highway.  A few blocks later, he pulled over and stepped out of his jeep so I pulled over and rolled down my window.  It was then that he lowered the boom: Kat, I love you.

I remember literally banging my head against the steering wheel, which probably wasn’t the reaction the poor fellow had been going for, but what can I say?  It was way too soon for the “L” word, especially as I was still quite unsure how I felt about the whole thing.

Since then, I’ve received three similar declarations, although the circumstances surrounding each render them hardly worth counting.  Upon further reflection, I’ve also realized that the whole “I love you/I love you too” exchange has never gone exactly the way I’ve hoped (by which I mean Guy says it first and Girl responds in the affirmative immediately) but at least I’ve been through it once or twice!

Coloccia’s book made me realize how lucky I am—perhaps there are actually thousands of women out there who have to wait their whole lives to hear those three little words?

So you to tell me (guys too): How old were you the first time someone told you s/he loved you?  How did it happen?  Did you initiate the declaration or simply respond?  (And for bonus points tell me A) Were you already sleeping together? And B) Did it last?)

33 Responses to “Your First “I Love you???””

  1. Philly Tap Teaser

    Oooh, fun post! Although my answers are going to be boring.
    How old? 20
    Declaration: Him, after one month of dating: “I love you.” Me: “I know.” (LOL! Then, I did reply, “I love you, too.”)
    Sleeping together at the time: Not yet
    Did it last? Reader, I married him.

  2. Amanda

    I was a mere 17. He said it first after about 3 months of dating. It was sort of in the middle of a fight, but it was because he was struggling with saying what he wanted to say. It was nice because it wasn’t some teenager just blurting the words out. He considered it, wrestled with it, and then told me. We hadn’t slept together yet and we didn’t last, but he’s always had a special place in my heart. He was a really great first love.

  3. jlillymoon

    Some day I will have to tell you the whole soridid story of my freshman and sophmore years at college. It’s a novel. But the answer is 16. He’s still a good friend and out of the two guys I dated in high school they are both now gay… what does that say for my track record?

  4. Landlord

    17, he initiated, was not sleeping w/ him, and now married to him, big secret there eh? 😉

  5. Ellen Rhudy

    I was going to say I’d never heard those words, but that’s not true – 5 or 6 years ago (so when I was around 20?) one of my friends got drunk and professed his love for me. There’s probably nothing more uncomfortable than being (against your will) on the receiving end of those words, unless it’s being rebuffed by someone who isn’t interested in your L-word.

    • Zak

      Is there really a lack of good guys willing to just be honest about their feelings (particularly without being drunk) that you ladies never hear this word even into your mid-twenties? This is ridiculous!

      • Kat Richter

        Agreed! I’m really curious about my own brother now… I know he’s had a few girlfriends– I’m hoping he was man enough to mention the “L” word at some point in time!

  6. Zak

    First time or first real time? First time was probably to Julia in the… 2nd?… grade. I think I even asked her to marry me. I probably used it a few other times after that, too, until I finally met someone worth saying it to for real.

    Sometime in the first few months of dating, before we were sleeping together, but I think well into the making out period, I used the words “I love you.” It lasted two plus years, ending in an engagement ring and three months of bliss, and then finally a box left in my parents garage, ring, Christmas presents and all. And an email goodbye.

    The next time I meant it I married the gal. That lasted just over two years before things turned bad.

    Ironically I had posted something on love the other day, although from a different perspective. And… well, I haven’t said it yet with Ms. D, but I fully intend to.

    • Zak

      Oh, totally forgot: first real time I was 21, she was 19. When I said it to my future-wife I was probably 25 and she was 23 or 24. I can’t say I remember how they were initiated, but both (all?) were by me, and never because of a fight or anything like that. It was usually the “perfect time,” as if that ever happens to me!

  7. Jill

    Huh. What does it say about me that I don’t remember? Almost positive it was said with my first real boyfriend, senior year in high school. I don’t remember the first time, it was just there. We never slept together and it didn’t last past first semester of college. I don’t remember the first time with my husband, either. I vividly remember the moment I became *aware* that I loved him, but not the speaking. We weren’t sleeping together yet. There were, ahem, a few boys in between.

  8. Jill

    PS. I really like the new interactive element to the blog. Even when I don’t comment, I think. Being caused to think is good.

