A Loss for Words

third eyeDear Coach Chris,

My girlfriend and I have been together about a year and I feel like we can talk about almost everything.  I truly care about her and want to possibly have a life-long relationship.  We have a lot in common and get along great MOST of the time except when the word LOVE comes up.  When she first said the words, I love you, I felt a weird, sinking feeling inside.  I couldn’t respond with the same, I love you.  I smiled, kissed her and said thank you. I care deeply for her and feel guilty about the struggle I have saying the words “I love you” back.  She has asked me if I love her, and I just respond with a yes.

I know once I say those words the meaning comes packed with promises and commitments.  Which I think I am ready to accept. Unfortunately, I am still carrying the damage of my past relationship where I was the first one who said the words.  My belief when I said “I love you” to my ex, I had an expectation she was ready to make a long-term commitment to the relationship.  The pain of that break-up still haunts me.

What if once I say the words “I love you” back to my girlfriend and the relationship falls apart? I'm afraid of being devastated again.  If I tell my girlfriend about my struggle it might create doubt about our relationship. What should I do?  I am at a loss for words.


Lost for Words

Dear Lost for Words,

What if she doesn’t commit to a long-term relationship?

What if she DOES keep her promises and commitments?

What if she turns purple and grows a third eye?

You can’t live on the "what ifs" because "what ifs" are infinite.

So, you said you and your girlfriend can talk about almost everything.  I suggest having a conversation about the “I love you” words with her.  You may find the result may create more of a connection between you and your girlfriend. The conversation may help you move forward.  You will both learn what "I love you" means to each other.

I agree when the special words “I love you” are said in a relationship they should be real and used with care from the heart because the impact can be interpreted many different ways.  Your interpretation is a good one, to keep promises and commitments.  I hope you are currently showing your girlfriend this is who you are and not letting the past hold the good person in you back.

Communication is always key,

Coach Chris