My SO travels often for work. When she is gone (generally 3-4 nights a week)it is customary for us to speak on the telephone before we go to bed. At the end of these phone conversations we always say “I Love You” to each other.
What do you think? Does making a habit of saying “I Love You” at the end of phone conversations make it any less meaningful through repetition? Or is it a comfort to hear these words regardless? What is your custom?
I like it. We say it to each other fairly often otherwise and sometimes it is a genuine overflow of a gushy feel good emotion. The regularity of ending our phone conversations with it serves as a reminder to me that our romantic love is not only that feeling, but it is a commitment and a choice we have made to be together.
I don’t think it diminishes it at all. No one gets to hear that enough, IMO.
I think it’s fantastic for you two to create your own traditions and meaning. The only truly happy marriages I know of are the ones where the couple makes their own life together according the their values and needs. None of those relationships follow the “standard” and their relationships are stronger for it.
My biological family has always been dysfunctional in many ways and we are scattered all over the earth but we do love each other. We almost always end every phone call with some version of “I love you” and mean it. This applies to children of course but also parents, grandparents, siblings, and a few first cousins. I like it and it puts a smile on my face. I think the repetition is good and doesn’t take anything away from the sentiment.
It’s the last thing my wife and I say to each other before we go to sleep, before one of us leaves the house, and at the end of one (but not all, for some reason) phone call during the day.
On the other hand, none of my siblings or parents has ever uttered the phrase to me, or me to them, or any of them to anyone else in my biological family, as far back as I can remember. Which I guess is why in a movie when a parent says it to his or her child, I tear up.
I’m not currently in a relationship, but in my past ones this has always been a point of contention. I don’t feel like the words “I love you” have any intrinsic value because, obviously, anyone can say it. Instead, I prefer to express it through action and use “I love you” exclusively in a planned way so that I can endow the meaning into it and not as part of ending a call or saying goodbye.
To me, making it part of a ritual completely robs the ability to use it in a meaningful way. For instance, I try to make a conscious effort to, when politely greeting someone, actually think about and mean what I say when I wish them a good evening or ask how they’re doing. It bothers me that people say “How’re you doing?” with an expectation that fine, good, or great will follow so that their manner obligation is fulfilled; would they actually care if I said I wasn’t well. And really, how often would you, even when in a lousy mood, ever say that you’re feeling lousy? However, I don’t really mind that so much because I realize it’s just part of our culture and it doesn’t bother me if someone thinks I’m just being polite or I actually care.
Love, however, is just completely different. I think is absolutely important that those that I love are aware that it’s not me saying it out of politeness, otherwise it utterly defeats the purpose. I do also think it’s entirely possible to say it often, even multiple times a day, and always have meaning associated with it. However, being aware of my propensity toward falling into habits, I specifically resisted that one specifically because I wasn’t sure I could say it that often and be sure that I was purposefully putting that meaning behind it each time.
I almost never say “I love you.” Even when speaking with someone I love, I don’t use the phrase as casually as I would a “Hello” or “Goodbye.” I don’t have any particular rule against it, it just doesn’t strike me as something that is necessary to say.
I like it to be the last thing my SO and I say to each other in our conversations. We’re long distance and most of our relationship takes place over phone/text/email/AIM. We don’t get as many opportunities to “show” our love so we have to use words. We don’t get to cuddle and kiss and do all that stuff much. And I like to end convos with it so then if something horrible happens, it’s the last thing we said to each other. But that goes along with “don’t go to bed angry” type shit because I don’t need that regret.
I can see where you are coming from. While the phrase and love itself are hard to define, I see the repetitious aspect of it as evidence that love is a choice as well as an emotion. So while it may not have the same emotional charge as it does to you when you use it, I see it as an expression of my commitment.
I actually think there’s plenty of ways to show love, even over long distances, I mean, after all, love is an action. For instance, one of my dearest friends lives 2000 miles away and I can probably count the times I’ve told her I love her my hands, in the 13-14 years I’ve known her, and roughly the same from her, and yet there’s no doubt in my mind that she loves me and that she knows I love her. Relationships are, of course, different, but even still there are simple ways to express love there as well.
