Let me paint you a picture here. A boy and a girl have been dating for several months. They have also been doing the deed. The L word has been completely absent up until this point. One day, casually in conversation (about body image, if that’s relevant) the boy says “I absolutely love the way you look.” The girl blinks, but thinks nothing more. A few days later during a conversation about decidedly naughty things together, the boy says “I love our time together.” Th girl blinks again, and thoughts fly.

Few things are so loaded as the word “love” when you’re with a member of the opposite sex. It is often entirely avoided. It is occasionally used to test the waters. And admittedly sometimes it is thrown around because someone doesn’t understand the strength of it. In my not so humble experience, it is often regarded as a freaky mine field by the female mind.

Here is a little guide for the boys, in case you didn’t already know.

  • You most definitely can use it too soon and freak us out. This usually occurs more often as we get older and more cautious. It is also directly related to how googly-eyed we are over you. However in the wrong situation, it can cause immediate fleeing.
  • You can also most definitely use it too late. We will eventually get tired of you being deeply in like with us and we will also flee.
  • We reserve the right to over-analyze your use of this word at all times. Be aware that any time it is dropped into conversation in any relation to us, we will probably kick into overdrive. Let me demonstrate. “I love the Red Sox” will not make us blink. “I love our time together” makes us wonder if you are trying to tell us something else. We will then poke this situation from every angle, ask for advice from multiple people, and generally rip our hair out until you find a way to rectify this problem.
  • The only solution to the above dilemma that will actually stop the hair pulling is to tell us you love us.
  • And finally, much like we want you to ask us out and we want you to pick up the check, we want you to say it first. Most of us have put ourselves out on the line more than once and gotten the curt “Thank you” or worse yet “That’s nice”. We realize you may have too. But in our little girly hearts, we still want you to take the leap. Chances are if you are stable (as in not psycho), we have been dating for a while, and things are still going well? We will answer you with something that isn’t going to make you secretly want to vomit.

As with any dating rules, there will be exceptions. But for the most part, the L word is to be used with great caution and the complete understanding that we will pick apart any conversation in which it appears. Please proceed with caution, ok?

I would love to see the male counterpart to this conversation.

**For the record, yes I am participating in the general crazy making at this time. I would like to imagine that I’ve been restrained about it. I would also like to imagine that the whole scenario is indicative of a deep and lasting feeling Mr. Big has for me. Unfortunately, I cannot allow myself to imagine that or the crazy making will deepen. So I am generally trying to ignore it. Mostly. Sort of.