Sunday, May 18, 2014

Expressing love. What are the rules? Are there rules?

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but since my dad was diagnosed with leukemia last month, I find myself thinking about love much more than I did on the day given to us by the folks at Hallmark.

My father is a quiet man. He won’t say, “I love you,” unless I offer it first. Actually, what he says is, “I love you, too.” That’s okay. I know he loves me and I don’t have to hear it all the time. 

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter if it’s the fifth phone call of the day with my mother or my daughter—we don’t hang up without saying I love you. If one of us left it out, the other would likely think something was wrong. My sister is more like my dad. We don’t say the words that often, but I love her and I know she loves me.

My Hungarian friend (living in London) struggles with the Brits. She is very open and likes to hug whereas, according to her, the English not only live on an island, they’re a bunch of cold fish. She’s learned to adapt, but is she comfortable with their standoffishness? No. Are they comfortable with her displays of affection? Probably not…

All of this has me wondering:  Is how you convey love a gender thing? Will a man think himself weak if he professes his feelings too often? Is it generational? Geographical? East Coast stuffy vs. West Coast breezy? (No offense to those I love on the East Coast, LOL).

And what about a new relationship? Is there such a thing as telling the object of your affection you love them too early? What if it scares them off? Is it better to be honest and let it all hang out, or will you be diluting the meaning of love and its importance by not waiting until "the right time?" Is there such a thing? Is expressing love a gift to be saved for your special few, or is spreading the wealth in the best interest of humankind?

If you feel it, should you say it? Does it matter if you tell someone you love them and they don’t respond the way you want them to? I once read it's not love people are afraid of, it's rejection.

My current take is that life is short. Tell the people you love that you love and value them, and don't worry about how they respond. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

What are your thoughts?