Specifically in response to kanicbird, how does saying it touch someone’s heart? I mean, if I am in a bad relationship where my girlfriend is constantly yelling at me, being demanding, or whatever else, and she says she loves me, it won’t touch my heart. If I’m in a good relationship where we’re attuned to eachother’s needs, every time she does anything that fulfills one of those needs, it touches my heart, and the words are more or less superfluous. I do concede that some people just need to hear it from time to time, and sometimes one simply needs to say it, but it seems to me that it will only touch someone’s heart to say it if the person who is saying it already has.
I have a friend who says “I love you” at the end of every phone conversation with his wife. I think they speak on the phone every day while at work. They’ve been together I think 9 years now, so it’s very much a habit for him.
He told me a few weeks ago that he was terrified of accidentally saying “I love you” at the end of a phone conversation with one of his co-workers. Where he works it’s a bit of a Boy’s Club and there would be endless ribbing if he did that.
Now I make a habit of saying “I love you” to him every so often, just to freak him the fuck out.
I don’t think love is solely action, I think it is feeling as well. And yes we do things for each other that aren’t literally saying “I love you” that causes us both to feel loved, but plainly stating “I love you” in words with someone you already knows loves you is just that much better. And my love for him is different than my love for my friends. My friends and I all know we love each other but we don’t say it often and I don’t feel a need to say it often. But with him the feeling of love is much more intense I guess so I like to say it.
Perhaps this is a little “heady”, but I don’t think of or experience love as an emotion at all. For instance, there are members of my family that I don’t necessarily like and, had I been given the choice, I probably wouldn’t have chosen them to be family members, and yet I love them. If it’s just an emotion, then I wouldn’t be able to love those family members that constantly make me upset or I generally just don’t want to be around. Ideally, really, I should love everyone, family member or no, whether I like them or downright detest them but I’m not anywhere near being able to pull that off.
So, yes, when I say “I love you” it is an expression of a commitment, which is exactly why I don’t want to take it to be said out of habit. If I say it causally to end a conversation, it essentially becomes a synonym of “goodbye”. In fact, I consider it a travesty in the situations when I had allowed to to be used like that because it really didn’t mean anything more than that after a point, and then when I did want to express that, I was then left without any effective way to do so.
Of course, like I said, I very well may be a little too “heady” about it, as many who have heard me express this have told me, so… YMMV.
I don’t live near my mother. I haven’t hugged her in almost a year. Last time I talked to her, which was today, we did not say “I love you.” I know she loves me because she’s been awesome to me my entire life. She knows I love her because I’ve been awesome to her my entire life (except those teen years; I was a little shit). I suppose I don’t end conversations with “I love you” for the same reason I don’t begin them with “Honestly…” Well, duh, of course honestly.
I not only say “Love ya” on the phone, but I give hugs and everything in person. Not only is it my wasy of showing general affection, but I always think that it might be the last thing I get to say to that person.
I notice there are conversations about “showing your love” rather than telling. I find this inadequate. Say what you want about Christian psychology, but I think it hits it on the head with the “five love languages” concept. Different people prefer different ways of showing you love them, but most people want all five in some form, and I like to give that.
I’ve done that to at least two people, and I wasn’t on the phone either time. While the first time got me a wide-eyed look from one person, the rest of the time I generally get something back like “Love ya, too.”
Bah, shoulda previewed. But I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree here. Again, perhaps my over intellectualization, but I really don’t think there’s any fundamental difference between the love I have for my family, friends, or a girlfriend. Yes, there’s a difference in the emotions associated with them, but that’s an emotional component of any relationship.
To clarify the differentiation in my mind, it’s that love is simply a selfless action in fulfilling another’s needs; it’s always a good thing. Emotions, however, are like different lenses through which we see the world, and while some may experientially be more or less pleasant than others, they’re fundamentally neutral as any given emotion can result in good or bad things happening. So really, the only real difference in a romantic relationship, as I see it, is that there is also generally, sexual attraction, friendship, and primarily pleasant emotions. However, the part that consists of a selfless commitment is fundamentally the same in all of those relationships.
So in that sense, at least to me, it seems saying “I love you” because of a feeling is akin to saying “You make me happy” or “I’m infatuated”. What about the times when they’ve just done something that made you upset and you’re angry with the and you don’t have that feeling you associate with love? That commitment to the relationship is still there, but the feeling, at least temporarily, is not.
Again, I don’t have an issue with saying the words out loud. I tell people I love them, but I don’t see it as something that needs to be said in every conversation. You know I love you, I act like I love you, I’ve told you I love you, and I will again in the future, so I’m not going to end every phone chat with “I love you.”