I Love You. Maybe.

February 23, 2009

LoveThere are many different kinds of love and many different ways to say “I LOVE YOU”.  But in my experience in relationships I’ve learned that it’s important to say what you mean and mean what you say.  Especially when it comes to the “L” word.

Love may be universal but how and when we feel love is entirely individual and personal. Some people are so in touch with their feelings of love (for themselves, for Mother Earth, for the checkout boy at Safeway) that they experience love on a daily basis. Others can only feel love in rare, fleeting moments. There is no right or wrong way of feeling love. But one thing is certain: you either feel it or you don’t.

So I try my best to never say “I love you” to a partner, boyfriend or trick unless I really feel it, in that moment. But when I do feel it and am aware of it, I also make a point to share it with the object of my affection (even if he is miles away).

And I never expect him to say “I love you” back.

Because “I. Love. You.” Is all about ME.

In fact, there’s nothing in these three magic words that refers to the feelings of the other person.

And as much as I may want to hear him say “I love you” back, I’ve learned that it’s neither fair (nor realistic) to expect him to feel towards me exactly as I feel towards him in exactly the very same moment.  Love is a powerful thing. It’s great when it is shared. But I want authentic love, not strategic declarations of love.  And I’m old enough to know the difference.

So, the next time someone tells you “I love you” rather than just repeating “I love you” back, stop and check in with yourself to see how you feel. If you also feel the love, then by all means share it.

But if you don’t, then don’t say you feel the same way simply because you think that’s what you should say.

Instead tell the other person how touched you are to hear him say the words. A simple, “Thanks, baby” works fine or even, “That is just what I needed to hear today.”

When someone risks sharing their feelings with you, step up and acknowledge how wonderful and special that is.

And don’t jump to conclusions about what that person’s “love” for you means.

Love is a feeling in a moment. It is not fidelity, compatibility or (sadly) jewelry.   It just means that the person who feels it is capable of feeling something beautiful and is not afraid to share it. And that is brave and wondrous all by itself.

Tags: Relationships, Advice
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Hi Carl I'm really interested in what you say even though I'd imagine most intelligent people would call it entirely vacuous. And its this: When you say you try your best never to say '"I love you" to a partner, boyfriend or trick' surely that would be because you know that nobody in any of those categories would believe anything you say, and, in any case, couldn't care less in the first place. Good luck.

I agree. Telling lies gets you nowhere especially if you have a reputation for being an easy lay. You should say " if I didn't have so many partners, boyfriends and tricks I could probably have an honest opinion about you. But thats not possible at the moment....... Next!"

Judging from your response, when you refer to "intelligent people," you must be referring to someone besides yourself. Coward. Why don't you try to tell us all about your own experience with the subject of love. Though, first, you may want to catch up on some reading on the subject since you don't seem to have much first-hand knowledge. You can start by re-reading the post. This time, try slowing down. You might want to have a dictionary handy just in case you run into some big words like "trick." Good luck.

Carl you make me feel so mellow. Are you by any chance a Californian?

"Because 'I. Love. You.' Is all about ME."
"Love is a feeling in a moment."

... wow...
... selfish and shallow...
... why should people...
... ever...
... hope to find that...

... it has all the romance...
... of..
... flatulence...

Hang on you guys, if I was Carl I'd be feeling pretty humiliated by now. Ok so he admits to being an easy lay and having multiple sexual contacts for whom he has no real or authentic feelings, also he acknowledges an entirely cynical and near mercenary and entirely egocentric approach to the expression of human affection, -so what? That's no reason to treat him like a heap of shit, is it?

I agree, Carl may be a very unpleasant person but thats no excuse, no way.

How sad that people are so often hesitant to say "I Love You" but so many of them are never hesitant to display their rotten and ugly ill will.

I had to go back and re-read the post, and I still can't figure out why these people are being so vicious.

Carl, you must have hit a nerve. People don't like being told that their feelings might actually be irrelevant to the object of their affections.

You make a valid point Killbear but closer scrutiny reveals these names are the same as on other DH blogs (see the scent blog and the one about the guy who invites a boring person back to his place). It seems there are people out there who derive amusement from making irrelevant and trivial comments on serious subjects and mocking decent guys like Carl and Kirk. Apparently that's what passes for humor these days.

Thank you hard hat and Klitbear for pointing out the extreme provocation to which ordinary decent people are subjected not just on this site but everywhere these days. I for one believe it is time for ordinary decent people to strike back!

YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!!! It is when "I Love You" is said with an expectation: I EXPECT *you* to say it back, I EXPECT *you* to feel the same way, that the result is outwardly focus, on manipulating the recipient to try to get him to act accordingly so it will make me feel secure. LOVE IS ALWAYS a selfish and singular experience for me(regardless of where I come from), because if I am sharing it from my own honest momentary experience(as in, IN THAT MOMENT) then it is by, for and about me. If I am utilizing it as a means to coersce, manipulate, convince another to act a certain way or say a certain thing, it STILL comes back to being about me.