  9. jennywintersconsulting

    My first time was when I was in 5th grade in Hebrew School, and his name was Gary. I had one of those autograph books and he tore out a page and wrote, “I really really like you.” I must have looked at him funny because he took it back, wrote something on it and threw it at me. It said, “I love you.” He was also my first real kiss (behind the shed at the synagogue), and in my diary I remember writing “First Base!”

    We were NOT sleeping together at the time. Nor did we ever. We’re both happily married now and see each other once a year or so, at the High Holidays.

  10. Katie

    I’m 27 and have never had a boyfriend, so…never. Well, except for one creepy guy I danced with at a school dance when I was a freshman in high school.

  11. Emma Faye

    I think it’s as strange as you do that it didn’t happen to her until she was in her 40s (Really!? That’s so tragic and horrible!)

    The (real) first time a guy told me he loved me (not on the internet) was when we were 17. I was sitting in the passenger seat of his car and said “it’s too early to say that,” then proceeded to say it back a week later. Since then, there have been 3 more…and I’m 23. I remember one of them distinctly (because I didn’t love him back), but the 2 guys I was in serious relationships with…I can’t. “I love you” was just there. Also, one night a Harvard math major told me he loved me multiple times during a one night stand. Does that count?

  12. amanda

    mmm…i was 19. we were doing the long distance thing for the summer and i just sort of blurted it out over the phone after we’d been together for about two months. it got so quiet i thought he’d hung up. it took him another couple of days to admit he felt the same way (during which i second, third, and fourth guessed myself, and also considered dumping him as a means of self-preservation). weren’t sleeping together yet. and while we’re still friendly, we didn’t last.

    • Kat Richter

      Those few days must have been agony!!! Glad he finally came around even though the relationship didn’t last 😦

  13. sarahnsh

    The first time a guy said he loved me was when I was around 19-20 or so. And, the second time was with my fiancee and I said it by accident and was very embarrassed. I noticed we had something in common and said, “this is why I love you!” Which, luckily he didn’t make a big deal out of, but we said we loved each other soon afterwards.

  14. guess who

    Does hearing and saying it from a guy in a language which isn’t your mother tongue count? Because I did hear and say it but realized soon afterwards it didn’t mean anything either to him or to me… and it may or may not have had something to do with the fact that “Je t’aime” sounds pretty cool.

    Other than that, I’ve been reticent and mostly had guys say they loved me first. I’ve only actually ever said it, to a guy, in my native tongue, once, and that was yesterday 🙂 (ring shopping ensued today!! but more on that later ;))

  15. jepete

    I was 15 and it was the summer after high school when my boyfriend of two months wrote me at summer camp. At the end of his letter he wrote, Love ya, Stephen. I’m not sure that counts but after that we began putting that at the end of all our “love” notes.

    The second guy er man I should say was when I was in my mid-twenties. He was 12 years older than me and after ignoring me and my phone calls for over a month, he came over and during a crying fit on my part, begging him the question as to why I had been ignored he said, “because I love you and I was scared!” Hmmm, hardly counts.

  16. The Prof

    So true the comment on language! “Je t’aime” so much more difficult to say in my experience than “I love you” or “ich liebe dich”…

  17. becky119

    I honestly cannot remember the first time I had the ‘I love you’ exchange. I want to say it was with my first serious boyfriend, TJ. I was fifteen and he was seventeen. I like to think that I loved him, but at this point it is hard to know if I was in love or just infatuated.

    I’ve been with Adam for almost six years now and I cannot for the life of me remember when he told me that he loved me for the first time. I remember him accidently proposing to me after we’d been dating for a few weeks. We were “watching a movie” and I think I said something along the lines of “be mine?” to which he responded “be my wife”. Then he tried to take it back. But damage was done, and I spent the next few months expecting him to actually propose with a ring and everything. Six years later, still no ring, but we did go shopping for one and it’s GORGEOUS. I cannot wait for him to give it to me so I can show everyone.

    Despite the fact that I have dated more guys than I can even remember, I really only felt in love three times…the first time was TJ and we didn’t work out because he was upset that I wanted to go to college when he wanted me to be his little homemaker. I’m pretty sure that the reason that I fell in love with Mike was because we slept together and I felt that it had to mean more than that. But Adam and I were meant to be before I even knew it. He’s just amazing. Sorry if I’m getting a bit sappy… 😀


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