I’m eating melted cheese on bread and watching The Bachelorette because when you’re an adult you get to make stupid decisions all on your own, and the lovely bachelorette, Desiree, was telling one of her dates about why she broke up with her ex boyfriend. The issue, Des said, was that he wasn’t upfront with his affections. He wouldn’t tell or show her how he felt. I can understand that.
But then she said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “For example, he wouldn’t say, ‘I love you’ first.” Her date nodded sympathetically.
In a male-female romantic relationship, is it automatically assumed that the man will say it first? Is there something defeatist about a woman saying it before the man does, the same way that it seems odd for a woman to propose marriage to a man? And by the way, why doesn’t the Bachelorette propose? On The Bachelor, the bachelor proposes to one of his two choices at the end of the series. But on The Bachelorette, it’s up to her last 2 remaining choices to propose to her.
I guess the problem is that I’m watching The Bachelorette. Obviously, in “real life” women make those first moves that are traditionally made by men — the first I love you, the proposal — and it’s fine. There’s nothing shameful or wrong in any of it. It shouldn’t matter who says “I love you” first. What should matter is that there is love, and that it’s shared, and present. And yet…
Every major romantic movie we’ve seen has that big moment where the lead male says to the lead female, “I love you” in some grand and/or beautiful way. When he says it, it advances the story. It’s expected.
A woman saying “I love you” first doesn’t mean that she’s weaker, or the guy doesn’t love her as much, or she’s desperate. It doesn’t mean anything like that, and it shouldn’t be grounds for a break-up. So why is it that I can’t think of a single example among my group of friends who said it before her boyfriend did? Maybe because when we saw Princess Leia say it, that handsome dick Han Solo responded with, “I know.” (You don’t have to tell me, “It’s just a movie and actually Harrison Ford improvised that line” — I know.) I haven’t said it first, and honestly I don’t ever plan to. It’s hard enough for me to suggest a restaurant. (Key word though is “plan”. I don’t plan anything and that doesn’t stop life from happening.)
Who said “I love you” first in your relationship? Did it matter?
Photo by Nickolas Muray via Flickr.
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