Spoken like a real flake Carl...If you had constant and authentic feelings of love you'd be quite unconcerned with whether or not you feel it "in the moment". Who in their right mind wants to hear the "I Love Yous" selfishly rationed out when sometimes we need to be told we're loved right at the very time we're most unlovable? And why do gay men insist on being ruled - and ruling - by their highly changeable and unreliable "feelings" when facts like non-judgmental love are more trustworthy?

"Love" isn't a "feeling" word anyhow - it's a "fact" word and an "action" word. We're at our strongest, not our most vulnerable, when we're coming from a place of secure, declared & demonstrated loving without agenda . Strong and healthy men just don't see sharing their loving thoughts as a risk to be taken and don't really have much emotional investment in whether or not those feelings are shared.

There most certainly IS a right way of "feeling" love and that is by clearly knowing that each and every one of your brothers is a part of the love you have for yourself. Tough luck if the form of loving doesn't suit your current mood or "feelings" - that's exactly when you need to get in touch with the immutable power of love and start practicing it.

The majority of (negative) comments above really do not bear close scrutiny. Carl is very clear that to declare love for a fellow human being is important and that it should not be used as liberally as lube in a backroom. Say it when you mean, it, and know what you mean by it appears to the message. Be prepared for unrequited love. I agree with Carl that love is subjective, and ephemeral.

Peace and Love

Where's the Love on DaddyHunt? A lot of anger and mean spiritedness here guys. Here are some of the words used to describe Carl for expressing his thoughts around the very big and complex subject of Love: vacuous, selfish, shallow, lier, easy lay, cynical and near mercenary and entirely egocentric, very unpleasant person. Wow! Did anyone else get this from reading the article? After reading some of the responses, I had to go back and re-read Carl's post a few times to see where all this was coming from. I like to see every person who took the time to attack Carl, to take as much time and thought to jot down their own thoughts and feelings on the subject of love in all it's various forms. It's the lazy man that sits on his ass, hiding behind a username on a blog that spits out venom. Try sharing a little wisdom (and yes love) here guys. I'd especially like to hear from the Daddies out there that are supposed to have more than just a few gray hairs and a beer belly to show for all their years on this planet.

Got wisdom?

Well done Concerned, but see my response to Kiltbear above.

I was entirely with you Concerned about emotional state of Daddies until I came to the part about "hiding behind a username". Your use of a username somewhat devalues the point, don't you think? Otherwise well done.

This message is to Carl: Carl, you got it right, as I'm sure you're well aware. The harsh, negative judgments about your words with the majority of the responses is shocking to me. First of all, even if those posters disagreed with your words/viewpoint, why the harsh criticisms of you as a person, which they had to fill in? For example, I doubt very much that you are a shallow person. To me, your post reflects the exact opposite of shallow -- at least with regard to the topic of telling someone "I love you." To me the posters who have criticized you so harshly really did not understand your words, and they (and the rest of the world) would be better served by stating their questions or specific areas of disagreement (say by expressing positively their opinion as to when and how is the best time and manner to say "I love you" with the same level of care as you did with your words). It is almost as though the posters have taken offense by your words. They seem to express an anger at and disdain for your words that tranlates into an anger towards and disdain for YOU that is incredibly surprising and sad (even frightening) to me.

Hey guys, I Love you all unconditionally, 24/7

... to clarify...

... my previous post...
... was not a comment...
... directly on the author...
... but on the "love"...
... he described...

... which is...
... unfortunately...
... selfish and shallow...

... rick...
... on 25 february...
... describes well...

This is what passes for intellect these days: to find a chink in the armor, to beat someone to the punch, to discredit someone's opinions and observations. Merely impotent attempts at elevating the self. You want to talk about vacuous! So what, you can be negative! Good for you. If you think you can write a better blog, then go start your own damned blog. Obviously this guy's not some kind of Emerson, Sartre or Kant, he's just some dude on Daddyhunt. C'mon, try to add something actually intelligent to the dialog.

I thought Carl was being very zen in his approach to a response from an "I Love You." Because as I understand the openness between two persons, the greatest moments are when time slows down and a huge space of silence gives it self an expression that goes beyond words which can so easily be misconstrued or get in the way. Which is why the check-in with feelings seems so important, and why it seems to not be present in an argument, which might be the opposite of love, and why a simple affirmation of thanks is all that need be. I have confused subservience with true giving and intruded or judged others rather than simply pause and wait for my natural presence to be known by another, and thus giving them all they needed. That when I have been loved by another, they usually end up saying I don't care if you do such and such or worry about this or that. I love you just the way you are. And that has been the hardest thing for me to get over being my own worst enemy and chief critic. When I say thanks to that kind of Love, I am affirming I think I am okay. It has taken me 50 years, on this go round, to be able to say that and mean it.
After all aren't we all attracted more to someone who is okay with themself?