Please click here if you are not redirected within a few seconds. What does this song mean to you? Song Discussions is protected by U. What does this song mean to you? Tell me, do you feel the same? Now I’m dreaming, will I ever find you now? What I mean to you, do I belong? Song Discussions is protected by U. Luscombe is an editor-at-large at TIME. I Love You is the title of at least 47 songs, 15 albums and 13 movies in the English-language canon. We say and hear it all the time — even if it isn’t directed at anyone in particular.
TIME put the question to some therapists that we — well, that some might say we like very, very much. Here are some of their theories, and their advice. Because it really is complicated nowadays Psychologists have observed that modern relationships do not follow the map that used to help people guide their way to commitment. People used to meet, go out on a few dates, decide not to date anyone else, learn to trust each other, fall in love, say Those Three Words and then either officially partner up and maybe marry, or break up and fall into a deep funk before starting the process all over again. As a result, people aren’t sure what their relationships are, let alone whether they will last. Maybe you hang out with someone, and perhaps you hook up with them a couple of times, but you don’t want to put a name on it — and there are reasons for this. Scott Stanley, a research professor in Psychology at the University of Denver.
Uncertainty makes people feel vulnerable, but it also gives them power. According to the mating theory known as the principle of least interest, the person who expresses more ambivalence about the relationship has the most power, because it means the other person has to be the one who does the pursuing. Once someone has said I love you, they can’t unsay it. They’ve made a declaration as to what camp they’re in, whether their love interest feels the same way or not. Maybe it leads to glory, maybe you belly-flop. Some psychologists believe that this generation’s belief in that particular relationship has been rocked because their parents were among the generation with the highest rate of divorce, which peaked in the mid-’80s in the U. They don’t want to go through that trauma again, and they may be still dealing with its emotional aftermath. 28 for women and 30 for men in the U.
And to provide a bulwark against the ill effects of a breakup, they’re showing more interest in prenups, investing in education and working long hours to make sure they can be independent. Saying I love you to someone is throwing such caution to the winds. It’s committing to something that might not work out in the long run. A new, non-peer-reviewed but plausible study from homes. 26 and 40 who are living with their parents are doing so because of love gone wrong. Because of 30-day returns All right, maybe not exactly because of 30-day returns, but because of the indecision that makes that practice necessary — and also encourages it. People don’t want to choose wrong, so they delay making any decision. Saying I love you to one potential mate means you cannot say it to another. Or if you do, you’ve misunderstood the terms of the deal. Because of the I love over-you-ser There’s always that one exception, the person who says I love you on the third date, or all the time, or to everyone.
The person who says it when they can’t possibly mean it, right? Then there’s the one who turns around and behaves in a way that suggests the complete opposite. Because we haven’t listened to this advice If you’re having trouble saying I love you, there are some workarounds. The key, say therapists, is to tell someone you love them without needing a particular response from them, but just because it’s true. You’re making a statement about yourself and your feelings, and that has benefits purely in terms of identity and emotional health. It also helps to realize that humans have a need to love, therapists say, and to avoid meeting that need is to eliminate a key part of your humanity. Homo sapiens are herd animals who pair bond. Don’t say it to get someone to sleep with you or to ward someone off from another suitor. It might also help to know that studies have shown that men usually say I love you in a relationship before women do, and prefer to hear it before they have sex. But once you jump, you’ll find your way through — and eventually back to land.